Dawn McKenna, Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation, celebrated 15 years with the organization on December 1.
In a time when the average tenure for a director of a non-profit organization is just four years, McKenna’s achievement is significant. Through her dedication, personal sacrifices and commitment to serving individuals with Down syndrome, Ms. McKenna has made a substantial contribution to countless families in the Burnaby community and beyond.
DSRF Chairman of the Board Victor Giacomin said, “Dawn has made a real difference in the lives of families of persons with Down syndrome. She has put the Foundation ahead of herself and built a quality organization over her many years of service. The Foundation is in solid financial shape with many exciting opportunities ahead of us thanks to Dawn’s leadership.”
Ms. McKenna’s impact was evident at the recent 2014 Burnaby Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards, where the Down Syndrome Research Foundation made history, becoming just the second organization in 15 years to win two awards in the same year when they were honoured as Burnaby’s Not-For-Profit Organization of the Year and Family Friendly Business of the Year.
"These awards are a testament to the work that we do in Burnaby, and what we do for the families we support, with very frugal management of expenses and lots of fundraising," said Ms. McKenna in accepting the awards.
During her time with DSRF, Ms. McKenna helped spearhead the organization’s move from a 650 square foot trailer on the grounds of Sunny Hill Health Centre to their current 10,000 square foot facility in Burnaby, which opened in 2002. In 2006, DSRF hosted the World Down Syndrome Congress, bringing together parents and practitioners in the Down syndrome field from around the world. More recently, Ms. McKenna led DSRF through the difficult years of the financial recession, and now has the organization in its strongest financial position ever, while providing programs and services to more students than ever before.
The Down Syndrome Research Foundation, based in Burnaby and active throughout the Lower Mainland, empowers individuals with Down syndrome to reach their full potential throughout life by pioneering and providing educational programs and services, grounded in foundational research. Working with researchers, professionals and families, DSRF is a bridge between research and practice. DSRF offers programs for individuals with Down syndrome from birth through early adulthood.
The Down Syndrome Research Foundation is proud to announce that the organization won two awards at the 2014 Burnaby Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards. DSRF was named the most Family Friendly Organization in Burnaby, and was also honoured as Burnaby's Non-Profit Organization of the year.
DSRF's dual win marked just the second time in BBOT history that a single organization captured two awards in the same year. Thank you very much to all our staff, volunteers and supporters who have helped make this possible.