Fringe Festival artists, volunteers and supporters lead the charge on a poster sprint. The event was part of celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Fringe Festival — a long-term grantee of Metcalf’s Performing Arts Program.

Photographer: Brian Batista Bettencourt


In this newsletter we highlight developments from our three programs and welcome the newest member to the Metcalf team. We are also pleased to share news of Fringe Toronto’s crowdfunding platform, Toronto Public Library’s digital innovation hubs, and Scadding Court’s Business in a Box. Stories such as these illustrate the kinds of opportunities that can result when creativity and innovation mixes with new technologies. I hope you enjoy this newsletter and, as always, welcome your feedback.

Sandy Houston, President and CEO


Welcome Andre Vallillee

We are pleased to announce that Andre Vallillee is our new Environment Program Director. Andre joins us from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, where he worked as a Program Manager overseeing the province-wide environmental grants portfolio and serving as Strategy Lead for the environment sector. Andre brings extensive experience in environmental philanthropy, environmental planning, and capacity building strategies.


New guidelines for Internships

We have made some changes to the application process for the Performing Arts Internships program. Requirements for the written portion have been clarified and a short video submission is now required. On March 25 at 3:00 pm, Program Director Michael Jones will be holding a webinar about the program and the application process.

Jackie Richardson in UnCovered: Sting, The Police. Photo from Acting Up Stage. Credit: Joanna Akyol.

Coming soon: Stories from the Inc

At the end of March, we will be posting a collection of stories from our Creative Strategies Incubator program. The Focus Issue for the first year was: new approaches to, or alternative sources of, revenue. The five participating arts companies will describe their initiatives and share their experiences and what we have learned. Please check back here, later this month, for a link to these stories.

Prosperity in Balance — first year in review

It’s been a productive and inspiring year for our Environment Program. The first cohort of Reinventing Growth grantees is reporting results that range from biodiversity offsets, carbon reduction at the household level, and more walkable communities. The Green Prosperity Challenge recently awarded grants to ten innovative university research projects and our Sustainability Internships program is supporting six emerging leaders. We look forward to sharing practical opportunities for action — benefiting both the environment and the economy — that are emerging from this promising new program.


Upcoming Innovation Fellowship papers

Under the live-in caregiver program, Ontario law prohibits recruiters from charging fees to migrant workers. Yet the practice continues to be widespread, even routine. That’s one finding of a new report by Fay Faraday that vigorously examines recruitment practices for migrant workers. Tom Zizys’ followup to Working Better is a thoughtful, strategic response to the dissonance between what we expect of our labour market and what it currently delivers. Both papers are slated for release over the next couple of months.

Local Economies symposium

Late last year Metcalf hosted a one-day Inclusive Local Economies symposium. It was a unique opportunity for grantees to foster new relationships, discuss common challenges, and reflect on how the changing labour market is impacting low income communities, employment practices, and training. Over 70 people participated and exchanged ideas about how we can work collaboratively to build a more inclusive and thriving local economy.

Change of leadership

We would like to congratulate Angie Killoran, who is retiring from The Lawson Foundation, and extend a warm welcome to new Executive Director Marcel Lauzière. Congratulations also to Jehad Aliweiwi who is now Executive Director of the Laidlaw Foundation. Since 2004, Jehad led the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office — a community-based, multicultural agency and Metcalf grantee.



Fringe Toronto launches crowdfunding site

The Toronto Fringe has just launched Fund What You Can — a crowdfunding platform tailor-made for independent artists across Canada. It will offer a targeted reach and, for the first six months of operation, zero platform fees. Executive Director Kelly Straughan notes that crowdfunding is essential to the indie arts community and sees FWYC — one of the first projects launched through our Creative Strategies Incubator — as a natural extension of the Fringe’s mandate.

Sustainability CoLab launch

Sustainability CoLab, launched January 16, is working with communities across Ontario to build local networks that support organizations in setting and achieving carbon reduction goals. CoLab’s first cohort of community partners include: Durham Sustain Ability, EnviroCentre (Ottawa), Niagara Sustainability Initiative, Sustainable Kingston, and Sustainable Waterloo Region.

Digital innovation hubs

The Toronto Public Library recently opened its first digital innovation hub. These new workspaces create opportunities for all individuals to explore, learn, and work with new forms of technology such as 3D printing. They expose youth to potential career paths, encourage curiosity and creativity, and provide free and accessible supports for current and future entrepreneurs.

Business in a Box

How do you provide aspiring entrepreneurs with affordable retail space? Scadding Court Community Centre’s Business in a Box is using retrofitted containers to create vibrant shipping container markets. It’s an example of a social enterprise model that can foster economic development at the community level. The program was recently featured in a video story on Al Jazeera.

New Research Centre for work disability policy

Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton’s recent report on the “Welfareization” of disability explores why ODSP in now the single largest disability income program in Ontario. The report was cited in a Toronto Star article announcing McMaster University’s new Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy, which aims to look at policies and program needed to reverse this trend.

Supporting social impact

With support from Metcalf’s Inclusive Local Economies program, Social Enterprise Toronto has launched a new research project to build an intermediary structure to support social enterprises. This holds great potential for Toronto’s social enterprise sector to develop employment and training opportunities for those from historically disadvantaged and equity seeking groups.

Park People

Congratulations to Park People. In addition The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s grant in support of the Weston Family Parks Challenge, the Ontario Trillium Foundation recently announced a $1.25 million fund to strengthen capacity for Toronto Park People. Metcalf is the founding supporter of Park People.

March 17, 2014

Inclusive Local Economies ~ Letters of Interest for the Opportunities Fund

May 5, 2014

Performing Arts ~ Applications due for Internships

May 12, 2014

Renewal Program ~ Applications due

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