Anne Stafford Light Up the Future Bursary

The Anne Stafford Light Up the Future Bursary 2024 is open to all residents of Ontario aged 18 years and older who identify as having an intellectual disability, to help in their pursuit of an educational program or personal interest course or activity. 

Applications are now open for the 2024 bursary. Application forms are available online here:

Application Form

All applicants will be notified about the bursary via email once the committee has completed reviewing all submissions.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, April 26th at 5:00pm EDT.

Thank you for applying and good luck!

About Anne Stafford


Anne Stafford, pictured in front row, white hat and white dress.

An advocate, former employee, and former Manager of Community Living Ontario, Anne carried out her duties with love, compassion and leadership that none could rival. For close to 30 years, one of her greatest passions was helping people who live with an intellectual disability and their families to live their best lives. Anne travelled the province and had an extraordinary impact on families, their children, and many other people throughout Ontario and Canada.  

 Anne committed herself to helping older people become valued members of their neighbourhoods and communities. She was instrumental in pushing the government of the 1970s and 1980s to establish a program known as “Special Services at Home” that supported families and their children to live at home and not be sent to institutions. Her drive and mentorship assisted many families in becoming leaders in the disability movement. She decided later in life that she wanted to be called “Annie” and continued to maintain the many friendships she developed before her retirement. 


Community Living Ontario assists people who have an intellectual disability and their families to lead the way in advancing inclusion in their own lives and in their neighbourhoods and communities.  

It is Community Living Ontario’s intent, as is the Light Up the Future Bursary’s intent, to help people in the most individualized and positive way. 

Activities funded by the Light Up the Future Bursary must be consistent with promoting the above vision and purpose. 

Background & Purpose

When Anne retired from Community Living Ontario, rather than accept a retirement gift, she started the Light Up the Future Bursary to assist people with pursuing personal development opportunities to reach their dreams of participating in all elements of daily community life. 

Since starting in 1993, the Bursary has assisted over 360 people in working toward their goals. 


The Bursary is open to all residents of Ontario aged 18 years and older who identify as having an intellectual disability. The Bursary awards an amount of up to $1000 to help people pursue an educational program or personal interest course or activity to help achieve a goal. 

An application must be made to the Bursary Review Team, outlining their goal and what the money will be used for. The Team will review all applications and decisions will be made on the suitability of the request and the financial resources available. All decisions will be final. 

2023 Recipients

Claire Adams   
Iglal Al-Aizari 
Franklin Carwardine
Cynthia Cortese 
Nikolas Craggs 
Irene Diamantorous 
David Ethier 
Crystal Fluker
Thomas Fraboni 
Adam Frandsen
Sara Grant
Tyler Guibao
Brooke-Lyn Hogel

Brenda Kiss
Justin Lam 
Joseph MacLeod 
Natasha Martin
Tyler Meyer 
Damien Miotto
Davide Morando 
Lillian Murphy  
Abigail Obukuru 
Kayla Oliver 
Ava Parent
Parisa Pezeshki

Liam Pickells 
Dimitri Schaaf 
Darrio Schauer 
Steven Smith 
Rebecca Strickland 
Patrick Szamra
Corbin Szymczak 
Joshua Thompson 
Maude Turner
Janice Wu 
Brianna Yates
Sela Yazejian

Light Up The Future Bursary Recipient: Sam's Story

For many students across Ontario, a new world filled with opportunities and interests opens up when they attend college or university. The learning, collaboration, and social interactions with peers are all critical as a young person transitions into adulthood. Post-secondary education has become increasingly important when obtaining employment and a decent standard of living.

Sam Forbes wanted the same opportunities, and thanks to Community Living Ontario’s Anne Stafford Light Up the Future Bursary, his college experience has taken off.

As a young man with autism, Sam didn’t imagine that post-secondary education was a possibility until he was nominated for the bursary. More than a financial award, the scholarship was a recognition that other people believed in him.

With a new-found confidence, Sam enrolled at Humber College this past September, and he walked through the doors as a student of the Community Integration through Co-operative Education program. Designed to provide adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities with the opportunity to experience college life, the program fosters and promotes experiential and transformative learning.

Sam’s classes are helping to advance not only his life skills and goals but also his advocacy work.

“Taking the Introduction to Developmental Social Worker course has taught me a lot about other conditions that I didn’t know about,” he explained, “and it gave me great information on how to approach people and care for people in a really good way.”

As an active advocate for inclusion, Sam also talks enthusiastically about the importance of treating people equally wherever he goes.

Anne Stafford started the Light Up the Future Bursary in 1993 when she retired from Community Living Ontario. After 30 years of tirelessly working to create a more inclusive province, Anne’s bursary was intended to provide opportunities that would support people who have an intellectual disability to pursue professional development through either an educational program or a personal interest course.

Since then, more than 325 people who have an intellectual disability have received the bursary. It has created exciting possibilities and enabled people to gain the skills and confidence they need to seek out their goals.

As the demand for the Anne Stafford Light Up the Future Bursary far exceeds our capacity, we urgently need your support to grow this fund to help young people pursue a passion that leads to a more full and inclusive life within their community— just like Sam! Please donate today.

All online donations will receive an automatic tax receipt.