Metcalf Foundation News
December 2020
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As this extraordinary year draws to a close, I want to take the opportunity to reconnect with our community and give you a sense of what we have been doing.

Like many of you, much of our efforts this year have been absorbed in responding to the ravages of the pandemic. When it arrived here in March, one of the first questions we faced was how to sustain the critical work of our existing partners, while also marshalling the Foundation’s resources to meet unanticipated and urgent needs, and adapt our work in a rapidly changing environment.

In early spring, we took a number of steps to assist with the overwhelming pressures bearing down on many in our community. Our Board quickly approved new funding, bringing our annual granting allocation to 5% of assets. Soon after, we launched a three-pronged strategy aimed at the impacts of COVID-19. We released emergency funds to particularly hard-hit grantees and long-time partner organizations. Sector-focused funding was invested in umbrella organizations, hubs, and networks that are delivering important services and support to the non-profit community as a whole. And we concentrated forward-looking funding on organizations that are seizing this challenging moment to fundamentally re-examine the underpinnings of our society in the hopes of building a greener and more equitable society. Additional details, including those organizations which received Metcalf grants, are highlighted in newsletter stories below.

The broad and deep social justice movements focused on anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and the underlying structural racism within many of our institutions and organizations has provoked much needed scrutiny and reflection among those in positions of power and privilege. Our Board and staff are listening and learning, and we are shifting our work in response. Within our COVID-19 strategy, we expanded support for organizations who are led by and/or focus on equity-seeking communities, who we know have been disproportionately impacted by this crisis. These efforts were greatly strengthened by the advice and direction provided by a committee of Black, Indigenous and other arts leaders of colour who helped guide Metcalf emergency funds to arts organizations that have fallen outside the parameters of our work. There is much more to be done, and we will be developing and expanding our efforts across our programs in the coming year.

Finally, I would like to share Weaving the Strands, our latest Biennial Report covering our activities over 2018-2019. Although these days the recent past can feel like ancient history, it’s worth remembering the good work done by so many. At a time when our social fabric has worn thin, our Biennial highlights the efforts of those who help maintain and strengthen these crucial bonds. I encourage you to take a look.

In closing, I would like to thank my staff. Over the course of 2020, they have managed to juggle work and family, anxiety and commitment, while continuing to do great work with empathy and imagination.

I wish everyone health and happiness in the holiday season. Here’s to better times ahead.

President and CEO

This year has been devastating for many members of our community and the people they serve. The Foundation responded by creating a COVID-19 response strategy, flowing $3 million to 82 organizations.

Feature Publication

Our latest Biennial Report, Weaving the Strands, covers our activities over the last two years, celebrating the work of our grantees and community. The pandemic has shown how profoundly we rely on each other. By supporting individuals and organizations, we hope to strengthen the social fabric and weave together relationships and experiences for common good and purpose.

Inclusive Local Economies
Feature Publication

Authors Metcalf Innovation Fellow Danielle Olsen and John MacLaughlin seek to deepen our understanding of how to connect job seekers to good jobs by illuminating the work of innovators – NPower Canada, Building Up, Elevate Plus Manufacturing, and ACCES Employment – who are leading the way in demonstrating how workforce solutions can be poverty reduction strategies.

Performing Arts
Feature Stills

Ten Toronto-based performing arts companies and organizations have been accepted into Stage 1 of Metcalf’s multi-year strategic funding initiative in the Performing Arts.

Feature StillsFeature Publication

This eight-part series, produced by The Narwhal and funded by Metcalf, looks at the role of Canada’s natural landscapes in the fight against climate change.


Niko Casuncad joined Metcalf in September 2020, bringing experience in research and policy analysis, project management, and community development and engagement in Toronto, Calgary, and Yellowknife. 

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

Metcalf Foundation The George Cedric Metcalf
Charitable Foundation

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

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The Metcalf Foundation office is located on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. Today, the meeting place of "Tkaronto" (Toronto) continues to be home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to work together on this land.