EMCN Rise Awards

EMCN Recognizing Immigrant Success in Edmonton (RISE) Awards



In 2003, the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) began the tradition of celebrating immigrants’ achievements to showcase that Edmonton is a better place to live because of immigrants.

The EMCN RISE Awards were created as a direct response to demonstrate all the positive aspects of immigrants and refugees as a way to dispel the negative concerns and misconceptions about immigrants stirred up in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States of America.

Newcomers form the foundation that supports a stronger and healthier community, therefore these awards have expanded to include the outstanding accomplishments of newcomers, immigrants, individuals, businesses, employers and local social service organizations in the Edmonton area who demonstrate outstanding commitments to creating a more welcoming and inclusive community for all and commendable service to building strong communities through social, cultural and economic development.

It is an inspirational and memorable evening enriched with culture, live musical performances, multicultural dinner buffet, and award presentations to our most distinguished community members.


We are so appreciative of the generous support of our sponsors and community. To get involved as an event sponsor for the EMCN RISE Awards, please contact Austin Ritchie directly at aritchie@emcn.ab.ca.

Follow the RISE Awards at @YEGnewcomers | #RISEAwards | 2023RISEAwards

2023 - call for nominations

The EMCN Rise Awards celebrates diversity, promotes inclusivity, and empowers the next generation of global and community leaders. You can nominate a business/organization or an individual for these awards.

2023 Business or Organization  

In the Business or Organization category, nominees: 

  • Must be a non-government organization/group or business 
  • Must have an affinity and focus on immigrants, refugees and newcomers to our city
  • Can only be eligible for one category 
  • Cannot self-nominate 
  • Cannot have previously received an EMCN RISE Award in this category 
  • Must agree to the nomination

For more information abut the awards categories and the nomination process, please contact risenominations@emcn.ab.ca or call 780-423-9510. 

2023 Individual or Group  

In the individual or group category, nominees: 

  • Must be born outside of Canada (immigrant)  
  • Cannot self-nominate  
  • Will only be considered for one award  
  • Cannot have been a previous recipient of the award
  • Must agree to the nomination

“Group” refers to a small grouping of individuals that is not a business or organization. For example, a musical group or band would be eligible for awards in this category.  

  1. Download PDF application form.
  2. Prepare submission:
    • Complete the PDF application form
    • Consider including supporting documents, such as:
      • A portfolio of work
      • Ads / promotions
      • Social media campaigns / posts
      • Photos
      • Articles – news, interviews, reports, etc.
      • Videos
      • Letters of support – maximum of three
      • Etc.
    • Application submissions must not be over 10 MB in size.
  3. Review your application to ensure all fields are completed prior to submission.
    • Changes to applications cannot be made once they have been submitted.
  4. Submit completed application and any supporting documents by June 22, 2023:
    • Online at emcn.ab.ca/RISE
    • By email to risenominations@emcn.ab.ca
    • Deliver to ‘EMCN RISE Awards Nominations’ at EMCN Central
      10170 112 ST NW – Edmonton, AB T5K 2L6
      c/o Laurie Hauer – Director of Programs and Services
  5. Nominators and Nominees will receive a confirmation of submission after the application has been received and verified.
  6. Direct nomination & award category inquiries to risenominations@emcn.ab.ca or call 780-423-9510.

Submit completed nomination using this short form.

Deadline for award nomination submissions is: June 22, 2023.
  1. The selection committee is an independent body from EMCN.

  2. Selection committee members are comprised of a diverse range of cultural, personal and professional backgrounds from the Edmonton area.

  3. All nominations are reviewed and shortlisted according to compliance with award submission criteria and adherence to submission deadline date.

  4. The selection committee reviews all shortlisted nominations (ie. the finalists) for each award category until finally one (1) recipient for each category who best meet the criteria is selected as the recipient.

  5. The selection committee reserves the right to place nominees in another award category if they deem the criteria satisfactory.

  6. Award nominees will be contacted once selections have been made.

  7. Each award recipient will be provided with two (2) complimentary tickets to the EMCN RISE Awards. Additional tickets will be available for purchase through the emcn.ab.ca/RISE webpage.

