Each year we present the Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award at the Volunteer Manitoba Awards. We look forward to this day because it gives us a chance to recognize one of our volunteers and the impact their work has had on the community, as well as celebrate volunteerism throughout Manitoba.
A number of organizations we worked with this year nominated their Spark volunteer and wished to recognize them for their fantastic leadership and coordination, the outcome and impact of the match on the organization’s work, the depth and quality of their expertise, and their commitment to doing pro bono work for a stronger Winnipeg. So for the month of March, we are celebrating these nominees for the Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award, and their contributions to their community through a series of volunteer profiles.
Our first nominee is Foster Lyle, a recent CPA grad working in Investment Operations at Great West Life. A new volunteer, Foster initially became involved with Spark because he wanted to give back and saw the opportunity as a chance to connect with business and groups in Winnipeg that he would not otherwise have been exposed to.
One of those groups was the African Communities of Manitoba INC. (ACOMI). ACOMI is a non-profit umbrella organization that brings together over 25 grassroots community organizations of African heritage. They needed assistance in putting together the financial statements in preparation for an audit for funders, and Foster was the perfect fit.
ACOMI Treasurer Frank Indome described working with Foster as a ‘delight’, expressing how open, respectful, and communicative he was during the six-month match. When the financials were complete Foster presented them in person to members of ACOMI and Spark and took the time to answer questions about his process, the accounting sector, and brainstorm potential funder questions.
Foster’s attention to detail and communication were key factors in the success of this Spark match, but it was his leadership qualities that created the largest impact for ACOMI, of which two examples of this really shine through. First, while going through ACOMI’s financials, Foster saw an opportunity for the organization to showcase the success of one of their fundraising events. What resulted was Foster going beyond the parameters of the match to create a document that ACOMI can now show to funders and include in future funding proposals as proof of the event’s ongoing success. The second involved his capacity to create connections between ACOMI and the accounting sector. It was Foster who brokered a relationship between Thomas Nykoluk of Craig and Ross Chartered Accountants and ACOMI, which resulted in Thomas and the firm taking them on as a future client.
In the end, Frank reported that Foster “greatly helped ACOMI in that we now have contacts with Craig and Ross that will continue the work Foster started which goes a long way for us in the years to come, as having proper financial documents enable us to meet funding requirements.”
Interested in reading about other nominees? Check out other Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award nominee profiles coming this month!