Regional Chair Announces Niagara Impact Award Winners
At today’s State of the Region address, Regional Chair Jim Bradley announced the names of the six winners of the 2023 Niagara Impact Awards.
Now in their third year, the Niagara Impact Awards were created to recognize individuals, non-profit organizations and private sector businesses who have gone above and beyond to improve the quality of life of those living in the Niagara region.
Having reviewed countless stories of residents making sacrifices to support one another, the Niagara Impact Award Winners acknowledge those inspiring efforts.
With over 140 submitted nominations, stories were shared about those who made a substantial, positive impact on Niagara’s communities. The scope and scale of the nominations ranged from moving personal stories, to broad, region-wide examples of service.
After lengthy deliberations, the following six Niagara Impact Awards were presented:
NIA Business Award
General Motors St. Catharines (St. Catharines) – Recognized for its exceptional and impressive workplace culture focused upon volunteerism and community involvement. Through both its employee-lead fundraising and corporate giving programs, General Motors St. Catharines generously contributed more than $258,000 to worthwhile organizations in Niagara during 2022.
Tomorrow’s Voices Children’s Choir (Niagara-on-the-Lake) – Recognized for its commitment to inclusivity, Tomorrow’s Voices is a barrier-free, non-profit choir for children who love to sing for the sheer joy of it. Tomorrow’s Voices gives children ages 8-18 from under-served communities the opportunity to expand their musical knowledge, sing their hearts out, and perform on stage without requiring them to audition or pay a fee to participate.
Mackenzie Agretto (Niagara Falls) – This Niagara Falls high school student was recognized for her role as an advocate for inclusivity. Mackenzie spearheaded an initiative to organize a formal “prom” for special education students enrolled in secondary schools across the Niagara Catholic District School Board to help ensure that all NSDSB students would have the same opportunity to experience this special celebration.
Janice Ford-Spencer (St. Catharines) – This St. Catharines resident received multiple nominations for her volunteer initiative “Stockings of Love” which makes sure that area seniors living alone or in long-term care homes never feel “forgotten” at Christmas time. Over the past five holiday seasons, Janice and her team of volunteer ‘elves’ have assembled and distributed stuffed stockings full of gifts to thousands of lonely seniors to help brighten spirits and share the feeling of joy and belonging.
Community Leader Award
Dr. Yousef Haj-Ahmad (Thorold) – The CEO and Founder of Norgen Biotek Corporation was recognized for his support of Niagara’s biotechnology and health sciences sector. Last year, The Haj-Ahmed Family Foundation donated $5 Million to Brock University to help create a new Integrated Engineering Department at the university. The donation also included a dedicated scholarship for women in STEM, which encourages young females to study science, technology, engineering and math.
T. Roy Adams Humanitarian of the Year Award
Carey Benvenuti (Port Colborne) – Carey’s years of commitment and dedication to addressing food insecurity in Niagara makes her a worthy recipient of this year’s T. Roy Adams Award. As the founder of No One Goes Hungry, a grass-roots, community-based organization which she started in 2017, Carey spearheads a team of volunteers that has prepared and distributed more than 150,000 meals to some of Niagara’s most vulnerable citizens. Carey’s unique ability to rally community members to help prepare large batch, high-quality meals has quickly helped No One Goes Hungry expand its reach to several communities across Niagara.
"Once again this year I was moved by the stories of sacrifice, generosity and innovation that were submitted by the friends, families, clients and customers of the nominees. I want to congratulate all of the nominees who continue to make a positive impact across Niagara. Staying upbeat and positive was challenging in our recent past, and these nominees and winners should be proud of what they have done for our region and beyond."
~ Regional Chair, Jim Bradley
Office of the Regional Chair