The Metcalf Innovation Fellowship program provides critical thinkers with opportunities to address complex ecological, social, economic, and cultural issues. We are interested in the exploration of ideas that challenge the root causes of unsustainable practices related to topics such as labour market inequalities, conditions of climate change, or resource scarcity within the cultural landscape. We want to support new approaches that make us reconsider the ways in which society sets priorities.
The Innovation Fellowship provides creative individuals, who have passion and intellectual rigour for their issue, with the freedom to be able to ask hard questions and propose innovative and practical ideas, models, and practices. We want to create opportunities for fresh thinking and meaningful research to be conducted, disseminated, and heard. This work helps the Foundation advance policy thinking and open conversations to a wider community. It also informs and strengthens our various granting programs.
Application Process +
The Innovation Fellowship program is currently by invitation-only. As opportunity and need arise, Metcalf releases Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Each RFP has its own criteria, submission process, and application deadline. If you would like to be on the mailing list to receive notice of RFPs, please contact the Foundation and speak with the Program Director in the field most closely aligned with your work.
Applications can be received either directly from a prospective Fellow who, upon receipt of an Innovation Fellowship, would enter into a contract for services with the Foundation, or from the registered charitable organization with which the individual is associated.
Applicants must have:
- a significant record of achievement and be recognized within their field; and
- worked in an area related to their proposed exploration for a minimum of ten years.
There are currently no active RFPs.
Current Metcalf Fellows +
Graham Saul has more than 25 years of experience working on social and environmental justice issues. His background includes five years with Oxfam International in Maputo, Mozambique, and five years in Washington, D.C., with the Bank Information Centre — an environmental watchdog and information clearinghouse that monitors the World Bank and other multilateral development banks.
Since returning to Canada in 2004, he has worked as the International Programme Director for Friends of the Earth Canada and Oil Change International, and was the Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada — a coalition of more than 100 Canadian organizations working together to push for action on climate change. Graham is currently Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa, a grassroots environmental organization focused on the City of Ottawa. He believes that in order to build a better world, we need to learn how to build a better city.
Graham received an honours degree in Political Science from McGill University and was a visiting practitioner at Cornell University. His Metcalf Innovation Fellowship will focus on how the environmental community communicates with the general public and on innovative ways to reshape the story we tell about the work that we do.
Fay Faraday is a nationally recognized lawyer with expertise in constitutional and human rights law. She has a particular interest in the rights of migrant and marginalized workers. Fay represents civil society, unions, and individuals in the areas of constitutional and appellate litigation, human rights, administrative/public law, labour and pay equity. In her legal practice, Fay has addressed a wide range of issues relating to gender and work, rights of persons with disabilities, rights of migrant workers, race discrimination, employment equity, poverty, income security, and international human rights norms. She has represented clients in constitutional litigation at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
As an Innovation Fellow, Fay is undertaking research on the strategic analysis of the laws, programs, and policies that structure and constrain the rights of migrant workers. Her 2012 report for the Metcalf Foundation, Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers’ Insecurity, maps the complex legal landscape that regulates migrant workers and develops a framework for sustainable reform to strengthen temporary foreign worker rights in Canada. 2014’s Profiting from the Precarious: How recruitment practices exploit migrant workers exposes how temporary foreign workers are paying thousands of dollars in recruiting fees to work in minimum wage jobs in Ontario.
Fay’s latest report, Canada’s Choice: Decent Work or Entrenched Exploitation for Canada’s Migrant Workers? documents the continued exploitation faced by migrant workers — including unscrupulous recruitment practices, employment mobility restrictions, and a lack of protection from rights abuses— despite the 2014 changes to the program, and provides clear policy recommendations to strengthen protections and build employment security for Canada’s migrant workers.
Elizabeth MacKinnon worked for more than 10 years as a policy analyst and researcher in arts and cultural policy at the Department of Canadian Heritage, and as a senior analyst at Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. She is also a dance and interdisciplinary performance artist, working on a variety of projects as a performer, choreographer, and interactive video designer.
Elizabeth has experience co-directing a small dance company and managing an artist-run space, and she was a founding member on the Board of an integrated dance company for people with and without disabilities. Currently, she works as an independent consultant specializing in research and organizational management for arts organizations and public arts funders. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in contemporary dance from Concordia University, and a master’s degree in digital performance from the University of Hull (UK), and she recently completed a certificate in authentic leadership from Naropa University.
Elizabeth’s research as a Metcalf Fellow, undertaken in collaboration with Christine Pellerin, looks at the viability of social finance as a means of increasing resources for the performing arts in Canada.
Christine Pellerin is a dedicated arts administrator with over 10 years’ experience in the sector. She is currently the Director of Development & Partnerships at The Theatre Centre, having previously worked in fundraising at Soulpepper Theatre, the Paprika Festival, Harbourfront Centre, the Toronto International Film Festival, and Tarragon Theatre.
Christine began her arts administration career working in the box offices of the National Ballet of Canada, T.O. TIX, and Cirque du Soleil. A lifelong learner, Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in theatre from York University, a post-graduate certificate in arts administration/cultural management from Humber College, and a fundraising management certificate from Ryerson University. In addition to working full-time, Christine is a part-time graduate student in the inaugural cohort of Carleton University’s Masters of Philanthropy and Non-profit Leadership program—the first of its kind in Canada. Christine is also a member of the Board of Directors for Cahoots Theatre and the CANVAS Foundation, a recently launched sister organization to CARFAC.
