The award is presented annually at the TAVA AGM in June. The following criteria will be considered when selecting the TAVA Innovation Award recipient:

Visionary | Individual addresses a challenge in the volunteer engagement sector or in their work as a volunteer engagement professional. Actions are perceived as influential, and they question, observe, network, and experiment beyond the obvious.

Leadership | Individual fosters innovation by creating conditions that enable their team, community or other professionals in the sector to challenge and/or create unique systems, programs or policies.

Impact | Individual develops, advances, or uses innovative volunteer engagement practices to meet the needs of the sector and/or moves the field of volunteer engagement forward. There may be a measurable benefit.

The Award

The successful recipient will receive:

  • Complimentary TAVA membership for the following year.

  • A personal letter of congratulations sent to the recipient’s organization to inform them of the achievement.

  • $50 donation to the charity of award recipient’s choice.


Faiza Venzant, 2020 Innovation Award Winner

Quotes from our nominators: 

“From connecting us to speakers, facilitating sessions, coaching members to get certified, to sharing knowledge with us about how poverty affects our volunteer communities, Faiza has opened up so many possibilities for the membership with her leadership. Faiza is helping our profession as a whole move forward."  -Jessica Pang-Parks

“Faiza has proven to be a visionary over and over again by always challenging TAVA to look at way to improve."  -Marie John

“Faiza always makes me want to just do more! Her  work within the YMCA, her advocacy for all things volunteer engagement, her drive to get us all certified, and her new found passion work in poverty simulation has shown me that she is someone to keep looking up to! Thank you Faiza for all that you do for our community of volunteer leaders."  -Veronica Torres Deally 

Ruth Pentinga, 2019 Innovation Award Winner

Quotes from our nominators:

Christine Martin (Evergreen): “Ruth leads by example. The volunteer program she has forged at YSM is a model for us all- one that is open and welcoming, while rooted in its foundations.”

Donnett Bailey (Volunteer Resources Coordinator, Yonge Street Mission): “Ruth is constantly mentoring new volunteer engagement professionals and is regularly working across agencies to support her peers.”

Faiza Venzant (YMCA of Greater Toronto): “Empowering presence without intending to be. Look to her to ask the tough questions, challenge stereotypes, question assumptions…”

Sandy Debeaupre(Volunteer, Yonge Street Mission): The epitome of the influence of a loving human soul on another. I am privileged to have Ruth as a very positive influence in my life.”

Joel Klassen (Community Capacity Builder, Yonge Street Mission): “A curious mind and provides a great example of someone who is continually striving to act on our responsibilities as citizens within society.”

Christine Martin, 2018 Innovation Award Winner

Christine Martin has been an example for all of us working in the volunteer engagement field. Her innovative approach using Liberating Structures to facilitate professional development sets new standards and inspires other TAVA members. At TAVA meetings, new and seasoned members listen closely to observe her methods and learn from her example.

TAVA is very proud to have Christine as a member and thrilled to have her as the inaugural recipient of this special award.

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