  8. Award recipients will be announced on the EMCN RISE Awards website.

2023 - award categories

This award was formerly the Community Leadership Award.

The Community Champion Award is prestigious recognition of an individual or group’s exceptional contributions to their community and their commitment to positively impacting the lives of those around them. 

The Community Champion demonstrates exceptional leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and innovations in its efforts to strengthen community awareness for newcomer equity. This can include volunteering time, energy, and resources towards a particular cause or organization, advocating for social justice and newcomer equality, or leading community-wide initiatives to improve the newcomer community’s well-being. 

Criteria for Community Champion Award

  • Impact: The nominee has made a significant positive impact on their community through their efforts, whether it be through volunteer work, advocacy, or community-based initiatives. 
  • Leadership: The nominee has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in their efforts to improve the newcomer community, such as bringing together diverse groups, mobilizing resources, or inspiring others to take action. 
  • Innovation: The nominee has demonstrated innovative thinking in their approach to addressing community challenges, whether it be through new programs, technologies, or strategies. 
  • Collaboration: The nominee has demonstrated a commitment to collaboration and teamwork, working with others to achieve common goals and build successful partnerships across newcomer sectors. 
  • Inclusivity: The nominee has demonstrated a commitment to inclusivity and equity in their work, promoting equity and social justice. 

Nominee submission must demonstrate the nominee’s understanding and passion towards addressing a community issue and the significant impact of their social contributions by sharing examples of their work with clear and measurable outcomes. Submissions may include references and supporting documents, such as a portfolio of work, pictures, articles, testimonials, videos, etc.  

This award was formerly called the Arts & Culture Award.

Arts have the power to transcend cultural boundaries and bring people from different backgrounds together. The EMCN RISE Artist of the Year Award recognizes the contributions of immigrant artists to the arts and music community and celebrates the diversity of artistic expression of newcomers. The award is bestowed upon an immigrant artist who has significantly impacted and enriched the cultural landscape of Edmonton.  

Criteria for the EMCN RISE Artist of the Year  

  • Body of work: The artist’s portfolio or body of work is a significant factor in determining their eligibility for the award. The artist’s works show innovation, creativity, and originality and demonstrate technical proficiency in their chosen art form. 
  • Impact on the arts community: The award may consider the artist’s contributions to Edmonton’s music and arts community, including their collaborations with other artists and organizations, involvement in cultural events, and ability to inspire and mentor emerging artists. 
  • Originality and uniqueness: The artist’s work demonstrates a unique voice, style, and approach to their art form that distinguishes them from others in their field.  
  • Advocacy for immigrant rights: The award may also recognize the artist’s advocacy for immigrant rights and their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the arts, which may include involvement in social justice and community-based initiatives that champion the rights and experiences of immigrants. 

The EMCN RISE Artist of the Year Award recognizes and celebrates the contributions of immigrant artists to the arts community while promoting diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

Nominee submissions are supported by testimonials and examples of their contributions/work and supporting bodies of work, articles, videos, pictures, media, links etc.  

The EMCN RISE Lifetime Achievement Award is an accolade given to an individual who immigrated to Edmonton and has made outstanding and significant contributions, achievements and long-lasting impacts toward fostering welcoming, inclusive and equitable communities for all.   

 Criteria for EMCN RISE Lifetime Achievement Award: 

  • Significance: The recipient’s work must have made a significant impact on the community and have a lasting influence on others. 
  • Life-long contributions: The recipient must have demonstrated excellence and innovation throughout their lifetime, not just in a particular project or achievement. 
  • Leadership: The recipient must have shown leadership and made a significant contribution to the advancement of inclusion through mentorship, advocacy, or other forms of support. 
  • Sustained excellence: The recipient must be a reputable and highly respected community member with a high degree of expertise in their specialization, resulting in tangible and measurable impacts in the community. 
  • Recognition: The recipient must have received recognition from their peers, community and/or professional organizations for their contributions and achievements. 

An EMCN RISE Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual’s significant and sustained contributions and celebrates their lasting impact and influence on their communities of at least 10 years.

The submission should be supported with at least three (3) cross-sector references and supporting documents with clear and measurable outcomes. Additional supporting documentation may include a portfolio of work, pictures, articles, videos etc.

