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Civic Impact

Canadian Centre for Diversity celebrates 65 years

The Canadian Centre for Diversity (CCD) has been active for 65 years—a big feat for a small non-profit.
While CCD's annual fundraisers are always big productions, regularly attracting more than 1,000 attendees, they're going all out for the November 8 anniversary event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 
"This year’s annual dinner will be as much an anniversary party as a fundraiser," says Carla Wittes, director of community and government relations with the CCD. "Sixty-five represents a remarkable achievement for a small organization to stay viable, relevant and up-to-date."
Hosted by Ben Mulroney, the evening will feature performances by Juno Award-winner Newton-Davis and the Toronto All-Star Big Band. The night will also include the presentation of CCD's two annual awards, the Human Relations Awards and the Partners in Diversity Award, given to people and organizations that share CCD's vision. 
This year's Human Relation Award is being presented to Salah Bachir, president of Cineplex Media. Bachir was most recently in the news for his work as chair of Toronto's 519 Community Centre Capital Campaign, where he helped raise $6 million in commitments. The Partners in Diversity Award will be awarded to CIBC for the bank's ongoing support of the Centre's activities. 
This landmark year also represents a chance for CCD to reflect on challenges going forward. 
"Our longevity also presents one of our challenges: as we continue to address issues around diversity in its broadest definition, we need to be constantly assessing and measuring our programs to ensure we really are addressing current needs."
"While it often seems that our vision—a Canadian society without prejudice and discrimination, one that values diversity, difference and inclusion—is so far from being realized, we know that we are making progress," says Witte. "Social change is slow, and as we have demonstrated, we are in this for the long haul."
The money raised at the November event will be used to fund CCD's core program, the Peer Leaders Network, which provides tools for Canadian youth to help overcome fear and prejudice in their schools. 
Writer: Katia Snukal
Source: Carla Wittes, Director, Community & Government Relations, Canadian Centre for Diversity 
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