SurreyCares ‘Serving With Distinction’ awards honour those who give

Inaugural SurreyCares fundraiser on Feb. 28 will share 'heartwarming stories.'

SurreyCares executive director Karen Young promises heartwarming stories at the organization's inaugural event.

SurreyCares executive director Karen Young promises heartwarming stories at the organization's inaugural event.

SURREY — With almost 750 registered charities in Surrey, there’s a lot of good happening in the city.

And that’s precisely what SurreyCares aims to highlight at its inaugural event, Serving with Distinction.

The date is set for Feb. 28 and organizers say “heartwarming stories will be shared, and awards will be presented that recognize the hard work of individuals and of organizations.”

More than 20 groups and people have been nominated for awards in several categories.

Nominees include everything from the Surrey Hospice charitable thrift store, to a new-to-Surrey foundation that helps those with down syndrome.

Also nominated is the Youth Transforming Society, which began in 2010 with “four high school students with a common goal of community involvement” and has now grown to more than 25 executives.

The Centre for Child Development, which provides therapeutic services to more than 2,700 children through 30,000 sessions annually, is also up for an award.

A special award to Surrey’s “Philanthropist of the Year” will be handed out as well.

Karen Young, executive director of SurreyCares, says many people with non-profits think they only need money, but that’s not always the case.

“Tied up with that is community support,” Young explained. “So, yes, that’s money but sometimes that’s volunteerism, sometimes that’s good will. How can we all help our client base? Whether it’s arts or homeless or whatever. How can we all do that together? It’s getting the word out.”

That’s what she hopes the Distinction gala will achieve.

“SurreyCares, we wanted to do an event. Everybody wants a signature event, but we didn’t want one more gala, we wanted something that helped non-profits,” Young explained. “We manage money for the charitable sector. We have grants, we give money, we manage money if they get their supporters to pony up because it gives in perpetuity.

“And the money all stays in Surrey,” she said of the grants SurreyCares hands out every year. “Our goal is to build up our funds. We manage funds that are at fair market value of about $7 million right now and our goal is to get to $10 million, not just with this evening of course. We grant out interest on that money, so the more we can build up our capital, the more we can grant out.”

And, it will be fun, said Young.

“We’re doing a bit of a multicultural theme,” she said, noting that “newcomers” was an important issue raised in SurreyCares’ last Vital Signs report card.

A reception will kick the evening off at 6 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, followed by a dinner and silent auction.

“I think that people will be blown away,” Young said of the stories that will be shared. “Not only is this for people who volunteer, but if you are a community supporter, to find out the awesome work going on in the community that’s helping children, people who are disadvantaged, families, all walks of life. That’s the thing about non-profits, they’re helping everybody in the community.”

Nominations are closed for non-profits, but tickets are available, at $100 a piece. A $40 tax receipt will be issued after the event. Visit for more information and tickets.