"Being nominated and winning the Inspire Award was an amazing acknowledgement of the work I've done my entire life. It was exceptionally gratifying, and truthfully, really overwhelming. I have never seen myself in that light. I'm just a guy doing what needs to be done. It never crossed my mind that I was inspiring, or that was what I was supposed to be doing. I was just following my path." In 2009, Michael received KPMG's CEO Community Excellence Award for his work in the LGBTQ community. This award is a prestigious honour given to 10 individuals within the firm, across Canada, who go above and beyond in giving back to their community. In 2010, Michael received the Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award as part of the 2010 Immigrant Success Award, for his outstanding commitment to helping new Canadians find work in their chosen profession. And in 2011 Michael Bach was honoured as a Diversity Champion with the Catalyst Canada Honours Human Resources/Diversity Leader award. Only the second time this award has been given out, it is presented to a senior executive that leads the development and implementation of the diversity and inclusion strategy.
Leanne is in her final year at St. Joseph's Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, where she continues to struggle to have her GSA officially recognized. Leanne has given voice to a generation of local youth and sparked a growing movement to demand support for Gay/Straight Alliances in Ontario Catholic schools. After her proposal was denied by the principal of her school, she took matters into her own hands, creating a Facebook page to galvanize support in the community. Her small group of pioneering students ballooned to more than 250 members and supporters. In Toronto, the queer community cheered her on as she marched in this year's Pride parade and she was 2011's most honoured dyke.
Sacred Quest is committed to being a socially conscious business by each year picking a charity in the community to support through fundraising efforts. The store also offers free workshops and invites donations from those attending. Sacred Quest has supported My Sister's Voice, a non-profit organization providing counselling to queer women experiencing intimate relationship abuse, hosted the local drop-off for food bank collection for the AIDS Committee of Durham Region, and have provided facilitators for the Open Doors Conference sponsored by ACDR. They also provide free meeting room in the basement to community groups that support the queer community.
"It was a great honour to be recognized by the Inspire Awards and I think it's a testament to the work that our staff and our volunteers do here," says Keith Hambly, Fife House's Executive Director of Media. Fife House was established in 1988 and is a support housing group for people living with HIV and AIDS. They have over 190 units they either directly manage or provide case management support for. They also have the Homeless Outreach Program, which facilitates access to housing for marginalized PLHAs (People Living with HIV/AIDS). On an average year Fife House sees between 350 to 400 people and families.