In April, the first article in a six-part series on philanthropy and the performing arts was published in The Philanthropist. This is the first time the Foundation has curated content for The Philanthropist and the first time that magazine has focused specifically on arts and culture. Our long engagement with the performing arts has made us acutely aware of the limited private philanthropic support for this sector. We thought engaging a range of voices and perspectives on some of the arts’ contributions and challenges is a necessary first step in a longer conversation about the arts, philanthropy, and public value. This series includes personal essays by Marcus Youssef, Hannah Moscovitch, Antoni Cimolino, Cris Derksen, Mélanie Demers, videos featuring The Musical Stage Company, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, and Why Not Theatre, and insights by arts strategist Kelly Wilhelm and cultural journalist Kate Taylor.
This spring, in response to the Ontario government’s announcement that it would begin an extensive overhaul of employment services, social assistance reforms, apprenticeship and education programs, we joined forces with the Toronto Region Board of Trade and United Way Greater Toronto on a report called Help Wanted: Modernizing Employment and Skills Training Services in Ontario. The report provides guiding principles and recommendations for how the provincial government can improve the current employment and skills training system so that it better serves people and business and creates more value for the economy. Launched at the Board of Trade on June 20, the report has generated widespread interest and continues to stimulate thoughtful discussion.
Our support for a small startup online magazine, The Local, is another notable journalistic partnership. The Local began two years ago as a project out of Openlab, a design and innovation studio at the University Health Network. It has recently become an independent publication with a mandate to cover some of the most pressing social issues facing our city, such as poverty and homelessness, mental health, aging, and food security. Its crisp graphic style and excellent writing have already attracted critical attention including garnering two Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The Local’s unique combination of a data-driven approach to editorial content with compelling human-interest stories has led the Foundation to support this new publication for the next two years.
These new alliances remind us of the power in cooperative effort, the potential of what we are able to achieve when we join forces to work together.
— Sandy Houston, President and CEO