A key priority of our work at the Foundation is to encourage collaboration between our remarkable community of partners and grantees. In this newsletter, you’ll read about the Inclusive Local Economies Symposium, the upcoming Creative Strategies Incubator event, and the Resilient Neighbourhood Economies report, all of which provide opportunities to align approaches and strengthen connections among people working within our areas of focus. I hope that you enjoy this newsletter and welcome your comments.
Sandy Houston, President and CEO
Inclusive Local Economies Symposium Strengthens Sector Learning
On April 20th, Metcalf’s Inclusive Local Economies program hosted its second biennial symposium. The day included panel conversations, small discussion groups, and a keynote speech from Metcalf Innovation Fellow Sarah Schulman. It was an opportunity for people and organizations working to improve economic opportunities in communities across Toronto to come together to challenge assumptions, build strategic partnerships, and strengthen their collective impact.
Celebrating the 2013 Creative Strategies Incubator cohort
On June 13th, the Metcalf Foundation will hold a public event in recognition of the first cohort of performing arts companies to complete the three-year Creative Strategies Incubator (CrSI) program. The 2013 initiatives explored new approaches to, or alternative sources of, revenue for their organizations. CrSI participants will share the results of these initiatives through a series of videos, and the event will conclude with a post-screening reception.
Green Prosperity Paper: A New Era of Environmental Governance in Canada
A New Era of Environmental Governance in Canada is the first paper in the Metcalf Foundation’s Green Prosperity series. Five papers will be released in the coming months, addressing a range of issues and opportunities in building a low-carbon, resource efficient, and resilient Canada. A New Era charts the development and decline of two environmental decision-making policy tools, and offers recommendations for how contemporary policy makers and political leaders may restore public confidence in their environmental governance.
Metcalf releases its Resilient Neighbourhood Economies project report
The Resilient Neighbourhood Economies project was a three-year pilot that the Foundation ran from 2012-2015. It was designed to help create economic opportunities for low-income residents in two Toronto neighbourhoods. We are pleased to share findings from the project in Resilient Neighbourhood Economies: A Foundation’s strategic learning from a three-year investment in local economies, which charts the origins of the pilot, its undertakings, and lessons we learned along the way.
Bike lanes destined for Bloor Street
Toronto City Council has voted to approve a pilot project that will install bike lanes on Bloor Street by late summer. Metcalf and two neighbourhood BIA’s are supporting a study by the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) in partnership with researchers at the University of Toronto to examine the pilot’s economic impact on area businesses. Earlier research conducted by TCAT in 2009 indicated that 90% of shoppers to the busy commercial street arrived by walking, cycling, or public transportation.
From Solitary Confinement to "One to Many"
Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton’s second guest post focuses on the role of the caseworker in minimizing or upholding barriers to self-employment for those on social assistance. Stapleton, with Leila Sarangi of Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke, investigates the “One to Many” model that Toronto Employment and Social Services piloted last summer. The model provides a key example of how groups of people on employment supports can benefit from the coordinated assistance of a single caseworker.
Intermission puts Toronto theatre centre stage
Driven by its mission to “tell the stories behind the stories on stage,” a new digital magazine is shining a spotlight on Toronto’s performing arts community. Intermission Magazine is produced by The Company Theatre as the focus initiative from their participation in Metcalf’s Creative Strategies Incubator. The magazine publishes articles on emerging issues in the contemporary performing arts, reviews of Toronto productions, weekly columns and personal essays, and interviews with performers and creators.
Metcalf Innovation Fellow Sarah Schulman shares her "grounded" approach
Grounded is a digital project that compiles stories and data to provide policy makers with a clearer picture of the lived experiences of individual drop-in users. Led by Sarah Schulman and based on findings from interviews with participants of the West Neighbourhood House, Grounded incorporates a rich variety of personal stories, videos, infographics, and statistics in its mission to inform drop-in service delivery and inspire cultural change.
Plant-inspired material a strong step forward for renewable energy
A new material that mimics the process of plants undergoing photosynthesis may offer a solution to the longstanding problem of efficient renewable energy storage. Professor Ted Sargent and his team of researchers from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering have developed a system that harnesses energy from solar and wind sources and can store it indefinitely. Sargent’s research was supported in part by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s Bio-Inspired Solar Energy team, who are in turn supported by Metcalf as part of a three-year commitment.
Soundstreams' innovative approaches profiled in the Globe and Mail
Since its founding in 1982, long-time Metcalf grantee Soundstreams has continually upended audience expectations of “contemporary classical music.” From last month’s Massey Hall concert with avant-garde composer Steve Reich, to an exploration of the cross-cultural influence of the accordion, the company’s successes have resulted from their largest creative risks. As Robert Harris argued in a recent profile in the Globe and Mail, they’ve been producing “the most interesting concerts of the year.”
"The Power of Civic Action" panel discussion video
The Power of Civic Action tells the story of how the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee (TPWC) opened a successful weekly bazaar that revitalized their community. In this video, taken from the publication’s launch event, TPWC Chair Sabina Ali and other leaders on issues of neighbourhood economic resiliency join together for a lively panel discussion on supporting low-income entrepreneurs and minimizing the barriers to micro-entrepreneurship in Toronto.