December 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, we want to take the opportunity to wish all of you the very best for the holidays. We feel immense gratitude for our remarkable partners and collaborators, and look forward to continuing our work together. As we anticipate 2019, we thought that we would share some of the most popular stories from our work this year.

– Sandy Houston, President and CEO


Five Top Stories From 2018


1. Graham Saul's Metcalf Innovation Paper "Environmentalists, what are we fighting for?"

Graham Saul’s basic argument that the environmental movement has so far failed to follow the example set by successful earlier social movements like the abolitionist, civil rights, and women’s movements, and come up with clear and compelling language behind which people and politicians can rally caught the imagination of many — including CBC Radio Ideas, which recorded and broadcast the talk Graham gave at his Toronto launch. In conducting his research, Graham spoke with over 100 leading environmentalists who all agreed that while they hadn’t yet found a simple word or term that could unify the disparate struggles that constitute today’s environmental movement, it was both needed and desired.


2. Toronto Sector Skills Academy's Vibrant Second Year

The Metcalf Foundation, in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program and with support from the Counselling Foundation of Canada and Social Capital Partners, welcomed twenty-four participants for the 2018 Toronto Sector Skills Academy (TSSA). Established in 2016 to address the growing interest and need for sector-focused workforce development in Toronto, this leadership program is the first of its kind in Canada. Participants in the TSSA become Aspen Economic Opportunity Fellows and work with peers from a variety of organizations. Fellows attend three retreats and three workshops over a 10-month period. Led by experts drawn from across North America, participants engage in experiential learning with practical applications, acquire new skills to explore, and enable sectoral workforce strategies.


3. Tom Zizys' Good Food, Good Jobs Inquiry

Agri-food is big business in Ontario, accounting for $34 billion of the province’s GDP. In terms of employment, core food industry occupations account for over eight percent of all jobs in the province. While there has been a policy push to support a good food/local food agenda as a way to invest and strengthen local economies, missing from the discussion has been concern for the quality of work in the food sector — where a high proportion of jobs are of low quality. Metcalf Innovation Fellow Tom Zizys kicks off the inquiry with a blog post and asks five prominent leaders and activists who focus on the food movement, issues of social justice, and workforce development to share their thoughts on strategies for improving the quality of both food and food jobs, while also answering the need for food to be accessible and affordable.


4. Elizabeth MacKinnon and Christine Pellerin paper reveals the potential of social finance in the arts sector

More than Money: How social finance can build resilience in the arts sector breaks new ground in exploring how the non-profit arts sector in Canada could harness the power of social finance to strengthen its financial footing. Authors Elizabeth MacKinnon and Christine Pellerin survey national and international examples such as Britain’s successful Arts Impact Fund, and put forward practical solutions as to how social finance could be successfully deployed across the country. With the traditional reliance upon grants and earned revenue under strain, the possibility of unlocking new pools of funds as proposed in More than Money is both compelling and enticing. MacKinnon and Pellerin conclude their report with five important takeaways on how the application of social finance to arts organizations in Canada would be beneficial.


5. Metcalf Photo Essay: Cafe Opened by Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee

We launched our new photo essay feature with the story about the opening of a shipping container cafe in R.V. Burgess Park. The cafe is the latest development in the remarkable 10-year process spearheaded by Metcalf grantee the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee to transform this once-neglected 1.5 hectare park into a vibrant and beloved community meeting place. Thorncliffe Park is home to over 34,000 people, largely newcomers. One of the founders of the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee and its Chair, Sabina Ali is the driving force behind the cafe. Having been both a Thorncliffe Park resident and newcomer herself, Sabina knows that many of the neighbourhood’s inhabitants are mothers with young children and can feel isolated in their apartments, especially when they first arrive. “I wanted to create a place where they could come and meet one another.”

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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