Top: Jill Knaggs, Diane Truderung, and Jim Lapp   Bottom: Elise Epp and Diane Truderung

Top: Jill Knaggs, Diane Truderung, and Jim Lapp   Bottom: Elise Epp and Diane Truderung


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 are profiling two people, Jill Knaggs and Elise Epp, who teamed up for a match with L’Arche Tova cafe.  


L’Arche Tova Cafe is a social enterprise cafe in the Transcona area that provides meaningful training and employment to people with disabilities.  They approached Spark to help them develop a new cafe tagline and logo as part of the cafe’s new look and marketing plan.  This project called for two unique skill sets- graphic design and marketing- so we diverted from our traditional on-one-one practice and instead created a dynamic pro bono duo.  Jill, with a background in marketing and communications, was to create the tagline while Elise, a graphic designer, was tasked with designing a new logo, business cards, and menus.


Jill Knaggs began volunteering with Spark in 2015 because she found the Spark’s short-term volunteer projects flexible and a means to build her portfolio.  Skilled in marketing and communication in both the private and nonprofit sectors, Jill brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to Spark.  


Taglines can be tricky, they have to convey the passion of an organization in only a few short, sharp words that can roll off the tongue.  For L’Arche Tova, the tagline needed to convey the passion they have for both its food and its staff.  That’s a tall order (a little restaurant humour for you), but Jill was up to the task.  She met with staff and together they brainstormed about what who L’Arche Tova was and what they wanted to accomplish, not just as a cafe, but as a social enterprise passionate about providing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.  From these discussions, Jill developed three potential taglines with ‘Great Food With Heart’ crowned the winner.  


All the tagline needed now was a visual, and with that, the second phase of the match began with Elise Epp.  New to Winnipeg in 2015, Elise joined Spark as an opportunity to begin building connections in her new community. Owner of Elise Epp Design, Elise is trained in graphic and web design and specializes in visual branding for fashion and creative entrepreneurs.  Her work is bright, modern, and thoughtful- a great match for L’Arche Tova. 


It was Elise’s role to design a new logo, menu, and business card for the cafe.  According to Diane Truderung, Director of Fund Development at L’Arche, “the ideas that Elise had and the creative work that she was able to present, was truly exceptional. The design, the colours used, and the graphics were bright, pleasing and very modern.”  The modern look of the logo not only helped with the cafe’s desired new look but it also appealed to the younger crowd, a demographic that has been increasingly attending the cafe. 


At the conclusion of the match, the outcome was more than a new modern logo and tagline that L’Arche Tova can use as part of their bigger marketing plan.  Rather, as Diane commented, the best outcome was something less tangible – a heartwarming experience for everyone involved.  


Interested in reading about other award nominees? Check out the profiles of Foster Lyle and Stephen Pitre, and follow along with other nominee profiles this month!