Working alongside Elizabeth MacKinnon, Christine’s research as a Metcalf Innovation Fellow will explore the feasibility of social finance as a new revenue generation tool for the Canadian performing arts sector.
Dr. Sarah Schulman is the Founding Partner of InWithForward, an international social enterprise that re-designs social services from the ground-up.
From 2009 to 2013, Sarah helped to launch three new solutions with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, including the award-winning Family by Family. Before moving to Australia, Sarah worked with Participle in London, where she developed a new model for universal youth services. Sarah started her first organization at the age of 10, and ran a successful youth development consultancy agency throughout high school and college. She holds a DPhil in Social Policy from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a Masters in Education from Stanford University.
John Stapleton worked for the Ontario Government in the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and its predecessors, for 28 years in the areas of social assistance policy and operations. John was the senior policy advisor to the Social Assistance Review Committee and the Minister’s Advisory Group on New Legislation. His more recent government work concerned the implementation of the National Child Benefit. John was Research Director for the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults in Toronto and was the co-chair of the working group associated with this project.
He is currently a Commissioner with the Ontario Soldiers’ Aid Commission and volunteers with St. Christopher House and Woodgreen Community Services of Toronto. John also serves on the Board of Directors of the Daily Bread Food Bank and he is the President of the Canadian Horseracing Hall of Fame.
John has published op-eds in The Globe & Mail, National Post, and The Toronto Star. He has written reviews for the Literary Review of Canada and written articles and studies for Ideas that Matter, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation, the Caledon Institute, The Toronto Dominion Financial Group, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and the Toronto City Summit Alliance.
As a Metcalf Innovation Fellow, John has published many influential reports on social assistance policy:
- The Working Poor in the Toronto Region: Mapping working poverty in Canada’s richest city
- The “Welfareization” of Disability Incomes in Ontario: What are the factors causing this trend?
- The “Working Poor” in the Toronto Region: Who they are, where they live, and how trends are changing
- “Zero Dollar Linda” A Meditation on Malcolm Gladwell’s “Million Dollar Murray, ” the Linda Chamberlain Rule, and the Auditor General of Ontario
- Cutting Through the Fog: Why is it so hard to make sense of poverty measures?
- Income Security for Working-Age Adults in Canada: Let’s consider the model under our nose
- Why Don’t We Want the Poor to Own Anything?
- Why is it so tough to get ahead? How our tangled social programs pathologize the transition to self-reliance
Tom Zizys has worked for over 20 years as a policy researcher and project consultant in the community sector, focusing on labour market analysis and designing employment programs. He works regularly with the various training boards across Ontario and frequently makes presentations to organizations and policymakers regarding labour market trends. Tom previously held a number of senior positions in the Government of Ontario, including Director of Policy, Premier’s Office. He has taught several courses at York University and Ryerson University, including program evaluation, public policy, and public law. Tom has also been involved in numerous international development projects focusing on civil society and poverty alleviation.
Tom’s work as a Metcalf Fellow involves exploring the impact of the changing labour market on the working poor – how these changes have come about, what their impact has been, and how Ontario’s labour market can be improved to serve employers, employees, and job seekers better.
What are the project parameters of an Innovation Fellowship?
Most Metcalf Innovation Fellowships result in the publication of formal papers, which are expected to be approximately 20 to 35 pages in length (up to 15,000 words).
What doesn’t the Innovation Fellowship fund?
Typically, the Foundation does not consider requests:
- for the production of books;
- for the creation of curricula or toolkits;
- for research that does not address policy issues directly related to the sectors in which the Foundation works.
What is the first step to obtaining support from the Foundation?
Please review all information on the website regarding the Innovation Fellowship program and the particular RFP to which you would like to apply. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact the Program Director in the field most closely aligned with their work.
Would Foundation staff be willing to review my proposal in advance of the deadline?
Foundation staff is happy to discuss potential applications and to help organizations craft a more focused argument for funding, but they do not read drafts of applications prior to their submission.
Can more than one person work on an individual Fellowship?
Although most Fellowships are granted to single individuals, the Foundation does welcome collaborative submissions from individuals whose experience and expertise are complementary and combine to create a strong proposal.
What is the maximum/minimum size of an Innovation Fellowship grant?
Funding can be used to support costs associated with project activities. Awards of up to $30,000 will be granted; average awards are in the range of $15,000.
How are applications assessed?
Applications are reviewed by the Metcalf Board and staff, assisted by external advisors as appropriate. Applications are assessed according to the:
- background and qualifications of the applicant(s);
- applicability of the proposed work to the issue identified in the RFP;
- proposed methodology for the study/work;
- scope of the project, its creativity, originality, and rigour, and its potential contribution to longstanding or systemic challenges;
- likelihood that the ideas expressed could gain traction in the context of current practice and policy; and
- quality of the submitted written materials.
How does the Foundation make funding decisions?
Funding decisions are made by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and decisions are final.
How long will it take to receive a decision regarding my application?
Where deadlines are stated in the RFP, it also mentions when you can expect to hear from the Foundation.