Congratulations to the 2018 Spirit Award Winners

2018 United Way Waterloo Region Communities Spirit Award Winners

Rising Star 

The Rising Star Award recognizes a new or returning campaign and/or Employee Campaign Manager that has demonstrated outstanding initiative and immense growth throughout this year’s campaign efforts.

2018 Recipient:   Peak Realty

Peak Realty has become a valued partner in a United Way effort to expand its presence across Waterloo Region. By granting United Way office space in Ayr, Jason Bunker, Marlene Brown, and the entire team at Peak Realty are helping forge numerous close relationships in the Township of North Dumfries.  They have also facilitated important introductions to community members and groups, providing crucial feedback and advice on the issues unique to the region’s rural communities.

Labour Community Partnership

The Labour Community Partnership Award honours a labour partner whose members have shown dedication to their community through exceptional financial and volunteer support, exemplifying the sustained and rewarding relationship between the labour movement and United Way.

2018 Recipient: Elementary Teachers Federation Waterloo Region, and Elementary Teachers Federation Waterloo Region-Occasional Teachers

These two chapters of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario have been supporters of United Way for many years, cementing the bond between United Way and the labour movement. In addition to their direct contribution, both units sit on a joint committee with the Waterloo Region District School Board, shaping an even bigger campaign. Through their networks they also encourage members to become United Way champions in the schools, helping to create the next generation of philanthropists 

Spirit of Community

The Spirit of the Community Award honours an individual or group that personifies exceptional community spirit, team spirit and spirit of generosity through their significant overall partnership with United Way

2018 Recipient: John Neufeld

John Neufeld knows what it means to be an outsider. John’s family moved to Canada, from Russia in 1981, when he was just seven years old. He says “the playground was not a gentle place”. From that difficult start, John has carved out a legacy of caring, including 11 years working in the foster care system. Today, John is Executive Director of House of Friendship, which serves more than 40 thousand people through more than 15 separate programs. As a long time United Way partner, we are honoured to have John speak on our behalf as frequently as he does, and on the importance of working as a team to ensure everyone has access to the help they need.

Outstanding Workplace Campaign (large workplace)

The Outstanding Workplace Campaign Award recognizes the Employee Campaign manager and workplace that have shown outstanding efforts in informing and engaging employees in a larger workplace.

2018 Recipient: KPMG

 KPMG is an example of a United Way supporter where leadership leads to understanding and on to commitment. In 2017, KPMG experienced 20 per cent growth in its campaign, remarkably retaining 100 per cent of its donors from the previous year, and adding some new partners. KPMG also experienced a 68 per cent increase in employee participation.

Outstanding Workplace Campaign (small to medium workplace) 

The Outstanding Workplace Campaign Award acknowledges the Employee Campaign Manager and workplace that have shown outstanding efforts in informing and engaging employees while increasing donations in a smaller workplace with fewer than 100 employees.

 2018 Recipient: Lackner-McLennan/Erb and Erb Insurance

 In 2016 Lackner McLennan Insurance acquired Erb and Erb Insurance brokers. Together, these two companies have a combined 170 years of service to Waterloo Region. In this past year staff from both operations was moving into a new building and forming a single organization at the same time they ran their United Way Campaign. Despite that challenge they increased their support by 25 per cent!

Outstanding Volunteer Contribution

The Outstanding Volunteer Contribution honours an individual or group for outstanding volunteer service, celebrating the selfless spirit in which volunteerism is offered 

2018 Recipient: Norma McDonald-Ewing

For more than 10 years, Norma McDonald-Ewing has been the volunteer chair of our Community Impact Council. By establishing diligent processes and review, Norma and her team ensure donor dollars make a significant difference in the community. In addition Norma has been a committed champion for United Way in her personal and professional life, making connections and always willing to share her wisdom and guidance.

Outstanding Agency

Outstanding Agency Campaign Award is presented to an agency or workplace that displayed outstanding leadership and dedication during United Way’s annual campaign. 

2018 Recipient: Community Support Connections: Meals on Wheels and More.

The mission of Community Support Connections-Meals on Wheels and More is to “enable people to live at home with independence and dignity”. CSC delivers much more than just meals. Working with more than 500 volunteers, the organization makes a daily difference in the lives of more than one thousand clients. Through a variety of special events, as well as a United Way poverty simulation session, CSC was able to increase its campaign by more than 25 percent.

