Advancing Innovative Approaches to Sustainability, Equity, and Creativity
Inclusive Local Economies
Scadding Court Community Centre

The Metcalf Inclusive Local Economies Program works with people and organizations to develop long-term strategies that create sustainable economic opportunities and generate wealth for low-income people and communities in Toronto.

The world of work has changed. In the past, many low-wage jobs in Toronto were the first rung on an economic ladder that led to greater skills, meaningful vocations, and higher pay. But today’s low-wage jobs are often dead-end, short-term positions that offer little chance of yielding the opportunities necessary to make a decent living for oneself and one’s family.

Metcalf is seeking partners who can foster different ways to think about this problem, and develop the ideas, the strategies, and the policies that can enhance the economic livelihoods of low-income people.

Opportunities Fund


The Opportunities Fund is an open call for original ideas and compelling approaches that lead to meaningful economic inclusion for low-income people and communities in Toronto.

An inclusive city economy is a complex challenge and requires multiple, well-aligned efforts by many different players including business, labour, residents, non-profits, entrepreneurs, academics, advocates, and governments.

Applicants to the fund can be engaged in a wide range of activities. They might be building problem-solving networks for local micro-entrepreneurs, advancing policies and practices that support people to improve their economic standing, engaging employers to strengthen on-the-job training practices, or nurturing the organizing capacity of low-wage workers. Applicants might have a fully-developed project ready for implementation or a promising idea that needs strategic consulting to be fleshed out. If there is real commitment and a clear, compelling rationale, this fund can support a wide range of promising, creative efforts.

Program Eligibility

Applicants to this program must:
• be focused on improving outcomes for low-income people and communities,
• be based and active within the City of Toronto; and
• be registered as a charity at the Canada Revenue Agency.

Application Guidelines

For a full description of the program, including the process for making an application, please view the program guidelines here.  


For 2015 awards, letters of interest for Opportunities Fund grants will be accepted on or before:  

December 5, 2014
June 15, 2015

Click here to view the application guidelines for more information.


For frequently asked questions, please review the FAQ section.

Past Grants

To review past Metcalf Foundation grants, please visit the Who We Fund section.

Resilient Neighbourhood Economies


Resilient Neighbourhood Economies is a multi-year pilot project. Its purpose is to explore new approaches to place-based local economic development.

The goal is to identify how communities can capitalize on their assets to foster economic well-being and remove barriers that are inhibiting both people and place. We will be working collaboratively in two low-income neighbourhoods: Thorncliffe Park and Kingston Galloway/Orton Park. With local and city-wide partners we will explore how to advance progress in four areas:

  • Retaining businesses and establishing and growing diverse new enterprises.
  • Strengthening the local economy asset base. This includes: financial assets, knowledge assets, and physical assets.
  • Building a supportive “enabling environment” to address economic development issues.
  • Maximizing the potential for local money to circulate within the neighbourhood. For example, connecting local people to local jobs.

When we use the term ‘local economy’ we are referring to a range of economic activities that exist within a defined geographic area, such as a neighbourhood. This includes how wealth is generated, the kinds of work or training that takes place there, the nature of commercial life and shopping, how goods and services are developed and produced, how products are exchanged, and what things cost.

Over the course of this project we hope to better understand:

  • What are the enterprise development opportunities for new and existing businesses and how can they be developed?
  • Are there alternative ways to deliver services and goods in order to keep money circulating locally?
  • How can people and resources be mobilized to create change?
  • Will these actions result in positive local economic and social outcomes and can we measure their impact?

We are also trying to create new platforms of communication, collaboration, and engagement, for building inclusive local economies. To learn more, please visit our website at  


For frequently asked questions, please review the FAQ section.

Past Grants

To review past Metcalf Foundation grants, please visit the Who We Fund section.