An EMCN RISE Woman of the Year Award recognizes an immigrant woman’s exceptional achievements and contributions to her community, overcoming significant challenges unique to immigration, migration, settlement or resettlement while demonstrating exceptional leadership, dedication, and perseverance in her personal and professional life. 

Criteria for EMCN RISE Woman of the Year: 

  • Contribution to the community: The nominee has made a significant impact on her community, whether through volunteer work, advocacy, philanthropy, or innovations.
  • Professional achievement: The nominee has made outstanding contributions and achievements to her chosen profession, passion, community or cause. 
  • Overcoming adversity: The nominee has overcome significant challenges related to immigration or integration, such as language barriers, discrimination, or cultural differences. 
  • Leadership: The nominee demonstrates leadership qualities, such as the ability to inspire and motivate others, to innovate and think creatively, and to make a difference in the lives of those around her and the community. 
  • Personal qualities: The nominee possesses resilience, determination, empathy, and a commitment to helping others. 

The EMCN RISE Woman of the Year Award recognizes an immigrant woman who has contributed significantly to her community and has overcome significant challenges related to her immigration and integration. The award would celebrate immigrant women’s strength, resilience, and achievements and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Nominee submissions are supported by testimonials and examples of their contributions/work and supporting documents, articles, videos, pictures, media, links etc. 

This award was formerly called the Welcoming Workplace Award. 

The Equity in Action Award is outstanding recognition given to organizations or businesses committed to building a fully-inclusive environment reflective of the society it serves, where all colleagues can fulfill their potential. The award acknowledges those who have taken concrete steps to ensure that all employees, regardless of their background, are treated fairly and have equal access to opportunities, resources, and benefits. 

To be eligible for the Equity in Action Award, organizations or businesses must have implemented policies and practices that have significantly impacted creating an inclusive and equitable environment for their diverse workforce.

Some outcomes of equity in action may include: 

  • Representation or underrepresented groups at senior levels,  
  • Targeted career development interventions,  
  • Workplace activities that build cultural awareness and understanding, and advocacy across the workplace,  
  • Equal pay and benefits,  
  • Implemented inclusive recruitment and advancement practices, and  
  • An employee-reported culture of inclusivity and belonging.  

 Criteria for Equity in Action Award

  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting equity, inclusion, diversity, and justice in their business or organization. 
  • Innovative and impactful approaches have resulted in measurable positive changes for underrepresented, marginalized, and racialized groups, such as newcomers.  
  • Advocacy for and promotion of policies and practices that promote equity and inclusion. 
  • Collaboration: Successful engagement with stakeholders and community members from diverse backgrounds to address equity and social justice issues. 
  • Evidence of sustained efforts and contributions towards promoting equity and inclusion over time. 

The submission demonstrates and evidences an appreciation towards immigrants’ skills, experience and workplace contribution with clear and measurable outcomes.

Submissions may include three (3) employee references and supporting documents, such as a portfolio of work, pictures, articles, testimonials, Google/Glassdoor reviews, videos etc. 

This award was formerly called the Building Futures Award. 

The Ethnocultural Award:

  • Recognizes the gift of diversity and the contributions of different cultural communities to our city and society.
  • Promotes respect and appreciation for all cultures and encourages businesses and organizations/groups to work towards embracing and promoting inclusive communities. 
  • Is given to a business, organization or group that has significantly fostered and promoted a warm, welcoming, and inclusive community for all. Nominees are evaluated based on their collective efforts and achievements in promoting intercultural understanding, fostering inclusivity, and preserving their community’s cultural identity and heritage. 

Criteria for Ethnocultural Award

  • Ethnic or cultural heritage: A business, organization or group that can demonstrate a strong connection to a particular ethnic or cultural community.
  • Contributions to the community: A business, organization or group that has significantly contributed to their or an ethnocultural community through cultural, social, educational, or other initiatives.
  • Impact: A business, organization or group whose work or activities have had a significant impact on their ethnocultural community, either locally, nationally, or internationally.
  • Diversity and inclusion: A business, organization or group that has promoted diversity and inclusion within their ethnocultural community or society.
  • Collaboration: A business, organization or group that actively collaborates with other businesses, organizations or groups to advance inclusion, appreciation and awareness.  