Community Leader

The Inaugural Community Leader Award recognizes an exemplary public leader who, through extraordinary contributions and outstanding commitment, has driven the spirit of community through personal involvement and initiative.

 2018 Recipient: Ken Seiling

 For more than 40 years, Ken Seiling has served his community. He’s been a teacher, and museum director—a church organist, choirmaster, and a hockey coach!

First elected as a Woolwich Township councillor in 1976, Ken became Mayor two years later and took a seat on Regional Council. His council peers elected him Chairman in 1985, and for the past 20 years he has been elected by the public to the same position. In addition to his duties as Chair, Ken can be seen at hundreds of events touching every corner of Waterloo Region, lending his support to dozens of worthy causes. United Way is proud to count Ken as one of our long-time supporters, and commend him for his work in helping to lead our Region into an era of innovation, while maintaining the community spirit for which our area is so well known.

Introducing the 2018 Spirit Award nominees

United Way Waterloo Region Communities is proud to work with, and through a dedicated list of individuals, organizations, volunteers and agencies. The 2018 Spirit Awards will honour the efforts of all those partners as we move toward our fall campaign.

Nominations revealed for 2018 Spirit Awards

Inspiring examples of Waterloo Region’s community spirit.

The first Spirit Awards presented by the newly integrated United Way Waterloo Region Communities ( will be presented on Thursday, April 25th, at 64 Grand Avenue South in Cambridge, in the Gaslight District.

More than 30 individuals and organizations have been nominated for a Spirit Award in eight distinct categories, including the inaugural Community Leader Award. This award will recognize an exemplary leader who, through extraordinary contributions and outstanding commitment, has driven the spirit of community through personal involvement and initiative.

“We are very excited about this year’s Spirit Awards” says CEO Joan Fisk. “It is not only an opportunity to honour our incredible donors and community members, but a chance to introduce our newly integrated organization. We will also be showcasing our new campaign that will help bring our message to the Waterloo Region Communities and pave the way to the launch of our fundraising campaign on September 17th.

United Way Waterloo Region Communities was formed via the integration of United Way organizations in Kitchener-Waterloo and Area and Cambridge-North Dumfries. The new organization now operates from the very center of the region, at Sportsworld Crossing.

The awards highlight small, medium and large businesses which have shown support and innovation for United Way as well as individuals and supported agencies that have gone above and beyond in working together to address the important issues in our society.

Fisk says all the nominees have shown an exemplary dedication to improving their community through United Way and its partner agencies as well as building a culture where philanthropy and caring can thrive.

The Spirit Awards will be handed out on April 25th,  in the Gaslight District of Cambridge at 64 Grand Avenue S.     Tickets are going fast.  You can click here to reserve yours.



2018 Spirit Award Nominees

Rising Star- Honouring an organization which has shown growth in its United Way Campaign


  • Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro
  • Equitable Life of Canada
  • NewGround
  • Peak Realty
  • Local Health Integration Network

Labour Community Partnership-Celebrating an outstanding relationship between labour and United Way


  • United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175/633
  • Waterloo Regional Labour Council
  • Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Waterloo Region and Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Waterloo Region Occasional Teachers
  • Waterloo Regional Police Association
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 636

Spirit of Community-honouring an individual or United Way committee whose efforts have raised awareness of the work of United Way


  • Pumpkin Queen of Cambridge  , Kara Klypycz
  • Chris Prosser, The Literacy Group
  • John Neufeld, House of Friendship
  • Tracey Elop, Carizon
  • Julie Phillips, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region
  • Clarion Medical Technologies
  • Regional Municipality of Waterloo United Way Committee

Outstanding Workplace Campaign (Large Organization)


  • Sun Life Financial
  • Manulife
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Energy+ Inc.
  • Liquor Control Board of Ontario
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada

Outstanding Workplace Campaign (Small to Mid-Size Organization)



  • P&H Milling Group
  • Lackner McLennan Insurance Ltd. and Erb & Erb Insurance Brokers
  • Deluxe Payroll
  • KW Counselling Services
  • Langs 

Outstanding Volunteer Contribution 


  • Michael Schmitt and Deb Zettel-Schmitt
  • Lorraine Worth & Barb Jones
  • Jaye Kuntz
  • Norma McDonald-Ewing
  • Gore Hearts in Action
  • Deb Lindsay

Outstanding Agency


  • The Literacy Group
  • Kinbridge
  • Carizon
  • Cambridge Self-Help Foodbank
  • Community Support Connections Meals on Wheels and More
  • YMCA