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Posted by & filed under Announcement, Fundraising Day.

June 21st is National Aboriginal Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples*

At Fundraising Day 2017, the audience had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Duke Redbird’s original poem, The Power of the Land. We are delighted to share it with you in the spirit of the day:

In every Nation, in every Clan,
The Elders to a person.
Whether woman or a man,
Shared a common truth,
One Truth to understand,
That the spirit of the people
Is equal
To the Power of The Land.

The Mother of us all
The sacred Mother Earth,
Is constant in her giving,
And perpetual in her birth,
In meadows and in fields,
Where weeds and flowers grow,
She conceives the summer showers,
And spawns the winter snows.
In forests and in mountains,
She gives the birds that fly,
Every type of wing,
Then coaxes the wind to join,
In harmony, when they begin to sing.

In brooks and streams,
And rivers as they flow,
She generates the dreams
And makes the fires glow.

And in every creature,
Whether large or small
She buries gems of wisdom
In them all,

And in every grain of sand,
She plants the knowledge,
Of the Power of The Land.

And those that honour,
Her creations,

And acknowledge her grand design,
She gives the templates,
Of the sacred,
And the patterns of the divine.

And then with certain knowledge,
This to understand,
That the spirit of the people,
Is equal,
To the Power of the Land.

About the Dr. Duke Redbird

Dr. Duke Redbird is an Indigenous intellectual, poet, painter, broadcaster, filmmaker and orator. He brings his breadth of cultural knowledge and artistic practice to the benefit of a global audience.

Dr. Redbird is instrumental in the implementation of innovative multimedia technologies, bringing an Indigenous approach to arts education, that is rooted in his pioneering work at OCAD University. His legacy stretches far beyond his work in Canada. His art has been exhibited and his poetry has been published and translated in anthologies around the world.

Duke has been described as a multifaceted artist, practicing across a number of disciplines including literature, painting, theatre, cinema and most recently rap poetry. A well-known broadcaster and television personality, he is in demand as a public speaker in university, community college and elementary school settings. He delivers a unique perspective from his heritage that is both a positive and optimistic alternative to how we view our universe in the 21st century. In 2005, Dr. Redbird was honored by the Indigenous community of Toronto and recognized as an Urban Elder and Wisdom Keeper. In this capacity, Duke’s presentation is a message of inspiration, hope and vision for the future.

Presently, Dr. Redbird is an Advisor to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in the field of Indigenous Art & Culture; and the Curator of an inaugural art exhibition called Debwewin (Truth) of the Museum, Fine Art Collection and Archives of the TDSB. He is also an Advisor for the Board of Director’s of Toronto’s Jumblies Theatre and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

*Introduction taken from Government of Canada: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website. 

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Fundraising Day.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter is pleased to announce that Sasha Manes, Manager of Major Gifts and Stewardship at YWCA Toronto, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding New Fundraising Professional Award.

It has been said of Sasha that she epitomizes what is so wonderful about Generation Y fundraisers.  She excels at team work, embraces technology and is completely open to change.  She is deeply mission-driven and recognized at an early age that she could help the greatest number of people by choosing fundraising as a profession.

Sasha first joined YWCA Toronto in 2007 in a junior role within their women and children’s shelters. After leaving the Association to pursue a Master’s Degree in Community Development, Sasha returned to YWCA Toronto in a fundraising position and was selected by her CEO to represent the Philanthropy Department at the National YMCA/YWCA Conference in Edmonton. By the following year, she was named the lead in securing $1.3 million– which enabled YWCA Toronto to hit an all-time high in the philanthropic operating revenues for the charity.

Under Sasha’s leadership as Manager of Events, Sponsorship and Volunteers, the Women of Distinction Awards, YWCA Toronto’s largest fundraiser responsible for one third of the Philanthropy Department’s annual revenue, has been completely re-invented attracting a younger demographic and the future leaders of the sector. Sasha’s hard work and dedication has renewed the vitality of the event and made it hugely successful, growing total revenues by 25% and increasing corporate sponsorship by 47% from 2013. With no marketing budget, Sasha relied on her creativity and resourcefulness to leverage in-kind support from advertisers and media – Globe and Mail, CBC Toronto, BlogTO, CP24, TTC AdStop, and the Toronto Star to promote this event. From 2014-2016, the last year Sasha was in this role, she maintained a 55% growth in her corporate sponsorship revenue targets, 155% increase over three years. Sasha’s fundraising impact goes above and beyond the event as many attendees have become monthly and major gift donors, including a $1 million donation from an attendee just days after the event, the largest donation in YWCA Toronto’s operating history. Because of her innovative thinking and creative fundraising, this event continues to sell out and welcomes 1200 guests and volunteers every year.

As part of the management team in the Philanthropy Department, Sasha helps to steer the direction of the strategic planning and, as of the beginning of this year, has been appointed to the newly created position of Manager of Major Gifts and Stewardship. This is first time in YWCA Toronto history that the Association will have a position dedicated to the major gifts portfolio. She is now excitedly working towards the YWCA Toronto Philanthropy Department’s strategic goal of doubling their annual revenue over the next five years.

Sasha currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Rwanda Survivors Foundation, the first Canadian human rights education non-profit to focus specifically on Rwanda. In addition to assisting the Foundation in their fundraising efforts, she is dedicated to advancing and disseminating knowledge about Genocide. She also sits on a fundraising committee for Heritage Toronto. Prior to these current volunteer positions, Sasha was a long-term fundraising volunteer with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, where she helped coordinate general fundraising efforts, as well as their largest annual fundraising event for 4 consecutive years.

Sasha appreciates that she spends her days talking to, and listening to, donors who are devoted to making our city, and the world, a place where women and children can thrive.  Ultimately, she is deeply proud that, through her work in fundraising, she has the opportunity to connect the good someone wants to do, with the good that needs to be done. Sasha is deeply grateful for the path she has chosen.


Established in 2001, the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter New Fundraising Professional Award recognizes a full-time fundraising professional who has displayed exceptional talent and demonstrated outstanding achievement early in his/her career. The recipient has between two and five years of experience in fundraising and is selected through submissions from Chapter members. The award encompasses career achievements, long and short term career objectives, personal volunteer service and a commitment to the profession.

About AFP

AFP Greater Toronto Chapter is a recognised leader in promoting philanthropy and providing education, training and best practices for those in the fundraising profession. With more than 1200 members, the Greater Toronto Chapter is the largest of the more than 244 AFP chapters throughout the world.


Cynthia Quigley
Director, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter
Tel: 416-941-9212

New Fundraising Professional Award Sponsor

Sasha will be honoured with her award at the Fundraising Day Luncheon. Join us on June 8th to celebrate Sasha’s achievement, attending awesome professional development and education sessions, and network with your fellow fundraisers. Register today!