Happy 60th Anniversary March of Dimes Canada!

The year 2011 presents another unique and wonderful opportunity to celebrate the success of our organization over many years, and most importantly, the accomplishments of people with disabilities and their pursuit of equity, opportunity and justice.

For 60 years March of Dimes has operated in Canada, first to end the scourge of polio, and then to provide rehabilitative programs for those with severe disabilities. Then in the 60s, we helped organize civil rights advocacy initiatives with people with disabilities. Through the 70s we developed many programs at the grassroots level and by the 80s we expanded our service offerings, funded local advocacy initiatives, trained leaders from the “consumer movement,” and transformed into a regionally organized, but still provincial organization. In 2001, we linked with other organizations across Canada to celebrate our 50th anniversary, and by 2004, we were incorporated as a national charity offering programs outside of Ontario.

Since 2006, Ontario March of Dimes has been in the process of rebranding as March of Dimes Canada and we are very excited that now, in 2011, we have rebranded many of our activities and all of our fundraising. Our corporate board is working on a governance model that will facilitate a shift from being a provincial agency to a national one, but from this month forward, our work will be as one entity, March of Dimes Canada.

So, celebrate many aspects of our history and our future, as the lead community-based rehabilitation organization, strong on advocacy, service and innovative programs. Visit our website frequently for updates on all our activities and allow me to speak with you regularly also.

Best wishes,
Andria Spindel,
President and CEO March of Dimes Canada

About modcpresident
I grew up in Calgary, where I completed a BA at the University of Calgary, then travelled and taught in Kenya and the Canadian Arctic during the heyday of Trudeaumania, hippie travel and social experimentation. I settled in Vancouver to complete a Master of Social Work degree at the University of British Columbia, and stayed another 8 years. After graduating I was a Social Planner and eventually became the Executive Director of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC. Ontario March of Dimes recruited me in 1981, the International Year of Disabled Persons and the 30th anniversary of the agency. It has grown from a budget of $5m in '81 to $100m in 2010. Services have expanded drafmatically. We incorporated a non profit housing corporation in 1992 and a national charity in 2001, and since 2006 the latter has operated as March of Dimes Canada. We own and operate several properties that provide accommodation and independent living services to 77 people in 4 municipalities and will add another property this year. Two other exciting non profit entities have been incorporated in my 30 years (yes, it has been 30 years!) and we expect to hold our first fundraiser in the US this year and to initiate our first service south of the border also. My role as President and CEO continues to be that of creating a vision, fulfilling the mission and developing strategic plans to meet an increasing demand for services from people with disabilities and their caregivers. This is achieved through direct service, advocacy and peer programs. On a personal note, I live with my 17 year old daughter and two cats, and enjoy their company a lot. My two adult sons are doing interesting exploration in their own lives and I am intrigued with how they are progressing. In my spare time, I have various volunteer roles on several non profit boards and committees, and enjoy creating programs for building awareness of diversity and disability. I think it has become true for me that youth is, while not "wasted on the young," something that I appreciate more with age. Adventures are physically more challenging for me now, so they have to occur in new dimensions.

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