FamilyWORKS wins award to advance economic inclusion


Organization to explore collaboration opportunities with Inclusion Works
Camille Jensen

A collaboration venture between familyWorks and the Family Support Institute (FSI) has received $20,000 to increase the economic inclusion of people with disabilities.

FamilyWORKs won the financial award Feb 29, where it was one of four innovations invited to pitch its work to the Community Living Innovation Venture in a Dragons’ Den setting.

Kevin Lusignan, familyWORKs project co-ordinator and Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) senior manager of social and economic Inclusion, says it felt great to present familyWORKs as a successful model of inclusion that has the potential to scale across British Columbia.

Kevin Lusignan presents at The Pitch in 2012.

Founded in 2009, familyWORKs is a grassroots family-led organization that brings families together to engage and inform them on the possibilities of paid employment for their loved ones who have a disability. Kevin refers to the approach as a “parental epiphany,” that enables families to see their roles in a new light.

“The biggest barrier to employment for people with disabilities is the belief that they can’t work. Once people start to believe, things start to happen,” Kevin tells BACI Blast.

It’s a transformation Kevin has experienced first-hand. He says being part of familyWORKS helped his family start talking about employment around the breakfast table. This, in turn led to his family developing expectations around work, which Kevin says hadn’t been discussed before.

“I think once expectations are put on people they start to step up. Over the course of three years I’ve seen with my own eyes, my own children get better at it and actually become employed,” says Kevin.

It’s these types of success, familyWORKs hopes to seed across the province by working with FSI, which offers workshops and trained facilitators to help families learn about different approaches to achieving paid employment for people who have an intellectual disability.

The $20,000 prize did come with one string attached, that familyWORKs and FSI explore working with Inclusion Works, another venture that presented at The Pitch and is also working on employment opportunities for people who have a disability.

Kevin says it makes sense that the three similar organizations collaborate and build on their similarities to scale outcomes across the province. He says familyWORKs, FSI and Inclusion Works are planning to meet in the next several weeks to explore next steps and how they might work together.

The Community Living Innovation Venture awarded $100,000 to four ventures at The Pitch: familyWORKs, Can You Dig It?, Inclusion Works and an initiative between Powell River Association for Community Living and the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network.

The Venture, a partnership between Community Living British Columbia and 2010 Legacies Now, aims to develop sustainable solutions to advance the inclusion and belonging of people who have a disability by offering financial support and involving other funders, community organizations and business leaders.

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article please contact Camille at camille(at)


One Response to “FamilyWORKS wins award to advance economic inclusion”

  1. Results of the Venture Pitch « familyWORKs Says:

    […] out this story about the collaboration between FSI and familyWORKs in the BACI Blast that outlines the outcome of our pitch to the Venture. Like this:LikeBe the first […]

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