On January 18, 2012, Good Foot Delivery took first prize at the first-ever Social Entrepreneurship in Mental Health Equity Awards. The ceremony, held at Toronto’s historic Gladstone Hotel, celebrated local social enterprises that are making inroads in mental health equity. The award represents a unique collaboration between the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Social Entrepreneurism in Mental Health working group, MaRS Social Innovation Generation, and Ashoka Canada.
“It’s nice to see that kind of partnership develop,” Bill Young, the Awards moderator, told the attendees. Young is the Founder and President of Social Capital Partners, which aims to connect the private and non-profit sectors by helping people who have faced barriers to employment, gain access to meaningful job opportunities.
The fleet-of-foot Good Foot outpaced six other contenders for the award. As an urban courier service in downtown Toronto, Good Foot gives opportunities to people with developmental disabilities, helping them gain financial independence, self-direction, and responsibility.
“This award is important because it brings attention to innovative and effective ways of providing pathways to community, inclusion, and wellness for marginalized groups that experience mental health disparities,” said Dr. Sean Kidd, a psychologist at CAMH. “As is the case with the ‘best diversity employer’ types of awards, it is a strategy that generates interest and can help to move the mental health equity agenda forward.”
Kidd also highlighted the importance of knowledge translation in making sure that evidence informs our policies and practices. “It is clear that in many communities there have emerged highly innovative and effective ways of addressing mental health disparities. The problem is that the models are often not well articulated or known outside of the immediate community. Our collaboration, which includes research and clinical expertise from CAMH and expertise in the development of social resources from Ashoka and MaRS Social Innovation Generation, has allowed us to effectively identify, research, and spread the word about these types of approaches.”
Second prize was taken by Clean Works, and third by Rise Asset Development. The other finalists included FABARNAK Restaurant and Catering, Gateway Linens, Out of This World Café, and Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises.
To learn more about the awards, go to www.supportcamh.ca.