It is with sincerity and gratitude that Furniture Bank wishes our remarkable founder, Sister Anne Schenck, our warmest congratulations on receiving the Richard Alway Award from the University of St. Michael’s College at University of Toronto.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to society by an alumni member who demonstrates the highest character beyond reproach makes significant contribution to society through the pursuit of spiritual, professional and/or personal excellence and brings esteem to herself and honour to the College. Esteem and honour are assuredly deserved by Sister Anne. Her nominator, Stella Buck, describes her as “…a really good, but not sanctimonious person, she was a cheerful, sympathetic, hard working student who got along with anyone.” She has not only served her religious community as a teacher and high school principal but through her great works with Herron Place Refugee Centre and Furniture Bank, she has made a significant impact on the greater community of the GTA as a whole. After her retirement as an educator, she was led to invest her life in working with refugees at Herron Place Refugee Centre, assisting them to establish themselves in homes and with furniture and the unquestionable gap in this service led her to create and develop Furniture Bank in 1998. It was through her strength of character and tenaciousness that she gathered the support of community leaders and professionals to donate their time, their money, and any space and service that were at their disposal.

As Furniture Bank Director, Gerry Purcell puts it, “Sister Anne’s passion for the cause is infectious to all those around her. In the face of significant diversity, personal and financial risk, she has been the driving force of the Furniture Bank for over a decade. At this stage of its development, the organization has a need for additional strategic direction and management oversight, areas that I have some experience in. One meeting with Sister Anne and I was hooked!”

In her modest acceptance speech, Sister Anne quite typically credits her many valued contributions and successes to “the people that God put in front of her” and the generosity of the thousands of donors to Furniture Bank. It is this same humility that provokes the respect of her true selfless nature that has led her to receive honours and awards and for Sister Anne, the reward is always in the greater good achieved for others.