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 Aitken (MA, Gender Studies) is a fierce advocate for 2SLGBTQ communities across Canada. With over a decade of experience working and volunteering in the NGO sector, Cameron has travelled across Canada presenting workshops on Queer history with the CCGSD. He is also an HR specialist, with over five years of running summer jobs programs through the Canada Summer Jobs program, Young Canada Works, and through the Youth Employment Skills Strategy. Cameron has served on the Lambda Board of Directors since 2018.
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.
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.
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.
Director of the Board
Brandi Trudell- Davis is the founder/owner of River Roots and Rocks Wellness Development Services Inc. She is a registered nurse of 15 years and has been directly involved in Indigenous Health for the previous 10 years. The previous 5 years service has focused on Senior Leadership and Regional Planning. Brandi served several months on the Board of Directors for Nisga’a Valley Health authority prior to filling the position of CEO.
Throughout her career, Ms. Trudell-Davis has been an active advocate for equitable and accessible health care services for BC Indigenous communities in partnership with Northern Health, First Nations Health Authority, the Ministry of Health and Indigenous partners. members ship with the North West Primary Care Network.
In the early 2000’s as a remote Practice Nurse, Brandi was adopted into the house of the Nisga’a Sim’oogit; Hymaas and has been an active member of the Nation since. She found the love of her life in the small community of Laxgalts’ap and hasn’t looked back. She lives on 12 acres in the rural outskirts of Terrace, BC with her husband and 2 of the younger children.
She looks forward to serving on the Board of Directors for the Lambda Foundation and looks forward to supporting the organisation to increase access to education for those Lambda serves.
Director of the Board
Ayse Turak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at Concordia University, and adjunct Associate Professor in Engineering Physics and the School of Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University. She has a long-standing interest in social justice, gender and sexual equality. Her experiences at Pride Toronto, as co-chair (2002-2004), as the volunteer coordinator (2001), and on the board (2001-2005), have given her broad exposure to our diverse queer communities. She has also sat on the board of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (2013-2016), the Dec 6th fund, and OPIRG –Kingston. Some highlights of her volunteer activities have included the City of Toronto Human Rights Award Advisory Committee, McMaster University Women in Engineering committee, Academic Women’s Success and Mentorship committee (founding member), UofT Faculty of Engineering Committee on Community Affairs and Gender Issues, Queen’s University Engineering Society Equality Issues committee, and the Reel Out Film Festival (founding member). As a member of multiple equity seeking groups, she champions colleagues and students from under-represented communities, and celebrates their success, through her service in a variety of roles. She integrates equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in her teaching philosophy to achieve excellence in the pedagogy of science.
Director of the Board
Erfan is a licensed lawyer in Ontario who practices law on a pro bono basis through Pro Bono Ontario. He brings a wealth of experience in regulatory matters, with a special focus on financial regulation and capital markets.
Before his appointment as a Board of Director at the Lambda Foundation, Erfan served as the Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at FSRA and as the Chair for the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Group at the Ontario Bar Association.
Erfan earned his Master of Laws degree in International Business Law from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Beyond his professional achievements, he is an avid human rights advocate, having collaborated with Amnesty International in Australia and participated in various human rights tribunal cases in both Ontario and Alberta.
A global citizen, Erfan has lived and worked in diverse regions, including Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America. Outside of his professional life, he indulges his passion for travel, food, and cultural history
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.
Mila Markovic is a graduate from Carleton University, where she completed a Bachelors degree with Honours in Communication and Media Studies while also obtaining a minor in Business. Having previously worked for Lambda as a communications summer student in 2023, Mila insisted on wanting to continue supporting Lambda’s communication strategies by taking on the role as a volunteer. She comes to Lambda with experience working in the non-profit sector previously at United Way East Ontario (UWEO) as a communications summer student.