Community Partnership Program Part 1 of 2

Feb 25, 2015 | All Blog Posts

Over the years at Eclipse we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the transformational power of recognition time and time again. We’ve seen recognition bestow confidence on people and empower them to go on to achieve amazing things because of it. Thoughtful recognition paired with beautiful awards can be a potent combination for cultivating emerging leaders and building stronger communities. At the same time though, we see a lot of great organizations hustling to make things happen in their communities, yet very few of them appreciate the potential and power of recognition, so they don’t budget for it and consequently, miss out on tapping into one of the most effective ways of empowering champions within their organization and community.

So in response we created our Community Partnership Program to help smaller organizations flourish and advance their missions through the use of recognition and awards. The idea is to partner with organizations that we admire and respect, commit to working together for at least 3 years, show them how to use recognition effectively, deeply subsidize any awards they used, and then demonstrate value by sharing the stories and experiences that emerge.

In 2011 we launched our pilot with Mission Possible as the inaugural member of our Community Partnership Program. Mission Possible is an inspiring social enterprise that aims to create opportunities for people challenged by homelessness and poverty. We admire the work that they were doing in Strathcona on a shoestring budget and we wanted to help them be more effective at what they do, so they were our perfect first partner. It’s been exciting working with Mission Possible, first reviewing their “recognition inventory and resources”, then helping them apply recognition in a way that would make them a stronger and more resilient organization. In the first year of our partnership, Mission Possible launched their Momentum Awards which were aimed at recognizing the accomplishments of clients who had graduated with them. I attended that first ceremony and the looks of happiness on people’s faces as they received their recognition and awards in front of their peers and friends was truly heartwarming! For many folks it was the first time in their lives that they had been celebrated or appreciated in this way and they expressed how special that was to them. Executive Director Brian Postlewait was also recognized with one of the inaugural Awesome Awards for all of his inspiring work in leading the organization. Last year Mission Possible held their second annual Momentum Awards and we’re excited to see what other recognition events will emerge in the months and years ahead!

Our second community partner was Sharktruth. We were inspired by their commitment to stop shark finning and their ability to communicate across cultures to educate people and change behaviours. Sharktruth would go on to help prevent over 80,000 bowls of sharkfin soup, and also faciliated Canada’s first Ocean Wise Chinese restaurant. Last year, Sharktruth evolved into the Hua Foundation, a lean organization with even bigger aspirations to address food security and provide pesticide-free, locally grown asian vegetables in Vancouver. We serve as an advisor to Claudia Li and Kevin Huang, the main folks behind the Hua Foundation and we are excited to help them accomplish great things with recognition in the years ahead!

Recognition is an underutilized tool for most organizations. Yet as we refocus on the importance of people and communities, it becomes even more vital to understand how to use it effectively. There are dozens of organizations that we would like to support through our Community Partnership Program, though to commit fully we have to ensure there is a solid fit.

If your organization could benefit from our Community Partner Program, read more in Part 2 of this post where we outline the benefits of the program and what we are looking for in potential partners.