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Winners announced for Pillar Community Innovation Awards in London, Ont.

The London, Ont., skyline, November 2020. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

The 15th Pillar Community Innovation Awards were held virtually Thursday evening, celebrating the “individuals, organizations and enterprises investing in positive community impact in our region.”

This year’s 12 finalists are working to create change in areas ranging from food insecurity, equity and inclusion, access to health care, anti-human trafficking and more.

Read more: Pillar Nonprofit Network’s annual awards go virtual to honour community innovation (2020)

“In responding to urgent needs, these finalists have prioritized the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable and historically marginalized in our communities. They have prioritized belonging, justice and dignity for all,” Pillar Nonprofit Network executive director Mojdeh Cox said.

“They are doing the work of transformation. They have a vision of a future they wish to live in and put that vision into action in real-time.”

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Read more: Close to $1 million in grants go to London, Ont. organizations in need

A group of volunteers selected the winners in five categories:

  • Community Innovation: London Muslim Mosque Community Support Program, which provides financial assistance for community members in need.
  • Community Leadership: Leroy Hibbert for his ongoing anti-racism efforts.
  • Community Impact: Elyssa Rose, leader of Atlohsa Family Healing Services’s anti-human trafficking program, Okaadenige.
  • Community Collaboration: Health Outreach Mobile Engagement (H.O.M.E.), which provides health and social services to those experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.
  • Community Choice: Jyoti Vaidya, for his ongoing work to support the Nepali community, most recently leading a campaign to reduce barriers to information and COVID-19 vaccine access.

The awards ceremony began with local DJ, host and community organizer Zahra Habib.

Community leader Samantha Whiteye provided a land welcoming and accountability statement, accompanied virtually by the nature photography.

Local singer Travae Williams shared “uplifting songs of change, perseverance and hope” throughout the awards.

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