The Mark Winkler Achievement Award


There have been only a few moments in my life where I have found myself honored and yet humbled, both at the same time over other people’s actions.   On a cold November day in 2014, I went up to Toronto for one of those moments.

Common Ground is a wonderful organization that provides a future for those who are developmentally delayed.  Their programs offer employment to a sector of our society who would normally not be given work opportunities because of their disabilities.   My niece Rita happens to be one of those adults. At the age of 24, Rita is a part owner (they are called partners) of a small coffee shop up in Toronto for which Common Ground provides all the training, coaching and financial support to ensure that it is a success.   For six years I have spent a lot of my time raising money for this organization, as I am grateful to them for giving Rita a reason to wake up in the morning.  

Common Ground decided to institute an award to be presented yearly to an individual partner who has exhibited outstanding performance and achievement while being a partner at Common Ground.  I was touched when I discovered that they named the award on my behalf: ”The Mark Winkler Achievement Award.”  I went to Toronto to present the award to the winner and to give a short presentation on my approach to raising funds for Common Ground.

To the right is one picture showing the winner of the award with his coach, some of the board members and myself.  The other picture is the actual award presented to the winner. I have to say that on a personal note, this is one of those moments I wished my parents were alive so that I could have shared this milestone with them.

2016 Winner Alexandria

2015/16 Mark Winkler Achievement Award Winner, Alexandria.

2014/15 Mark Winkler Achievement Award Winner, Paul.
2016/17 Mark Winkler Achievement Award Winner, Julie,