The CCAE Distinguished Service Awards 2016

2016 Distinguished Service Award Recipients 

CCAE is very pleased to announce the recipients of Distinguished Service Awards for 2016.

2016 CCAE Friend of Education Award

MasterCard Foundation

Supported by Offord Group


In the mere ten years since its inception, The MasterCard Foundation has served the aspirations of 6 million people in 57 countries in the developing world, and has established a comprehensive scholarship program for African students at three leading Canadian universities. The mission of The Foundation is: To advance education and financial inclusion to catalyze prosperity in developing countries.

CCAE recognizes its extraordinary work, resources and dedication by naming The MasterCard Foundation as the 2016 CCAE Friend of Education.

Through a gamut of programs, The MasterCard Foundation has committed $1.67 billion dollars (USD) to projects that address education, financial services and skill training in disadvantaged and under-serviced areas of the world - focused in Africa, with programs also in Central and South America and Asia.

Founded in 2006 as MasterCard Worldwide went public, the Foundation has its own Board of Directors, President and CEO. Holding $9 billion in assets, The MasterCard Foundation is entirely independent of the company that established it.

By funding training and education - and using these tools to empower marginalized populations - The MasterCard Foundation is making a profound impact. The $700 million MasterCard Scholars Program funds students from sub-Saharan Africa who have excelled at school and shown themselves to be community leaders, yet who face significant financial barriers to post-secondary education.

Since 2013, the University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of Toronto have been partners in the MasterCard Scholars Program that will see these institutions graduate an expected total of over 470 undergraduate and graduate Scholars. Thanks to the program, 15,000 students will graduate with university degrees worldwide.

Support for MasterCard Scholars not only covers full tuition, books and living expenses, but peer mentorship, development of leadership skills, local and international community service learning, and summer internships in Africa. This program provides its university partners with an unmatched opportunity to change education - and the world - through genuine empowerment.

MasterCard Scholars say it best themselves. Ramon Mwanyai, studying at McGill, wrote: “Part of what has made the experience so enriching for me is the opportunity to learn at the cutting edge of knowledge among the best students from every corner of the globe. . . . A lot has been invested in me and this comes with a responsibility. I strongly believe I am an agent of change and that I have a role to play in my society.”

Wrote University of Toronto MasterCard Scholar Sylvia Mwangi, who is pursuing a degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto: “I am proud to be associated with a community of scholars whose boundary extends to even those not on my campus. This not only fosters a network of passionate young people, but also maintains our accountability in staying true to the stated course. . . . Thanks to the MasterCard Scholars Program, I am able to live in the future of my country and gain a new perspective on life through my interactions here in Canada.”


2016 CCAE Outstanding Achievement Award

David Palmer

Vice-President, Advancement, University of Toronto

Supported by Manulife


David Palmer, who has brilliantly orchestrated the University of Toronto’s 2 billion-dollar Boundless Campaign starting in 2011, has become one of the most respected figures in Canadian advancement and one of the great stewards of talent in the field. It is with pride and admiration that CCAE bestows on him the 2016 CCAE Outstanding Achievement Award, supported by Manulife.

During his 25-year career, which began at Orchestra London, David has built highly effective advancement teams. He has redefined the potential of alumni and development programs to transform educational and cultural institutions and to elevate public engagement, pride and support.

His nominators and supporters for the 2016 CCAE Outstanding Achievement Award describe him thus:

“A person of immense character, integrity and creativity.”

“A willing and generous mentor and advisor.”

“David is the consummate advancement professional: intelligent, strategic, focused, collaborative and committed.”

“His belief in the power of advancement to lift sights higher and enact meaningful change captures the imagination, inspires trust and draws people closer to institutions and causes he so ably serves.”

A graduate of Western University and holder of a Master of Fine Arts in Musicology from Princeton University, David led a groundbreaking campaign from 1993-99 for the Faculty of Business at Western University that resulted in its renaming as the Richard Ivey School of Business, and ushered in a new era in Canadian fundraising for professional faculties.

As Executive Director of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Governors from 1999-2007, David led Renaissance ROM, a transformational campaign that strengthened the Museum’s brand, fortified its financial position and reasserted its standing as one of the world’s great cultural destinations. The campaign’s unprecedented outreach to diverse communities engendered pride among previously overlooked groups, exemplified by a landmark gift from Michael Lee-Chin to name the ROM’s new building.

As Vice-President, Advancement at University of Toronto since 2007, David Palmer has led efforts, through the Boundless Campaign, to deepen the engagement of 550,000 alumni around the world and to mobilize friends and supporters around the university’s highest priorities. Among the campaign’s milestones, emblematic of David Palmer’s collaborative talents, was the $130 million donation to establish the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research at U of T, University Health Network and SickKids Hospital - the largest monetary gift ever to a Canadian health-care initiative.

A Senior Fellow of Massey College, member of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Foundation Executives, and a Director of the Earth Rangers Foundation, David was recognized in 2011 with the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

In David Palmer’s own words: “Whether you’re a fundraiser, volunteer or philanthropist, when you’re involved in a great cause, there’s a piece of it that takes root inside you; that takes up residence in your heart and mind, and changes you, fundamentally and forever.”

Transformation is the essence of advancement, and everywhere David has worked, he has pursued this goal and achieved truly outstanding results.


