Julie Kingstone, co-founder and president of Ottawa’s LiveWorkPlay, is an example of the embodiment of that spirit, and as one of the 40 recipients to be celebrated at this year’s gala to be held June 21, she represents the nonprofit and developmental services sectors with distinction.
More than 200 nominations were received and out of the 40 leaders chosen, Kingstone is the only one representing the developmental-services sector. As far as she’s aware, this is the first time the sector has ever been recognized, and she says it’s a wonderful acknowledgement of the dedication of people working to make for a more inclusive society.
“I think that often people don’t relate being business-like or entrepreneurial with the non-profit sector, which I think is slowly changing, but definitely this year the award recipients are mainly from mainstream business,” Kingstone tells Community Living Leaders.
She says now more than ever the nonprofit sector must consider the work they do from the same perspective as any other business.
“The organizations that seem to be thriving or developing further capacity definitely seem to have a more entrepreneurial or a more non-traditional approach,” she says.
Kingstone founded LiveWorkPlay in 1995 with her husband, Keenan Wellar, who is now the CEO, and in the spring or 1997, they left their jobs to become the organization’s first staff members with a minimal operating budget.
Now they support more than 100 people who have an intellectual disability with a staff of 11, more than 100 volunteers and an annual budget of around $1 million. The organization, under Kingstone’s keen attention to financial detail, has been operating deficit-free since 1999.
That early motivation to help others live a more fulfilled life in an inclusive community remains as strong as ever, says Kingstone, and the acknowledgement of the business community with this award is a great way to continue the important work of building partnerships.
“At the end of the day it’s going to be neighbours, employers, other people in the community that are really going to make a difference in the lives of people that we support,” she says.
Article by Kristian Partington @ Community Living Ontario