Citizens for the Advancement of Community Development (CACD), was founded by Ron and Sonia Cunningham, devoted Christians with a strong passion for humanity and who have dedicated their lives to the cause of helping the less fortunate and to make this world a better place for all. The couple believes that among the activities, services and supports deliverables offered by community agencies; the focus should be placed on employment, protection, recreation, education, and health promotion. Consequently, they have adopted the approach of Positive Youth Development (PYD) so as to build skills and competencies, foster healthy relationships so that youth are empowered to reach their full potential.
They further believe that services and supports are better able to satisfy the community’s needs and coordinate and provide the outreach services needed to ensure that the community as a whole can develop the skills, information and attitudes to increase their self-sufficiency in all areas of living.
Over the years, the couple has advocated for and led for social action, community building, and lending a helping hand to the less fortunate in multiple ways. Among a wide range of pertinent issues faced by the community, Ron and Sonia have expanded their vision to ensure that issues of poverty, inequality, diversity, social inclusion, multiculturalism, youth employment and education, youth violence, youth mental health, and at-risk youth, in general, are addressed.
Ron using his well-developed leadership and management skills, derived from his 20+years working in the Chief Accountant and Corporate Finance Divisions of the Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Banca Commerciale Italiana of Canada (BCI) and Royal Trust, a subsidiary of Royal Bank (RBC), to take CACD to the next level.
Further, the couple’s strong passion for social action and community building has won them great admiration, awards and recognition for their services. Ron was recognized by Mayor Hazel McCallion for his exemplary work in community development. In 2005, he was awarded a Peace Medallion by the YMCA of the GTA. Ron wrote a research paper, Impacting Peace-building and Development in Jamaica: Addressing Challenges and Opportunities Encountered by the Jamaican Diaspora, through the University of Peace, mandated by the United Nations. In 2010, Ron received the Ron Lenyk Crime Prevention Volunteer of the Year Award, 2011 Ontario Volunteer Services Award, 2012 Queen Diamond Jubilee Award for Community Service, 2014 Ontario Volunteer 10 years Services Award, 2015 City of Mississauga Civic Award of Recognition – 10 years of Community involvement, the 2017 Harry Jerome Community Service Award, and the Ontario Government’s Volunteer Service Award – 15 years. Sonia in no lesser degree has received her fair share of awards; including Civic awards of recognition from the City of Mississauga and the Ontario Government’s Volunteer Service Awards.