Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Betty Hope-Gittens at the start of the City Council meeting today, in honour of her of outstanding volunteerism and philanthropy.

Ms. Hope-Gittens has been giving back to her community for 35 years, through her church and through various fundraising and volunteer efforts. Ms. Hope-Gittens has been an avid walker for most of her life. This year, at 80 years old, she decided to channel both her physical and spiritual practices into fundraising.

This spring, Ms. Hope-Gittens walked the 800 km-kilometre Camino de Santiago trail in Spain to raise $130,000 for the Eldercare Foundation. She sought to raise $10,000 for each of the 13 not-for-profit, long-term care facilities in Ottawa that the Eldercare Foundation has been supporting for more than a decade. In the end, she raised more than $200,000 and was able to donate some of those funds to a long-term care facility in her home country of Barbados.

Ms. Hope-Gittens is a board member of the Eldercare Foundation, and is a former director of Ethiopiaid Canada. She has worked with Help the Aged and is a fundraising co-chair for the Ottawa Hospital’s Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre.

The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour, created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.

The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.