Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 18, 2007
CSS honours McDaniel's lifelong contribution
A place was always made for the special Soul
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
For her social, philanthropic and humanitarian vision and leadership, Joan McDaniel was presented with the Msgr. Bill Irwin Award of Excellence during Catholic Social Services' annual general meeting June 6.
McDaniel, along with her late husband Francis, has been instrumental in improving the quality of life for disadvantaged people in Edmonton.
In presenting the award, Father Mike McCaffery described McDaniel as "an exceptionally generous and humble woman who shuns attention and accolades."
McCaffery said she is a Catholic of impeccable integrity and steadfast faith, with a gentle and loving spirit.
"She is a visionary leader whose keen intellect, strong faith, tenacity and exceptional interpersonal skills have enabled her to attain success in all she has undertaken in the service of God, her family, her Church and her community."
The award is given to an organization or individual who made an exceptional contribution to the well being of the community or who has demonstrated the highest standards of excellence in a human service field.
A life-long Edmontonian, McDaniel said, "This award also gives me the opportunity to celebrate the commitment of all those front-line workers whose magnificent work has been from their heart and soul."
Following Francis' untimely death in 1976, McDaniel raised their 10 children, while continuing to run the group of Alberta-based, inter-related companies she and Francis co-founded.
The businesses were involved in the construction, residential property management and tourism industries. The companies were unique in that they accommodated people with special needs.
McDaniel has actively served the Edmonton Archdiocese in a number of roles, including chairperson of the archdiocese's financial committee, board member of the Edmonton General and Misericordia Hospitals and a member of the board of governors of St. Joseph's University College.
In 1997, she formed the McDaniel Family Foundation, which has dispersed millions of dollars to many charitable organizations.
With a $500,000 gift to CSS, the foundation was instrumental in the construction of McDaniel Manor, a spacious housing initiative that opened a year ago across from the old Franciscan friary. The 4,500-square-foot, barrier-free bungalow provides a home for frail seniors with severe physical and developmental disabilities.
McDaniel was instrumental in the development and funding of CSS pilot programs for the prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, including CSS's First Steps, Coaching Families and Step by Step programs.