A record-breaking number of people attended the Pillar Nonprofit Network community innovation awards Thursday night.
More than 1,000 people came out to honour community change-makers.
“We’ve been working at this, to get that many people. Not for the number, but because we wanted that many people to hear those stories and be inspired,” said Michelle Baldwin, executive director of Pillar Nonprofit Network.
“The energy the crowd had for these award recipients was extraordinary. This was a night of extreme celebration, people were so excited,” she said.
Each year the awards celebrate those people, organizations, and enterprises that make a positive impact in the community. There are four main categories, innovation, leadership, impact, and collaboration.
Those finalists who don’t end up winning in their own category are eligible to win in a fifth category: community choice.
“Storytelling, holding hope and taking the time to recognize some of the big things we’re tackling in our community were weaved together in a way that was just magical.”
Among the winners is London’s temporary overdose prevention site for community collaboration and The Grand Theatre’s 100 Schools Project for community innovation.
“This combination of art and voices and stories and how, when you put that in a room and it’s recieved like it was Thursday, it means that people are ready to roll up their sleeves and think about ‘what can I do? What is the change I want to make?'” said Baldwin.
“I think we have a lot of Londoners who are ready to work together and create change.”
Other winners include Mustfah Madlol for community leadership, liberal arts 101 at King’s University College for community impact, and Jeffrey Robb for community choice.
“I love London. I think that London shows up and wants to make a difference. This night is proof,” said Baldwin.
“There’s more we can do. The future is bright.”