2021 Volunteer Toronto Legacy Award Nominee – Bonnie Baker

International Volunteer Day is a global celebration of volunteers and is recognized in over 80 countries. It takes place every year on December 5th and shines a light on the impact of volunteer efforts.

This day is an international observance mandated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985. It is an opportunity for organizations, individual volunteers, and communities to promote volunteerism at local, national, and international levels. The goal is to heighten awareness of the important contribution of volunteer service and encourage people to offer their services as volunteers, both at home and abroad.

Please join us in thanking our Bernard Betel Centre volunteers who are part of this great global team! Together with countless volunteers across the globe they are making a difference to our community, the world and to the future.

Each year, Volunteer Toronto invites community agencies from across the city to nominate volunteers for their Legacy Award program. We congratulate Bonnie Baker on being our 2021 nominee. In celebration of International Volunteer Day, on December 3, 2021, Bonnie’s name will be published on the Volunteer Toronto Digital Wall of Fame along with other outstanding volunteers from across Toronto.

Here is an excerpt from Bonnie Baker’s nomination for the 2021 Volunteer Toronto Legacy Award:

Bonnie Baker

For most of her career, Bonnie Baker worked in the Ontario Public Service in policy analysis and development and program management in a number of areas including classification standards, compensation policy, pay equity, business continuity planning, labour dispute contingency planning, and pandemic planning.

In 2010, Bonnie was elected to the Bernard Betel Centre Board, where she held several leadership roles, including President and is currently Immediate Past President. Bonnie led the revision of By-Laws and board policies; implemented an annual review of committee terms of reference and development of committee workplans; secured board approval for Accreditation; created board succession management policies and processes; implemented an annual board self-evaluation survey and imposed a more structured board recruitment process. Current projects include evaluating board policies through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. She is also a member of the Emergency Preparedness Team – Return to Work committee.

In 2016, Bonnie co-chaired the planning committee for the “Betel at 50” celebration which showcased our programs and services over the past 50 years. 

In addition to her volunteer engagement at Bernard Betel, Bonnie volunteered as a hospice volunteer at Circle of Care from 2015 to 2016 and pre-pandemic volunteered at her synagogue food bank and prepared breakfast for those attending morning services.

Bonnie has brought rigor and strength to the Bernard Betel Centre Board and the organization. In addition to using her skills to strengthen the Board structure, Bonnie’s past experience in pandemic planning was invaluable. At a time when there were many questions and much uncertainty, Bonnie had the expertise and experience to skillfully guide us through our COVID-19 planning process.

Bonnie grew up with the spirit of volunteerism as both her parents were involved in community work and has instilled the same passion with her own children. Following in her mother’s steps, Bonnie’s daughter has joined the Bernard Betel Centre Board.

As a teenager she worked in a long term care home and was exposed to the “warehousing” of the elderly. For her Master’s degree in Public Administration, she researched the de-institutionalization of the elderly. She believes in the mission of the centre and devotes her time to helping seniors remain at home, fully engaged and healthy.

Bonnie has made the organization stronger and more resilient to meet the needs of our senior members and clients in both normal and challenging times. She is a role model for volunteerism among her family and peers and is a passionate advocate for keeping seniors as they age – engaged, connected and healthy.

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