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Alison M. Caird
July 21st, 1964 -  April 27th, 2020

We were saddened to hear of the passing of our PAVRO colleague Alison Caird who died following an eight-year battle with cancer.

Alison was a non-profit professional with 25 years of experience leading volunteer programs and organizations. She spent her entire career in the not-for-profit and public sector. She began her career as a literacy coordinator with the Children's Aid Society and then held progressively senior positions in volunteer management with the University Health Network (Toronto General, Toronto Western, and Toronto Rehab hospitals). In 2013, Alison took on the role of Executive Director for the newly created Spectra Helpline. This was followed in 2017 with her work as Executive Director for Distress Centres Toronto, and she began the work of consolidating the Toronto and Spectra Distress Centres into a single Greater Toronto Area Distress Centre serving the Toronto area.

Alison brought her gifts of leadership, strategic planning, problem-solving, and administration to work alongside volunteers and staff, addressing evolving program and service delivery challenges with the goals of finding solutions and establishing excellence in organizational practices. She brought to her work an exceptional combination of leadership ability, analytic acumen, project management skills, and a proven track record of achievement and impact in the non-profit sector. A life-long learner, she published numerous articles and is the co-author of "Measuring the Impact of Volunteers: A Balanced and Strategic Approach" which won the 2106 Terry McAdam Book Award.

Alison volunteered as a member of the PAVRO Board of Directors for several years. She was formally recognized for her dedication and many contributions by being awarded the Linda Buchanan Award for Administrator of the Year in 2004, and the President's Award for exemplary leadership, innovation and fundraising in 2008. In 2005 she developed the PAVRO Standards of Practice which is one of PAVRO's greatest gifts to the profession. Alison believed fully in PAVRO and was instrumental in bringing the evaluation accountability process to the organization.

In May of 2020, PAVRO renamed its long-standing annual Young Leader Award in honour of Alison Caird. The PAVRO Young Leader Award, now named the Alison Caird Young Leaders Award, was originally created to recognize and encourage excellence in the up and coming generation of leaders within the Volunteer Engagement profession. Each year, one successful recipient receives a bursary towards PAVRO activities or events (Conference, workshop, or membership). In addition, a personal letter is sent to the recipient’s supervisor to inform them of the award. We hope, by renaming this award, Alison’s legacy will live on in these young leaders.

Please consider making a dedication gift  to the Alison Caird Young Leaders Award to support the next generation of Volunteer Engagement Professionals for years to come. *Contributors are not eligible for tax receipts however acknowledgement receipts will be sent.

Alison is fondly remembered by many of her PAVRO peers. Visit our Memory Wall to read or share your own memories. 

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