Gregg Bamford, a sales rep with Re/Max Saskatoon East in Saskatoon, is the 2021 recipient of the Canadian Realtors Care Award. He was selected from a group of 73 Realtors from across Canada who were nominated for this year’s award.

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Bamford’s volunteering began in the early 2000s, when he got involved with a local after-school program and started coaching for the Kinsmen Inner City Hockey League. “I’ve always believed that every child deserves an opportunity,” he says, “so my passion revolves around programs that centre around children.”

Bamford went on to organize numerous large-scale charity initiatives. He created WakeRide, a three-day wakeboarding festival in Victoria Park that raised $150,000 for local charities supporting inner-city youth. He created Sask Country Showcase, an intimate singer-songwriter event that connected attendees with some of the biggest names in Saskatchewan music, which benefitted Haven Family Connections, an organization for which he is currently the board chair. He also transformed a small Christmas hamper program into Operation Santa, a grassroots initiative that has provided gifts to more than 2,000 underprivileged children over the past 10 years. Not only does Bamford help source donations for this cause, but he also personally delivers holiday joy to the families it serves, dressed as Santa Claus.

In 2018, Bamford participated in the 36-hour Sanctum Survivor Challenge and walked in the shoes of people experiencing homelessness in his community. Throughout his 36-hour journey, Bamford says he was shocked to learn just how many critical services are provided by local non-profits. Following the challenge, he came up with the idea of creating a website to connect his community with information about non-profits, their programs and their real-time needs. He joined forces with his Sanctum Challenge partner Alice Kuipers to bring this vision to life.

Informed by extensive consultations with non-profits, Indigenous leaders, local politicians, website designers, donors and more, they created OneSmallStepSK.ca.

“Executive directors have told us that it just makes it much easier for them to be able to quickly update and share their needs with the general public so that they can get on with the work that they need to do,” says Kuipers.

The online platform started with 12 organizations, and since then more than 50 organizations have reached out to be included. Bamford “spent endless hours talking to non-profits about what they did, talking to them about One Small Step, working with them so that it’s something that would be easy for them to use, and that’s so appreciated,” says Dionne Miazdyck-Shield, executive director of Haven Family Connections.

Getting One Small Step operational in Saskatoon is only the beginning, as Bamford envisions nationwide impact for the online platform: “The idea is building this out as a template to be able to be shared with other cities in our province and then across the country but making sure we got it right in Saskatoon from the very beginning.”

CREA will donate $5,000 to Haven Family Connections in Bamford’s honour.

The official name of the award is the Canadian Realtors Care Award 2021 Proudly Presented by Realtor.ca. REM is the media sponsor of the award.

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