About the Foundation
The Lambda Scholarship Foundation was created during an era of struggle, resistance, and hope.
The Lambda Scholarship Foundation seeks to advance ARTS, Social Sciences, and STEM research pertaining to Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, plus (2SLGBTQ+) and queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, people of colour (QTBIPOC) communities.
Our goal is to increase the number of Lambda Awards across the country, strengthen existing ones, and establish new awards for marginalized youth conducting research, organizing and mobilizing to combat systemic oppression and discrimination.
As an entirely volunteer-run organization, our efforts to support education of this kind have been the legacy of volunteer organizers, activists and donors. Lambda continues to seek out this kind of enthusiastic engagement today.
We endeavour to draw public attention to our award recipients as community members with valuable knowledge and critical perspectives, highlighting them as students who are actively and collaborative seeking to transform society at local, national and international levels.
Lambda Scholarship Foundation funds are managed on behalf of our donors according to specific agreements with each participating university and high school. Lambda continues to organize itself around volunteers’ expertise in order to keep administrative costs low and ensure that any money raised to start or support a specific award goes directly to it.
The Lambda Scholarship Foundation started as a club called the Lambda Business and Professional Group in 1985 where gay and lesbian entrepreneurs and professionals met to network and socialize. At monthly meetings, members were asked to donate money for causes related to the gay and lesbian community in Ottawa.
As the membership and knowledge of the club’s existence grew, the organizers decided to reconceptualise the organization into the Lambda Foundation for Excellence in 1992, aimed at showcasing the queer community’s achievements in social and political arenas.
The Lambda Foundation for Excellence changed its name again in 2003 when it acquired charitable status as the Lambda Literary and Scholarship Foundation. Wilde About Sappho, the new scholarship foundation’s literary fundraiser, became one of Canada’s most popular queer literary activities. In 2014, the foundation changed its name yet again to its current title, the Lambda Scholarship Foundation after a government directive asking charitable foundations to re-apply for status and to ensure differentiation from other notable organizations, such as the Lambda Literary group in the United States.
The records of the Lambda Scholarship Foundation’s history have been deposited at the City of Ottawa Municipal Archives.
Board of Directors
Cameron G. Aitken
Cameron hails from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and moved to Ottawa in 2012 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Communication Studies and Sociology from Carleton University.
He is an intrepid volunteer (having worked with Sault Pridefest, the Superior Heights GSA, the Sault Comedy Guild, and the CEU LGBT Club) and a former Educator with with the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity. He is looking forward to his time with Lambda and supporting LGBTQ2+ research in Canadian academia.
Tuan Vu is an associate actuary and a consultant in information system implementation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Master’s in Mathematics from the University of New Brunswick; and a MBA from McGill University. He has worked in diverse industries including banking, insurance, hydroelectric utility, manufacturing, high tech, and public sector organizations.
Dr. Michael Graydon is an assistant professor of Sociology at Algoma University. After working in the area of HIV prevention education at the community, provincial & federal levels for most of the 1990s, Michael returned to university to complete his undergraduate & graduate work at Carleton University in Ottawa. With his dissertation research Michael continued to consider queer community, completing an analysis & social history of the Gays of Ottawa organization 1971-1985. His ongoing interests include, social movements, community, masculinity, sexuality, and varied social histories.
Director of the Board
Sara Bannerman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University. She was a volunteer on the education committee for the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity in 2017-2018. As a graduate student, she ran a Queer Grad Students’ Group in Ottawa from 2004-2009. Leading up to 2005, she took part in the activities of Canadians for Equal Marriage, and prior to that, she hosted and produced a weekly queer radio program called ‘Queer Street’ at Queen’s University between 1995 and 1998. She also founded and organized the Queen’s University’s Coming Out Discussion Group between 1996 and 1998, and served on the board of Queen’s University’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Association around the same time. Her academic research focuses on platform governance, privacy, and international copyright.
Director of the Board
Avelia Stewart (she/her) is currently the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Lead at Western Financial Group. As the D&I Lead at Western Financial Group, she is responsible for guiding Western’s multi-year diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. She has over 13 years of achievements and a proven track record in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, human resources strategy design, talent acquisition, training and development, and corporate communications. Avelia earned her M.A. in Communications & Culture and her B.A.in Journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Throughout her career she has been intentional about creating opportunities for more diverse representation and inclusion.
Director of the Board
Arena (she/her) is a white, queer femme settler currently living in the unceded territory of Mi’kma’ki. She has a background in peer support, facilitation and resource development, having spent her teens volunteering with the LGBT Youthline and Planned Parenthood Toronto. She is particularly interested in housing justice, sex workers’ rights, and the intersections between identity and mental health.
Director of the Board
Calla is a doctoral candidate and part-time Professor in Political Science, with specific expertise in International Relations, International Development and Governance. She has an extensive history working and volunteering in non-profit governance settings. Most recently, she served 4.5 years as Board President of CCGSD. Calla is a single parent, a proud bisexual ciswoman and lives with an invisible disability. She loves to learn and is excited to participate as a Board Member with Lambda to do exactly that: learn. She hopes that she will be able to be an asset to Lambda as well by providing her professional and personal knowledge and experience.
Jefferson Morris IV
Jefferson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Sociology, and Sexual Diversity Studies from McGill University. He attended the University of Glasgow graduating with honours with a Master of Science in Equality & Human Rights. He is passionate about social justice, (multicultural) feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, sexual health, education, youth empowerment, and sexual and gender diversity.