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.
Today we profile George Harris, a retired organizational financial expert with a background in actuarial mathematics, statistics, and agricultural economics. Since coming to Spark in 2010, George has completed a record number six matches with us! These matches helped build financial and organizational capacity for Winnipeg organizations, including Art From The heart, Frame Artists Co-op, and the Sudanese Community and Cultural Resource Centre. In addition to his extensive Spark volunteer record, George has been involved with other community initiatives, including the Old Grace Housing Co-Operative, the Peg City Car Co-Operative, and CHO!CES, as well as a variety of international development support and work.
It goes without saying that George Harris has made a large impact on the nonprofit sector in Winnipeg and abroad.
He is nominated for the Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award for his most recent match with Clan Mothers Turtle Lodge. The organization needed assistance with their new project, Clan Mothers Turtle Lodge Healing Village and Educational Centre. Co-founded by Jamie Goulet and Elder Mae Louise, the Healing Village will focus on “rehabilitation and reintegration of women and girls who have been victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking- using Indigenous matrilineal knowledge, principles, and governance systems.”
George was tasked with developing five-year financial projections as part of the business plan for the new project. According to Jamie, “his attention to detail and his previous experience in similar projects gave us not only a workable, adaptable tool but also made important recommendations while developing our financial plan.”
Upon completion of the financials, the organization reported that they not only had an adaptable tool, and necessary recommendations, but a clear vision of “what [they] require to move this project forward and finish [their] strategic financial overview for the next seven years.”
George is nominated for the Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Award for his work with Clan Mothers Turtle Lodge and his ability to provide the organization with clarity and a way forward. However, we would be remiss to not acknowledge his body of local and international development work. As Jamie put it so well, George “is a true example of how a volunteer can make a difference in our community!