An early advocate of giving employees paid time off to volunteer, Manjit enabled staff to volunteer in many ways including tutoring at Operation Come Home, hosting body image workshops to help empower young women, raising awareness to end violence against women, and fundraising to send survivors of violence to recovery programs. Her shops became meeting places for the community to come together to discuss important social issues and spark local initiatives.
“If you offer people an opportunity to be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves, they thrive, are more engaged, and feel connected to work and community,” she says.
Today, as founder and director of Synapcity, a citizen engagement non-profit in Ottawa, Manjit leads workshops and events on community development and city building. She has contributed as a board member to many organizations including the Community Foundation of Ottawa, Immigrant Women Services, and the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Health. She also hosted a Rogers TV series called Trailblazers. Manjit is currently on the Telus Community Board and a founding member of Women for Mental Health.
“In her work, Manjit emphasizes the importance of collective potential and collaboration to make a lasting, local impact,” says Jane Bachynski, spark Chair. “At spark, our mission is to bring women together to build strong communities and initiate change – something that Manjit has been doing for more than 20 years. This is why we’re so pleased to honour her with the first-ever Ignite award, and look forward to celebrating the power of women driving change in our community on November 15th.”
What is spark?
Through spark, women collectively invest their donations into the sparkFund. They then allocate Community Action Grants for resident-led, grassroots initiatives serving Ottawa’s priority neighbourhoods. Members learn the needs of the community, assess and score proposals, and vote collectively on projects to support.
Manjit says she is thrilled to receive the spark Ignite Award because she is driven by the same values as spark; collaborative change and empowering women.
“Everyone wants to contribute,” she says. “It’s magic when people realize how we can all be catalysts for change right here in our own community.”
Join us Nov. 15 to celebrate women driving change in our community