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About the Donner Awards

“This independent certification of our value and quality business practices … has priceless public relations value. Thank you for this exceptional recognition program and valuing the contributions of non-profit organizations to Canadian society.”

Sandy Johnson, Executive Director, Hospice Saint John & Sussex

The Donner Awards Program is Canada's largest and most prestigious non-profit recognition program. It has three main goals:

  1. To recognize and reward excellence in social service provision by Canadian non-profit organizations.
  2. To assist non-profits in their pursuit of excellence by providing them with important performance information.
  3. To raise public awareness about their important contribution to Canadian civil society.

The Donner Awards Program serves to encourage the spirit of initiative and independence, and represents an important step forward in the development of an objective, quantifiable system for measuring non-profit performance.


A total of $60,000 is available to be won. Seven awards,
valued at $5,000 each, are presented in the following categories:

  1. Counselling Services / Crisis Intervention

  2. Education

  3. Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse

  4. Provision of Basic Necessities

  5. Services for Children

  6. Services for People with Disabilities

  7. Services for Seniors 

The prestigious William H. Donner Award for Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services, valued at $20,000, is presented to the organization that exhibits the highest level of excellence among the category award recipients in its delivery of social services. 

In addition, the $5,000 Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit Management, launched in 2004, is presented to a non-profit organization whose consistent record of excellence and innovation in management and service delivery reflects the philosophy of Peter F. Drucker, the founding father of the study of modern management.


The Donner Awards Program helps Canadians make wise giving decisions by establishing clear and objective criteria for measuring the performance of non-profits relative to their peers. Finalists are permitted to use the Donner Awards Program logo to communicate to donors, members, and volunteers that their organization has demonstrated excellence in non-profit management and social service delivery.


The Fraser Institute administers the awards program on behalf of the Donner Canadian Foundation. William H. Donner established the Donner Canadian Foundation in 1950. It is now one of Canada's largest, and oldest, private foundations dedicated to supporting projects that emphasize self-reliance, individual initiative and independence.

The Fraser Institute developed the evaluation protocol in 1997 with input from the Canadian Cancer Society (BC & Yukon Division), the Trillium Foundation, and Family Services Canada.

The first annual awards were launched in 1998. By rewarding excellence, and encouraging best practices and greater accountability, the long-term goal of the Donner Awards Program is to increase public confidence and support for Canada's non-profit sector.

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The Donner Awards are a program of The Fraser Institute