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One Spark Celebrates its Third Birthday

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 5:34 AM


As I sit down to write this blog and mark three incredible years of being part of One Spark’s mission in action, I am overcome with a sense of gratitude and peace.  I recognize that may seem counter-intuitive given both local and world events that have shocked and saddened all of us in recent months, but here’s what I’ve come to know: goodness, kindness, generosity and compassion live.  They live in abundance in people all around us.  I know this because I unfailingly see it every single day in my work with One Spark. 

As One Spark celebrates its third birthday, I want to pause and acknowledge the collective kindness and generosity that powers our work.  We have seen the most incredible generosity in our donors and supporters: your steadfast willingness to share what you have is truly the only reason One Spark’s work can happen.  And we have seen the most amazing, tireless hands at work through our volunteers: your skills, gifts and time are the foundation on which One Spark is built.  To all of the amazing people that breathe life into One Spark’s vision of ensuring no women faces financial barriers to living a life without violence, we are so thankful.

I’d like to especially take a moment to acknowledge our Board of Directors.  Jo-Anne, Marlo, Flavio, Howie, Lynden, Danielle, Lynn and Christina (and our amazing Board volunteer, Jo-Ann): I feel like I run short of words to describe your individual and collective impact.  The fearlessness, integrity and passion with which you have led a young – and ever-growing – organization is a true gift to the mission we are so diligently pursuing.  Thank you for being the critical core of this organization.

Our third year has been one of amazing growth and change.  Here are a few of our key highlights:

  • We are thrilled to be on track to have 20 women completed One Spark’s Entrepreneurship Program by the end of 2016.  We introduced group programming to great success this year, which has allowed us to reach more women simultaneously and to encourage natural support and business networking opportunities among the women participating.  We are looking forward to building on key learnings and outcomes in order to expand the group programming format in 2017.
  •  In June of this year, One Spark was honoured and grateful to be chosen to receive funding through the MasterCard Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Giving Campaign.  The funds we received have been critical in expanding the reach and impact of our Entrepreneurship Program and we want to acknowledge and thank the MasterCard Foundation for such a wonderful initiative.
  • Also in June of this year, we were thrilled to once again work with the amazing team at CCI Studios to launch One Spark’s “Be A Maverick” Campaign, encouraging men to speak out on the issue of violence against women.  CCI’s creative genius helped us bring to life an important and meaningful grassroots campaign started by the Original Maverick, Joe Palko. We are continuing to promote and expand the campaign to engage as many men as possible in using their voices to end violence.  Thank you to the always-fabulous team at CCI for being true partners in our work to end violence.  Check out the campaign at beamaverick.org.
  •  In September, 2015 we held our 2nd Annual Golf Tournament, which was a tremendous success and brought out a fabulous group of golfers and supporters.  We are incredibly excited to be holding our 2016 tournament in partnership with the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.  This amazing partnership gives us an invaluable platform to share the work of One Spark and to expand our fundraising efforts.  We are so grateful to our Board member, Flavio Volpe, for highlighting our work to APMA members and fostering this partnership opportunity.  The tournament will be held on September 22, 2016 at Granite Ridge Golf Course: we’re hoping to see you there!  http://one-spark.ca/2016-golf-tournament
  •  2016 also marked the first year that the Women Moving Forward Conference was presented under the One Spark banner.  We are incredibly proud of and grateful for the partnership we have developed with the WMF Conference Committee.  It is an important opportunity for One Spark to be connected to an event that provides networking, learning and personal growth opportunities for women as well as to provide the women who attend the conference with exposure to One Spark programming: a perfect match for growing and expanding our mission and work.
  •  Over the past year, we have continued to develop our Professional Advisory Committee and to consider how professionals from a variety of key functional business areas can support the women entrepreneurs we are working with.  Our Professional Advisory Committee has been such a wealth of expertise and support and we look forward to fostering ongoing community support through this wonderful group.
  •  We are so grateful to have expanded our corporate support network over the past year, including being the beneficiaries of events and initiatives led by Energi PR and Thrive Fit.  Thank you to these amazing organizations for connecting our work to yours.
  • There were some truly wonderful community events that happened this year that were coordinated through our unfailingly wonderful and committed volunteer and advocate, Heather Lapier.  Over the past year, Heather organized a Karma Class at Inner Dawn Yoga and a contest through Handmade for you Love Lu for the benefit of One Spark.  We love the opportunity to highlight our work through innovative and creative channels like these: thank you, Heather!
  •  Finally, but not at all least, we have had the opportunity over the past year to connect with other partners and service providers in the community to consider how we can bring our respective work together to maximum impact.  We’ve made critical connections with organizations such as the Elizabeth Fry Society and the Women’s Rural Resource Centre in Strathroy.  We’ve also connected to an incredible network of business coaches that offer ongoing business development coaching and mentorship to the women that participate in One Spark’s Entrepreneurship Program.  We had the amazing opportunity over the course of this year to have Janice Gerol – the Vice President of International Business Operations for Pampered Chef – to provide an advisory/mentorship session.  Thank you to the community partners that work with us in the spirit of collaboration: the benefits of community connection are so critical to our work.
Every year, I am amazed when we find ourselves already marking another One Spark birthday.  And every year I close my eyes and say a silent thank you to the incredible people that make it happen.  Most importantly, I pause to acknowledge the courage, strength and fortitude demonstrated by the women we work with.  We look forward to another year of diligently working towards breaking down the financial barriers women face when moving forward from violence.  Thank you for being a critical part of that journey.

In gratitude and peace,
Corrie


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