The Ontario government recently published the State of the Sector Report. Its findings affirm how diverse the non-profit sector is in size, mission and ability to access resources, and how its vitality is so much more than the sum of individual organizations and agencies. During the foundation’s annual board tour we had an opportunity to experience this on a very human scale. We heard about Access Community Capital Fund which grants micro-loans to entrepreneurs. We learned of Labour Education Centre’s campaign to create a community benefits agreement for the multi-billion-dollar contracts to be tendered during construction of transit lines. And we visited the vibrant hub of East Scarborough Storefront. Photo above: Kabul Market on Kingston Rd.

In this newsletter we are pleased to share a variety of stories about our grantees and highlight new papers from our three program areas. Respectively, the papers address issues pertaining to arts funding, the green economy, and the rise of Ontario’s Disability Support Program. Although they stem from very different worlds, they each bring a forward-looking constructive clarity to the examination of intricate systems and complex challenges. I hope you enjoy this newsletter, invite you to share these papers with your colleagues, and welcome your thoughts.

Sandy Houston, President and CEO


Photo: Kevin Konnyu

Strategies for supporting next generation arts practice

New technologies, changing demographics, global interconnectedness, the evolving nature of public engagement — there are many factors transforming the arts. Our second Arts Innovation Fellowship paper, Choreographing our Future by Shannon Litzenberger, focuses on what artists in today’s environment need in order to create innovative content, connect with audiences, and develop resourcing strategies. It is grounded in both theory and practice and invites practitioners and funders alike to embrace change with courage, curiosity, and imagination.


Paper provides empirical and policy foundations for a green local economy

Greening the economy at the local level will bring jobs, prosperity, and help us address environmental challenges. That is the finding of Green Economy at Community Scale by internationally-renowned economists Tim Jackson and Peter Victor. The paper analyses conceptual foundations and provides evidence for how a green economy can create the capabilities for people to flourish and communities to thrive, without destroying the ecological assets on which our future prosperity depends.


The “welfareization” of disability in Ontario

ODSP is the single largest disability income program in Ontario and is growing at an unsustainable rate. A new paper, by Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton, explores the complexity of Canada’s disability system and possible factors behind the alarming increase in social assistance disability expenditures. Please join us for the paper’s release. We will be holding a discussion, along with two panelists, at St. Christopher House, 248 Ossington Ave, Dec 13, at 2pm.


National survey on shared administrative platforms

In response to Metcalf Fellow Jane Marsland’s paper Shared Platforms and Charitable Venture Organizations, we are currently conducting a survey to determine the feasibility of creating a shared platform for the arts. Whether you are incorporated, a solo artist, or an emerging company we want to know more about your administrative needs and challenges. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take the survey now.


Environment Program news

Our Environment Program, Prosperity in Balance, supports ways to strengthen our natural environment while ensuring a healthy economy. As program director Mary MacDonald has been instrumental in shaping its strategic focus. We thank Mary for her contributions and wish her well in her new position at WWF. The application intake process is now closed and we look forward to announcing a new director shortly.



Farm receives major grant

Toronto’s largest urban farm, Black Creek Community Farm, has received a $400,000 grant from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation. Administered through Park People, funds will be used to restore woodlands, create a food forest, and provide community programming.

Wagemark addresses income inequality

Income inequality is a rising concern and the focus of much discussion — including the Globe’s recent Wealth Paradox series. Wagemark, a new international wage standard, is focused on tackling this intractable issue. Its 8:1 ratio can be used by employers to certify that the ratio between their highest and lowest earners is competitive and sustainable. Metcalf is pleased to be Wagemark’s founding supporter.

TAPA releases report

As part of their ongoing commitment to the vitality of the city’s performing arts, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), in partnership with the Strategic Counsel, conducted a city-wide survey this past spring on audience development. Findings are now published in a report which identifies key issues influencing attendance, engagement, and attitudes towards arts and culture activities.

Culture meets climate change

Cape Farewell and the ROM have curated a unique and visionary four-month cultural engagement on one of the most pressing issues of our time — climate change. Carbon 14: Climate is Culture Exhibition + Festival brings together artists and scientists to help us confront the reality of climate change and imagine what a resilient and exciting future might look like.

Worker Action Centre calls to raise the wage

Workers’ Action Centre, with Parkdale Community Legal Services and Freedom 90, is calling on the Ontario government to increase the minimum wage to $14. They argue that raising the wage is not a poverty reduction tool. Rather, it’s a way to address labour market disparities that will, in turn, stimulate and strengthen the economy for all Ontarians.

Marion Annau receives leadership award

Congratulations to Marion Annau, Founder and President of Connect Legal, who received the Ontario Award for Leadership in Immigrant Employment. Marion was chosen for her work in improving the labour market for skilled immigrants in Ontario.

John Riley publishes a history of the Great Lakes

What began as a Metcalf paper is now a comprehensive and compelling history of the Great Lakes region. Congratulations to author John Riley. His book, The Once and Future Great Lakes Country, provides a complex analysis of pressures on the region’s ecology as well as promising hopeful choices for the future.

December 9, 2013

Performing Arts ~ Letters of interest for the 2014 Creative Strategies Incubator Focus Issue

January 28, 2014

Environment ~ applications due for the Sustainability Internships

February 25, 2014

Environment ~ Letters of interest due for the Reinventing Growth Program

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