Nomination submission demonstrates contributions above and beyond standard settlement and integration practices, with clear and measurable outcomes.

Supporting documents, such as a portfolio of work, promotions, social media campaigns, pictures, articles, videos, etc., are highly encouraged. The nominee’s work is reputable and highly regarded in the community.  

The LGBTQIA+ Equity Award is an honour bestowed upon an individual or organization that has demonstrated exceptional leadership and advocacy in support of equal rights, protection, and the well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community in Edmonton and has inspired others to join the fight for equality and inclusion. 

Recipients of this award may have: 

  • Fought for equal rights and protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals, such as marriage equality, anti-discrimination laws, and healthcare access. 
  • Raised awareness and promoted education on issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community, including gender and sexual identity, mental health, and intersectionality. 
  • Led or contributed to developing and implementing policies or programs that support the LGBTQIA+ community, such as youth outreach, community building, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. 
  • Worked to create safe spaces and provide support for LGBTQIA+ individuals who have experienced discrimination, harassment, or violence. 

Criteria for LGBTQIA+ Equity Award

  • Demonstrated Leadership: Demonstrates exceptional leadership in promoting LGBTQIA+ rights and well-being through work or activities. 
  • Advocacy: The nominee has made significant contributions to advocacy efforts for the LGBTQIA+ community, including but not limited to legislative advocacy, policy advocacy, or community advocacy. 
  • Impact: The nominee has made a positive impact in advancing the rights and well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community through their work or advocacy efforts. 
  • Inclusivity: The nominee has demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community and has worked to create safe and supportive environments for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
  • Innovation: The nominee has developed or implemented innovative approaches or strategies to promote LGBTQIA+ rights and well-being, which have resulted in positive outcomes for the community. 
  • Dedication: The nominee has demonstrated a sustained and dedicated commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community over an extended period of time. 
  • Collaboration: The nominee has demonstrated a willingness to collaborate with other organizations or individuals to advance LGBTQIA+ rights and well-being and should have worked to build coalitions and partnerships that strengthen the community. 

The nomination submission reflects a commitment to advancing the rights and well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The submission identifies the social contributions to this work with clear and measurable outcomes through testimonials and examples of their contributions/work and supporting documents, articles, videos, pictures, media, links etc. 

The Rising Star Youth Award for immigrant youth is an accolade that recognizes:

  • The achievements and potential of young immigrants who have demonstrated exceptional talent, dedication, and resilience in their personal, academic, and/or professional pursuits.
  • An immigrant youth who has excelled in various fields such as academics, arts, sports, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, community service, or activism.  

Criteria for the Rising Star Youth Award  

  • Demonstrated excellence: The nominee has demonstrated exceptional talent, skills, or achievements in their chosen field or activity. This may include academic performance, artistic talent, athletic ability, philanthropy, community service, or leadership skills. 
  • Overcoming adversity: The nominee may have faced significant challenges or obstacles, such as discrimination, poverty, language barriers, or family separation due to immigration, and have demonstrated resilience, determination, and perseverance in overcoming these challenges. 
  • Impact on the community: The nominee has made a positive impact on their community, whether through volunteering, mentoring, activism, entrepreneurship, or other means, and has shown a commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusivity. 
  • Leadership potential: The nominee has demonstrated the potential to become a future leader, role model, or change-maker in their community or field and has a clear vision for their future and a plan to achieve their goals. 
  • Immigration status: The nominee should be an immigrant or a child of immigrants or refugees who came to Canada for a better life. They demonstrate a strong connection to their cultural heritage and an appreciation for the community’s diversity. 

The Rising Star Youth Award identifies and celebrates young immigrants between the ages of 13 – 25 years old who have demonstrated excellence, resilience, and leadership potential and who inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Nominee submissions are supported by examples of their contributions/work and supporting documents with clear and measurable outcomes, articles, videos, pictures, media, links etc.  


Check past EMCN RISE Awards events, recipients, videos, photos and more.

EMCN Central Office