The late Keith Mitchell leaves behind a legacy of exceptional commitment to community service

Photo: Keith Mitchell, QC, BC Achievement Founding Chair

Keith Mitchell, QC served as the BC Achievement Foundation’s Founding Chair and guiding light for 13 years. A leader by example and a mentor at heart, Keith brought clarity to the role of the foundation in its mission to celebrate excellence in British Columbia.

“We all remember with great affection and respect our founding Chair Keith Mitchell, QC, in whose honour the BC Achievement Foundation launched the Mitchell Award of Distinction, given annually to one of the Community Award recipients.” Anne Giardini, OC, OBC, QC, Chair, BC Achievement Board.

Keith passed away on October 26, 2021, and his legacy continues through the annual Mitchell Award of Distinction designation, established in 2017, as part of the Community Award program. The designation recognizes an individual who, through his or her work and volunteer activities, demonstrates an exceptional commitment to elevating the community in which they live, and those who serve it. The recipient has a unique and selfless leadership style that encourages and inspires the full participation of those he or she leads. Five outstanding leaders have received the Mitchell Award designation to date: George Laverock 2017, Kim van der Woerd 2018, Ellen Woodsworth 2019, Dom Bautista 2020, and Amber Anderson 2021.

Photo: 2021 Mitchell Awardee, Amber Anderson C.C.C.

Chef Amber Anderson’s accomplishments in establishing a culinary training school and café for those living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with the Hope Action Values Ethics (HAVE) Culinary Training Society have had a huge impact on the community.

Since 2007 Amber has successfully led the society – a non-profit, registered charity and social enterprise that provides food service job training and work opportunities to all individuals who experience barriers to employment. Using food to help people, to build a community has been part of Amber’s life for more than 20 years. Her distinctive style creates an equal playing field for all who engage with HAVE. Inclusion drives her instruction and her ability to build people up, support and help them defines the intent of the Mitchell Award which signals out those whose leadership empowers others. 

Amber is a dedicated leader, and we look forward to watching her contributions over the years to come.

The 2022 Community Award is accepting nominations until January 31, 2022. Nominate a deserving individual and help elevate excellence, share success and inspire change. #nominatenowbc

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.   

British Columbia Reconciliation Award nominations close January 15

Photo: 2021 Crabtree McLennan Artist, Cole Speck, Reconciliation paddle

Following the successful inaugural offering of the 2021 British Columbia Reconciliation Award, BC Achievement, in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, launched the second British Columbia Reconciliation Award program with nominations open from November 15, 2021 until January 15, 2022.

The inaugural 2020 program received an outstanding province-wide response reflecting the remarkable contributions so many British Columbians are making toward reconciliation.

The recipients of the first British Columbia Reconciliation Award were honoured for demonstrating exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of British Columbia, or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts.

Individual Recipients:

Dawn Drummond
Xele’milh-Doris Paul
Corey Payette
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Dr. David Suzuki
Corporal Christopher Voller

Organization Recipients:

Carrier Sekani Family Services
Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast
xaȼqanaǂ ʔitkiniǂ (Many Ways of Doing the Same Thing) Research Team

“Being part of establishing the reconciliation award program and serving on the inaugural selection committee has been heartwarming and empowering. Reviewing all the nominations has shown me the power of reconciliation and how it can change people and community’s lives for the better. It shows we can live together and achieve great things if there are willing people working towards a vision of reconciliation.”
BC Achievement Board Member Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], OBC 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. In honour of this legacy, this year’s recipients received a framed print of a canoe paddle painted by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck.

Nominations for the 2022 British Columbia Reconciliation Award are open until January 15 at #nominatenowbc

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.   

Exceptional leaders for BC communities

Photo: 2021 Awardee, Balbir Gurm

It was an eventful year in British Columbia, to say the least. With fires, floods, discovery of the unmarked graves, the overdose crisis and the persistence of the pandemic, it’s been challenging to see the good bits of 2021.

But there have been good bits! Really good things have happened in this province because of the generosity, support and resilience of the people who live here.

The helpers,
the heroes,
the dedicated volunteers,
role models,
champions for the underserved,
fearless advocates,
the quintessentially good neighbours; and
the innovative changemakers in reconciliation.

These folks stand out because of their exceptional service and leadership to people in their communities.

In 2021 BC Achievement was honoured to receive many nominations for such people for both the British Columbia Reconciliation Award and the Community Award. And through these nominations, we were pleased to present 25 individuals or pairs with the Community Award, including Balbir Gurm, a nursing professor and founder of NEVR – Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships. A role model and champion for women, Balbir Gurm advocates for violence prevention, helping break down cultural and gender barriers.

We were impressed with the response to the British Columbia Reconciliation Award, receiving nominations for individuals and organizations who have stepped up to create unique and respectful ways to furthering the Principles of Reconciliation. Six individuals and three organizations were bestowed the inaugural Award recognition in 2021. One of the recipients, Dr. David Suzuki, is world-renowned environmentalist who has spent a lifetime advancing reconciliation. Through his foundation, he has formed partnerships through shared insights of science and traditional knowledge, resulting in successes like the preservation of the Great Bear Rain Forest.

Photo: 2021 Awardee, Dr. David Suzuki

There are so many more passionate British Columbians whose actions make a positive difference for those who live and work here. This year let’s recognize these changemakers for their dedication and nominate them for either the Community Award or the British Columbia Reconciliation Award. Deadlines are coming up – January 15 at midnight for the British Columbia Reconciliation Award and January 31 at midnight for the Community Award. #nominatenowbc

Nomination forms, tips, and award program information can be found at British Columbia Reconciliation Award and Community Award pages on

We hope to hear from you soon!

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.