November 2015


Working with Canadians to improve the health and vibrancy of our communities, our culture, and our environment.
Working with Canadians to improve the health and vibrancy of our communities, our culture, and our environment.

It has been a remarkable fall — from the long stretches of golden weather to our emphatic change of government — leaving many of us with a renewed sense of hope and possibility. The federal government’s reinstatement of the long-form census, their pledge to invest in culture, and their commitment to take action on climate change are early but promising shifts in the landscape in which we work. It’s certainly been an ideal time to come back from sabbatical and I would like to thank Bob Sirman for his stellar work as Acting President and CEO during my absence. In this newsletter we are pleased to announce the launch of our redesigned website and share a little about what we’ve been up to over the past few months. I hope you enjoy reading it and encourage your comments.

— Sandy Houston, President and CEO

The Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee: From a bench to a bazaar to inclusive city building

A few years ago, Metcalf began working with the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee to deepen the Foundation’s understanding of neighbourhood economic resiliency. As the relationship developed, what emerged was an extraordinary example of inclusive, grassroots city building. A new publication, The Power of Civic Action, tells the story of how the Women’s Committee revitalized their park, created an engine of grassroots economic activity, and changed practice and policy across the city. No small feat for a group of local residents who met, by chance, in their neighbourhood park. has a new look

We’re pleased to announce that the Metcalf website has been redesigned. It’s visually bolder, content has been streamlined to make it easier to navigate, and we’ve increased our capacity to share stories about the many thoughtful and creative people we work with. We look forward to using the site to provide updates, address common issues, and highlight some of the strategic approaches to long-term social change that traverse our work. Please have a look and let us know what you think.


Please welcome Michael Trent

Please join us in welcoming Michael Trent as Metcalf’s new Performing Arts Program Director. Michael brings with him extensive experience in consultation and collaboration with artists and arts organizations, at the local and national levels, on issues including strategic planning, transition, curatorial expertise, artistic assessment and training. Most recently, Michael was the Artistic Director at Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation, one of Canada’s leading contemporary dance companies and centre for research and development in new dance practices.


A New Road Order with Janette Sadik-Khan and Jennifer Keesmaat

As part of our Environment Program’s focus on mobility and sustainability, the Foundation is hosting an event on Dec 1 at Isabel Bader Theatre featuring two visionary city builders: Janette Sadik-Khan and Jennifer Keesmaat. The title of Janette’s talk is Changing Lanes: Blueprints for a New Road Order. Drawing on her experience as New York City’s Transportation Commissioner and more recently as a Principal at Bloomberg Associates, Janette’s keynote will explore how we can reimagine and redesign our cities around people. Following her keynote, Janette and Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner for the City of Toronto, will discuss rethinking mobility and public spaces.  (Photo: Olugbenro Photography)


Opportunities Fund: Three new focus areas and a Nov. 26 deadline

The goal of Metcalf’s Inclusive Local Economies Program is to improve the economic livelihoods of low-income people. The program’s Opportunities Fund was recently revised to include three focus areas: making precarious jobs better and supporting the upward mobility of workers; reducing barriers for low-income entrepreneurs and alternative business models; and leveraging the capacity of neighbourhoods to improve the economic livelihoods of low-income residents. Updated program guidelines are available. Please note that November 26 is the next deadline for letters of interest.  (Photo: Bruce Zinger)


Performing Arts Program: Guidelines and learning network update

The 2016 guidelines for the Performing Arts Program have just been released. Please note, the 2016 focus issue is: providing greater opportunities for artistic work to achieve its potential. In September, the 2015 Creative Strategies Incubator learning network launched. This cohort is revisiting the focus issue of first learning network in 2013: new approaches to, or alternative sources of, revenue. Participating organizations will share their experiences and what they learn on our website in Stories from the Inc.  (Photo: Robert Popkin)

Rethinking approaches to program design and delivery

Dr. Sarah Schulman, lead partner with InWithForward, is working in partnership with West Neighbourhood House to co-develop an alternative sequence to program development and policy implementation. As a Metcalf Innovation Fellow, she will be facilitating a six-month prototype of new service models with, and for, street-involved adults. The Fellowship will result in a series of articles, podcasts, and a learning circle for staff from across the social sector, along with key policy makers and thought leaders.


Accelerating Urban Sustainability: Two new reports from Metcalf grantees

Two Metcalf grantees have released timely reports addressing pragmatic ways to advance urban sustainability. Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission’s We Can’t Get There From Here: Why Pricing Congestion is Critical to Beating It outlines how congestion pricing can help reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and enable greater economic prosperity in Canadian cities. Sustainable Prosperity in collaboration with Dr. Amelia Clarke from the University of Waterloo, have published the Sustainability Alignment Manual, a practical guide offering municipalities an inventory of market-based instruments for achieving community sustainability goals.


Cherise Burda appointed Director of Ryerson City Building Institute

Metcalf grantee Ryerson City Building Institute recently welcomed Cherise Burda as their new Director. Previously, Cherise worked at the Pembina Institute, another Metcalf grantee, where she served as Ontario Director in charge of communications strategy, research, and advocacy around transportation and sustainability. The Toronto Star’s Christopher Hume wrote a feature article about Cherise highlighting the valuable perspective she will bring to her new role.

2015 Complete Streets Forum

The 8th annual Complete Streets Forum, organized by Metcalf grantee Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, was held in October 2015. This sold out event brought together 250 community leaders, public officials, and professionals working across sectors to advance complete streets in Canada. Featuring a great line-up of keynote speakers, mobile tours, and workshops, this year’s Forum was a valuable opportunity for networking, learning, and capacity building.

Upcoming Deadlines

Letters of Interest due November 26, 2015
Applications due February 16, 2016

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The George Cedric Metcalf
Charitable Foundation

38 Madison Avenue
Toronto, ON M5R 2S1 Canada
Tel. 416-926-0366

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