2016 CCAE Rising Star Award

Sarah B. MacDonald

Acting Manager of Annual Giving, Saint Mary’s University

Halifax, Nova Scotia


A proven leader with a sure touch for blending tradition and innovation, Sarah B. MacDonald has made a significant mark on alumni relations, orientation for new students, and graduating class activities since joining the staff at Saint Mary’s University in August 2012. Now, six months into her role as Manager of Annual Giving, Sarah is driving the integration of alumni engagement with fundraising opportunities at SMU.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science (cum laude) from the University of Prince Edward Island, and a Master’s degree in International Development Studies (cum laude) from Saint Mary’s.

Sarah “gravitates to roles that require drive and leadership abilities. She is a doer and does what is required to get the job done while at the same time leads volunteers and teams enthusiastically and effectively,” wrote Mary Ann Daye, Director of Alumni Engagement at Saint Mary’s University.

In her role as Alumni Officer, Sarah stepped up to create a new key component of Orientation Week for incoming students: the Santamarian Ceremony that, in just two years, has become a cherished tradition. The ceremony involves not only incoming students but also senior administrators, faculty and staff. The 2015 Santamarian Ceremony also included the Installation of Saint Mary’s new President, Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray.

Sarah refreshed Grad Class activities, rebranding a Baccalaureate Service as a Welcome to the Family Luncheon and Grad Cruise. She created the first Young Alumni Committee, which works with the Grad Class Committee to host events while partnering with community organizations such as Fusion Halifax and the Halifax Partnership.

Even as she immerses in Annual Giving, Sarah continues to mentor young alumni and graduating students. Her skill at building and sustaining partnerships is serving her well in her new role, and in her extensive volunteer portfolio.

Sarah was selected as a 21 Leaders participant in 2014-15 - a 10-month province-wide leadership development program. During this time she created the not-for-profit Galifax! Girls Camp: a week-long camp designed to empower young women through creative messaging and leadership. She was selected as part of the competitive Fusion Halifax Mentorship Program, as well as a Commonwealth Young Achiever from the Commonwealth Youth Council in 2015.  Sarah has worked in her community on the CKDU Community Radio Station Board (most recently as chair), the District 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee for Halifax Community Council, is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Halifax Hub, and the Junior League of Halifax.  She has also served as a CCAE Prix d’Excellence judge. While a student at SMU, Sarah completed six years in student advocacy, serving as Vice-President, Academic Affairs for the SMU Students’ Association and a Board Member of Students Nova Scotia.

Sarah MacDonald shines with the promise of a stellar advancement career, and CCAE is proud to recognize her as a 2016 CCAE Rising Star.


2016 CCAE Rising Star Award

Tom Meadus

Director of Advancement, New Brunswick Community College

Fredericton, New Brunswick


Serendipity is often a key factor in bringing talented people to join Advancement, as even today, no standard education or career path leads to such a role. New Brunswick Community College is indeed fortunate that serendipity led Tom Meadus to transition from a 15-year career in the transportation industry to Human Resources at NBCC and, in 2012, to the newly created position as Director of Advancement.

In 2010, after 40 years of existence, NBCC moved from a government department to a Crown Corporation. As the new Director of Human Resources, Tom Meadus brought his logistics skills and experience to bear on the transition. A first-ever NBCC five-year strategic plan mandated many changes in 2012, including a new Advancement Department to which Tom was appointed head.

“As Director of Advancement, Tom had to simultaneously hire and build a team, establish an Alumni Association and begin to navigate the legal and practical aspects of accepting donations,” wrote Mary Butler, Vice-President, Academic Development at NBCC. “He did so with great success, exceeding stretch goals and doubling alumni membership for each of the first two years.”

In four years, Tom and his three hires have overseen registration of over 7,000 members in NBCC’s first alumni association. The association offers more than 30 benefits and services for alumni and a formal alumni recognition program.

In the same period, Tom and the NBCC advancement team created a donor development and recognition strategy as well as a promotional and media strategy. After a 10-year lapse since any fundraising or systematized donor contact, Tom led fundraising efforts (without a formal campaign) that brought in over $3.4 million in donations. The College recently received its largest ever gift of $2.5 million from The Joyce Foundation. 

Tom has spearheaded an entrepreneurship strategy to connect successful NBCC alumni with students and recent graduates. Its cornerstone is the multi-generational OASIS Program for mentorship of future entrepreneurs, which has received recognition in the Futurepreneurs National Directory and secured external funding.

NBCC received a Gold Award in the 2015 CCAE Prix d’Excellence for Best Community Outreach initiative for the Day of Service, organized by Advancement through NBCC’s Robertson Institute for Community Leadership. NBCC has also received a Bronze Award from CCAE for Best Alumni Initiative in 2015, and a CASE Award of Excellence in 2014.

A frequent presenter and facilitator at CCAE and CASE conferences, Tom serves as Co-Chair of the Entrepreneurship Council of the Atlantic Canada Community College Consortium. He is a long-time Board member and Past President of the United Way of Central New Brunswick.

With Tom’s leadership, NBCC has built a reputation in Canada’s advancement community as a pacesetter and innovator that garners impressive results with a small team. Tom Meadus has forged this remarkable path and is most worthy of recognition as a 2016 CCAE Rising Star.