Excellence in Business Award – Not-for-Profit

The Hope Centre was awarded the Excellence in Business Award – Not-for-Profit at the 2024 Niagara Business Achievement Awards.
Group photo with the Welland County Motorcycle Club members, representatives from The Hope Centre and Mayor Campion sitting on a motorcycle that is being raffled for Biketoberfest.

On June 21, 2024 The Hope Centre was honored to receive the 2024 Excellence in Business – Non- Profit Sector award from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce’s Niagara Business Achievement Awards. We are very grateful and humbled by this recognition.

Congratulations to all of the finalists Bethlehem Housing and Support Services, Birchway Niagara, Innovate Niagara, Nature School Niagara, Wellspring Niagara , and YMCA of Niagara who are doing outstanding work across the Niagara Region at a very challenging time.

I was fortunate to be able to accept this award on behalf of The Hope Centre. On behalf of our volunteer Board of Directors who work tirelessly behind the scenes ensuring that The Hope Centre continues to grow and evolve, meeting the needs of our community.

I was fortunate to be able to accept this recognition on behalf of the Welland Community who continues to support the work that we do – we couldn’t do it without you.

I was fortunate to be able to accept this award on behalf of the many many volunteers who make The Hope Centre a welcoming and comfortable space for all those who enter.

And finally, most importantly, I was fortunate to be able to accept this award on behalf of our dynamic staff team. This group of compassionate, empathetic and dedicated professionals make a difference in our community every single day. I am so grateful for each and every member of our team.


Jon Braithwaite, CEO 

Hope Centre wins a welcome pat on the back during GNCC awards gala

The Welland non-profit is among Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce’s  Niagara Business Achievement Awards recipients.

Article posted in the St Catharines Standard  July 5, 2024
By Matthew P. Barker

Since 1974, The Hope Centre has been assisting Welland’s most vulnerable residents with food security, housing stability, and health and wellness.

For its outstanding contributions to the community it was honoured last month during the 20th annual Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce’s Niagara Business Achievement Awards celebration.

Jon Braithwaite, the non-profit’s chief executive officer, humbled by the experience, shifted focus to staff and volunteers who work hard to make the organization run.

“It’s well deserved that staff are recognized just because a lot of the work they do outside of what we do internally isn’t recognized,” he said.

The Hope Centre was awarded GNCC’s 2024 Excellence in Business — non-profit sector award, sponsored by Bell Community Affairs.

The awards celebration, held June 13 at Holiday Inn & Suites St. Catharines Conference Centre, showcased business leaders outstanding in their field in 10 categories, as well as four bestowed awards including for community leader, entrepreneur of the year, innovative leader and builder of the year.

GNCC said it was its most-attended event with the greatest number of nominees in its history.

The Hope Centre was the finalist of non-profit contenders that included Bethlehem Housing and Support Services, Birchway Niagara, Innovate Niagara, Nature School Niagara, Wellspring Niagara and YMCA of Niagara.

“Those organizations we were named alongside do some outstanding work in our community and just to have The Hope Centre put on that level makes us extremely proud,” Braithwaite said.

“We believe we belong there, but it’s nice to have other people recognize that, too.”

Braithwaite said on a personal level to be acknowledged for the hard work The Hope Centre does solidifies what it is doing is on par with many others previously recognized for their work.

“There’s a couple of executive directors I’ve looked up to for a very long time. So, it meant a lot to receive this recognition,” he said.

“(The) non-profit category is a key category and recognizes organizations that have demonstrated continual excellence through positive growth and embrace an outstanding commitment to quality in the community in the services or products they offer,” said Mishka Balsom, GNCC chief executive officer.

Balsom said the group of nominees was indicative of the Niagara region, reflective of the strengths found throughout the sector.

“They have very strong organizations, supporting the community and supporting individuals, and this was a very strong category,” she added.

Braithwaite received the award on behalf of The Hope Centre and was surprised by the announcement, as he did not expect to win.

“It boosted everybody’s morale, everybody’s walking a little taller because we know we do the work,” he said. “We do it every single day, but it’s not easy work and it’s not always recognized.”

“Outside of what we do as a staff team, we don’t get many pats on the back out there, so this was a nice pat on the back for all the members of our team.”

Balsom said candidates nominated for the chamber’s awards go through a strict judging process that involves community members knowledgeable in their respective categories.

“Judges review all the submissions and rate the work against provided criteria through a private online system and all award finalists and recipients are determined based on the scores awarded by the pool of judges,” she said.

Balsom revealed scoring is done privately and individually, so the scores are unknown before being seen by GNCC staff.

“For sheer confidentiality purposes, we get the final score from them, and the judges rank them individually, and independently and then we look at the final score,” she said.

Balsom held there is a clear difference between the juried awards — where a candidate’s criteria is weighed against a benchmark — and the bestowed awards.

“Bestowed awards are given at the discretion of the GNCC, honouring an organization’s or individual’s contributions, achievements or impact in the community,” she said.