The Gerry Bloomfield Awards

Gerry Bloomfield was a founding member of OSAC (Ontario Society for Autistic Children), which later became Autism Ontario. Recipients of these prestigious awards are elected by Autism Ontario’s Board of Directors and presented as a tribute to honour Gerry’s outstanding contributions to Autism Ontario and autism.   

Professional Award 

The Gerry Bloomfield Professional Award is awarded to an individual or group of individuals  who have made outstanding professional contributions to the field of autism or to Autism Ontario. Award recipients have made significant efforts to improving the quality of life for autistic people through:

  • Improving programs

  • Conducting research, and/or

  • Establishing guidelines and policies

Past Award Recipients

2022 The Canadian Journal of Autism Equity - Editorial Board
2021 Senator Jim Munson
2020 Brendon Pooran and David Baker
2019 Geetha Moorthy
2018 The Ontario Autism Program Advisory Committee (Combined)  
2017 Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou    
2016 Suzanne Murphy    
2015 Dr. Stephen Scherer    
2014 Layne Verbeek    
2013 The Toronto Star    
2012 Dr. Wendy Roberts    
2011 Ethel Berry    
2010 Kathleen Wynne    
2009 Jeff Dobbin    
2008 Leslie Broun

2006 Rick Ludkin/Woodview Manor  
2005 National Service Dogs - Chris Fowler, Heather Fowler, Danielle Forbes    
2004 Shelley Martel    
2003 Denise Rybuck    
2002 Bill Elleker & Parentbooks Staff    
2001 Jennifer Cantello Daw    
2000 Sheila Bell    
1997 Dr. Jeanette Holden    
1996 Carrie Augustine    
1995 Dr. Joseph Huggins    
1994 Catherine Hanna    
1993 Dr. Peter Szatmari, Susan Honeyman    
1992 Martha Leary    
1991 Dr. Susan Bryson

Volunteer Award 

The Gerry Bloomfield Volunteer Award is awarded to an individual or group of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to Autism Ontario. Recipients are past or present members of Autism Ontario and have demonstrated integrity, commitment and loyalty to the mission and vision of Autism Ontario over a sustained period. These volunteers have been elected by the Board of Directors for their outstanding volunteer service that has contributed to improving the quality of life for autistic people through:

  • Promoting public awareness and understanding
  • Advocating on behalf of Autism Ontario
  • Supporting the families and communities through outstanding work at the Regional level

Past Award Recipients 

2022 Suzanne Jacobson
2021 Ken Robertson
2020 Connie Putterman
2019 Courtney Douglas
2018 The Ontario Autism Program Advisory Committee (Combined)
2017 Dr. Glenn Rampton
2016 McCreary Family
2015 Patricia O'Connor
2014 Laurie Pearce
2013 Robert Hart
2012 Howard Weinroth
2011 Jon Duerdoth
2010 Christine Dade
2009 Barry Goman & Suzanne Senst

2007 Kerry Flynn
2006 Chuck Learn
2005 Patricia Gallin
2004 Cycle for Autism Team
2003 Kathryn Everest, Maria Harrison
2002 Ron Harrison, Bonnie McPhail
2001 Lillian & Eddy Lloyd
2000 Karen McKay
1997 Claudio & Michelle Del Duca
1996 Arthur & Rhonda Shlanger, Natalie Whatley
1995 Awad Family 
1994 Rain Family
1993 Don Dalton
1992 Claire Zeijdel
1991 Eleanor Ritchie

The David Conforti - Reach for the Stars Award
Logo for the David Conforti Reach for the Stars Award with a blue and orange star


David Conforti was a remarkable and caring young man who made a difference in his community and inspired others through his volunteer work in York Region, Ontario. His family has described him as someone who never thought of his autism as a barrier throughout his life; to him, autism is “a difference that makes us who we are.” David’s contributions directly challenged stereotypes associated with autism as he became a confident self-advocate, even reaching out to encourage other peers to work through their anxieties about getting involved and connecting to others whenever possible. He was recognized by the broader community for his academic and volunteer efforts when he became a recipient of Autism Ontario’s Eleanor Ritchie Post-Secondary Education Scholarship.

David's eagerness and enthusiasm in academia with the Voices of Youths research project provided insight on quality of life and inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. His volunteerism and community building brought awareness that "belonging really does matter," people with disabilities have important and intelligent things to say and do and can contribute to society. David aimed to redefine autism by; coaching soccer to people with disabilities, through his public speaking, and by reaching out to parents of autistic children so they could see their own children beyond the prognosis.

In order to recognize the importance that volunteering had on David’s life, and to further encourage and recognize volunteerism with community impact among other autistic people, his family, in collaboration with Autism Ontario, created The David Conforti - Reach for the Stars Award, as a lasting tribute and in memory of David Conforti’s life.

Applications open in the spring for this annual award and close mid June. If you have questions or are interested in applying, please contact 

Past Award Recipients

2022 Ashley H

2021 Joshua Evangelista

2020 Laura Steiner