Azrieli Foundation launches $100,000 prize to advance Canada's neurodiverse workforce
TORONTO, March 22, 2023 /CNW/ - The Azrieli Foundation today announced its $100,000 INfinity Prize, the first competitive award to recognize Canadian social enterprises that employ people who are neurodivergent.
"The prize aims to increase the rate of employment and ensure meaningful and equitable career opportunities for neurodivergent adults," said Naomi Azrieli, OC, D.Phil, Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation. "Hiring neurodivergent people can help ease recurring labour shortages, contribute to economic growth and enable hundreds of thousands of Canadians to lead more joyful and fulfilling lives."
The INfinity Prize is open to small- or mid-sized social enterprises in Canada that prioritize the needs of neurodivergent employees by giving them career development opportunities in the competitive labour market, providing them with fair wages and benefits, and placing them at the centre of decision-making.
In addition to the cash award, the prize winner will receive up to two years of professional coaching and support from the Azrieli Foundation.
Of the 6.2 million working-aged people in Canada with a disability, only 59% are employed, compared to 80% of those without a disability. And for neurodivergent adults, the employment rate drops to a mere 26%. The Azrieli Foundation hopes to change that statistic with the launch of the INfinity Prize.
"I believe this initiative will increase awareness about the importance of inclusive employment," said Azrieli. "It will lead to a shift away from implicit bias, hidden prejudices and discrimination against neurodivergent people."
The winner of the INfinity Prize will be selected by an independent panel of judges with extensive expertise and lived experience. The highlight of the selection process will take place in October at a gala during which the judges will choose the winner after the three finalists make their case in an interactive "elevator pitch."
More information about the INfinity Prize, including application details, can be found online at azrielifoundation.org/infinityprize.
With a firm belief that everyone has a contribution to make, the Azrieli Foundation has been opening doors, breaking ground, and nurturing networks for more than 30 years. The Foundation – the largest non-corporate foundation in Canada – funds institutions and operates programs in Canada and Israel.
The Azrieli Foundation is offering media the opportunity to speak with Naomi Azrieli about the INfinity Prize over Zoom on March 22, 2023, at 10:30 a.m.
SOURCE Azrieli Foundation
View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2023/22/c2654.html