Our Inclusive Local Economies Program recently spearheaded a two-day event on sectoral partnerships. Participants explored opportunities and implications for adopting sector-based workforce development approaches in Toronto.

It has been a busy but inspiring time here. As I prepare to leave on sabbatical I’m reminded of how the concerns of civil society remain relatively constant. What changes is our ability to see and understand how problems interconnect and, in turn, respond with the leadership needed to effectively engage and move on challenging issues. In this newsletter you’ll read about two events Metcalf recently convened with that very purpose in mind: to foster connections and support our collective efforts. I hope you enjoy reading it and welcome your thoughts. I am delighted to welcome Bob Sirman as Metcalf’s interim CEO and look forward to reconnecting with all of you when I return in the fall.

— Sandy Houston, President and CEO


Creative Strategies Incubator participants share their learning

On February 10, our Performing Arts Program hosted a public panel presentation. Companies funded through the 2013 Learning Network shared details about their experiences and lessons learned to date regarding new approaches to, or alternative sources of, revenue. We’ve assembled a Storify of tweets from the event. Over the next couple of weeks we will share a video of each organization’s presentation.


Exploring sector-based workforce development strategies

For two days in February, policy leaders and community practitioners had a rare opportunity to come together to hear about employment and training strategies that have shaped New York City’s innovative workforce development systems. Spearheaded by our Inclusive Local Economies Program, the event inspired dialogue about ways in which Toronto could adopt sector-based strategies to improve access to good jobs for low-wage workers. A Storify of tweets captures many key ideas. Later in March we will release a video of highlights from the presentations.


Environment Program update

Our first Cycle City round of applications has garnered a great mix of proposals for advancing cycling issues across Toronto. We look forward to sharing more information over the next few months. Applications are open until March 25 for Electrifying Movement. The goal of Electrifying Movement is to help advance the electrification of transportation and expand access to rapid public transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.


Groundbreaking study assesses impacts of strengthening our food system

Replacing 10 percent of Ontario’s top 10 fruit and vegetable imports with local production would help create 3,400 jobs, improve environmental practices, and make healthy food more accessible. These are among the findings of Dollars & Sense: Opportunities to Strengthen Southern Ontario’s Food System. The study assesses economic and environmental impacts of strengthening Southern Ontario’s food system. It was produced by the Metcalf Foundation in partnership with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.


Performing Arts Innovation Fellows appointed

In response to our recent RFP addressing the topic of human and financial resources required by the performing arts sector, Metcalf is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Innovation Fellows: Elizabeth MacKinnon and Christine Pellerin. Working collaboratively, MacKinnon and Pellerin will explore the feasibility of social finance as a new revenue tool for the Canadian performing arts sector.

Working poor update coming

Toronto has the highest percentage of working poverty in the region at almost 11 percent. This is an increase since 2006, despite substantial social policy interventions in the interim. In addition to the highest percentage, Toronto also has the fastest growing number of working poor in the country. Innovation Fellow John Stapleton’s new update report on the working poor is scheduled for release in April. It will make a significant contribution to the analysis and understanding of income inequality in our city.



Mobilizing to shape our urban future

We Are Cities is a campaign engaging citizens and organizations across Canada to create a vision and action plan for how we can build livable cities. With over 80 percent of Canadians now living in urban areas, we all benefit when our cities are healthy and vibrant places to live, work, and play. We Are Cities is an initiative of Evergreen CityWorks and Cities for People. There are many ways to get involved both online and through community roundtables.


Theatres Leading Change releases new report

Engage with disruption, invest in leaders, and rethink the old models of resource distribution — these are the kind of ideas explored in a report recently released by Theatres Leading Change Toronto, a program operated by TAPA with funding assistance from Metcalf. Seizing Permission addresses practitioner-led change and urgent and persistent issues such as resource distribution and audience development.


Building ladders and raising the floor

During the latest round of funding for our Inclusive Local Economies Program, we were struck by the range of possibilities and the innovative work being done with sector-based strategies. Examples include the Hospitality Workers Training Centre model to reduce employment precarity, Goodwill Industries work to create career ladders in retail, and the work of Toronto Community Benefits Network to improve access to good jobs in the construction sector.


The power of social procurement

A new paper by The Learning Enrichment Foundation explores how we can leverage the purchasing power of the public, private, and non-profit sectors to increase positive social outcomes for communities and vulnerable populations. The Social Procurement Intermediary is a valuable resource to guide us in exploring ways to unlock the potential of social procurement to advance local economies. The report was produced with support from Metcalf.


SmartSAVER goes national

SmartSAVER, an initiative of the Omega Foundation, aims to make it easier for low-income families to understand and access government money that is available for post-secondary education using a RESP. A three-year pilot project increased uptake in Toronto from 27 to 40 percent, and SmartSAVER is now expanding its focus, with Metcalf support, from Ontario to Canada-wide. Their public awareness video features Adriana Beemans, our Inclusive Local Economies Program Director.


March 23, 2015

Performing Arts, Creative Strategies Incubator, letters of interest due

March 25, 2015

Environment, Electrifying Movement, applications due

May 11, 2015

Performing Arts Internships, applications due

May 19, 2015

Inclusive Local Economies, Opportunities Fund, letters of interest due

June 15, 2015

Inclusive Local Economies, Opportunities Fund, letters of interest due

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