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.