October 2018

Last week, we released Metcalf Innovation Fellow Graham Saul’s paper Environmentalists, what are we fighting for?

Established in 2005, Metcalf Innovation Fellowships have provided critical thinkers with the opportunity to ask hard questions and propose innovative ideas and approaches in the three sectors that we fund: the Performing Arts, the Environment, and Inclusive Local Economies. Often Fellows summarize the results of their research in papers published by the Foundation. This body of work has challenged perceived wisdom, seeded new initiatives, and on our best days prompted a shift in the status quo. In recognition of these accomplishments, I’m pleased to tell you that we are launching a new section of the website celebrating our 18 remarkable Innovation Fellows.

Fellows like John Stapleton. With insights gleaned from a long career inside government, John has used his multi-year fellowships to write about the working poor, including the ground-breaking mapping of working poverty in the Toronto area. His research has been published both in The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, and John’s methodology has been replicated by other researchers in many municipalities across the country. Using 2016 Statistics Canada data, John is currently updating his original research and we look forward to publishing his new findings in 2019.

In his paper, Fertile Ground for New Thinking: Improving Toronto’s Parks, Innovation Fellow Dave Harvey wrote about the challenges facing the city’s parks and offered practical strategies to realize their full potential, including greater community involvement. This led him to establish Park People, a not-for-profit organization, which has emerged as one of Canada’s leading city park transformation organizations.

In 2011, dancer and arts policy consultant Shannon Litzenberger wrote the first Performing Arts Innovation Fellowship paper Choreographing Our Future: Strategies for Supporting Next Generation Arts Practice. It examined how new technologies, changing demographics, and global interconnectedness are reshaping the arts. In 2013, arts advocate and Innovation Fellow Jane Marsland picked up some of these threads in Shared Platforms and Charitable Venture Organizations: A Powerful Possibility for a More Resilient Arts Sector. Her paper galvanized the community to explore new organizational and financial models for arts funding in Canada.

And finally, I am happy to announce that Danielle Olsen is our newest Innovation Fellow. Danielle has worked as a Senior Policy Advisor both in the Ontario Ministry of Finance and Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and as Executive Director of the Hospitality Workers’ Training Centre. In addition, she was instrumental in helping us launch the Toronto Sector Skills Academy. We are greatly looking forward to Danielle’s research into new approaches that advance economic mobility and better jobs for low-income people and low-wage workers.

Sandy Houston, President and CEO


Meet the Metcalf Innovation Fellows

Beginning in 2005, the Foundation has supported the work of 18 Innovation Fellows. Metcalf Innovation Fellows have tackled a wide range of topics including the geography of poverty, precarious work, improving Toronto’s public parks, and the promise of shared charitable platforms in the arts. Get to know the critical thinkers who ask hard questions and propose solutions to systemic issues in the Performing Arts, Environment, and Inclusive Local Economies.


Environmentalists, what are we fighting for?

Metcalf Innovation Fellow Graham Saul talked to 116 leading environmentalists in search of clear and compelling language to connect the disparate struggles that constitute today’s environmental movement.


Metcalf Interview: Graham Saul

Metcalf Innovation Fellow Graham Saul argues in his recently released paper Environmentalists, what are we fighting for? that the environmental movement has so far failed to come up with clear and compelling language behind which people and politicians can rally. We spoke with him about what led him to write the paper and what he discovered.  

People working on environmental issues day to day, who are coming to terms with the scale of the problem, we’re now at the point where we are literally having a conversation about survival.

Graham Saul
Metcalf Innovation Fellow

Graham Saul Talk & Reception

Please join us in celebrating the launch of Graham Saul’s Metcalf Innovation Fellowship paper Environmentalists, what are we fighting for? In Toronto on November 1, Graham will give a talk, which is being recorded for CBC Radio Ideas. 


FoodReach launches online portal, merges with North York Harvest Food Bank

Exciting changes are underway at Metcalf grantee FoodReach, improving access to affordable, fresh, and nutritious food for Toronto’s community agencies.

Better Way Alliance produces videos to promote $15 minimum wage

Metcalf grantee the Better Way Alliance brings together businesses and employers who champion the increase to a $15 per hour minimum wage for Ontario workers.


Poll finds 80 per cent of Torontonians support building protected bike lanes

A poll commissioned by Metcalf grantees The David Suzuki Foundation and Cycle Toronto finds overwhelming support for protected lanes.


California Learning

As part of a Leading and Learning grant, members of Équiterre, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, and Régénération Canada visited California to explore the critical role agriculture can play in climate change mitigation.


Metcalf Photo Essay: Creative Strategies Incubator 2015 Public Sharing

Members of Toronto’s performing arts community gathered at the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse to hear about the remarkable work of the 2015 CrSI cohort.


Staging Change Phase 1 Grantees Announced

We are pleased to announce the selection of 14 Toronto-based performing arts companies and organizations for acceptance into Stage 1 of Staging Change, Metcalf’s latest version of its multi-year strategic funding program in the Performing Arts.

Staging Change Associate Facilitators Training Initiative Participants Selected

The Foundation is delighted to reveal the nine people chosen to participate in the inaugural Staging Change Associate Facilitator Training Initiative.


Metcalf welcomes new Programs Intern Molly Willats

Building on her experience at City Hall, Molly hopes to learn more about how cross-sector collaboration can improve outcomes for low-income and marginalized communities in Toronto.



The Metcalf Foundation works with Canadians to improve the health and vibrancy of our communities, our culture, and our environment.
The George Cedric Metcalf
Charitable Foundation

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

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