The start-up non-profit Making Change, has been awarded the 2020 Barrie Business Award in the Not-For-Profit or Charitable Organization Category. Founded two years ago, Making Change was recognized for their entrepreneurial spirit, demonstrated excellence and growth in programs, services and overall returns to the community.
“It’s truly an honour to be recognized for our work in leading our community on a journey to make change. Our founders are entrepreneurs and business owners, and we bring that mindset to Making Change,” says Michèle Newton, co-founder and President. “We’re inspired by seeing our work bring about organizational and individual change that fosters and builds an inclusive community.”
In 2020, Making Change evolved from focusing primarily on Black History Month activities to providing year-round programming, initiatives and education in the school system, business ecosystem and broader community. Through partnerships, they expanded their services to include anti-Black racism educational sessions for organizations beginning their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) learning journeys. For organizations ready to develop their DEI strategies, they partnered with a specialist.
Other ongoing activities and programs Making Change presents include Black cultural presentations, Community panels and discussions, an ongoing Art Engagement Project for schools in partnership with the MacLaren Art Centre, and anti-Black racism Educational school presentations. These programs were developed by the Board, that includes Michèle Newton, Stephanie Gourlie, Alasoba (Lala) Kelsy-Braide, and Alison Jacks, and youth ambassadors Shondra Durrant and Keliah Casey.
“Our success comes from our inherent and driven passion for legitimate change. We want to see our community be the best that it can be for our children and families growing up and living here in Barrie and Simcoe County.” Newton added. She also credits Making Change’s operational growth to their volunteer engagement, perseverance, collaboration, partnerships, and nimble operations.
Making Change received the Barrie Chamber of Commerce award at a live-streamed event on Thursday, March 25, 2021.