Small & Mighty – Our First CityViews Tour
From the desk of Sharon Avery
In my eight years at UNICEF Canada, I travelled with donors to many far-off locations so they could see for themselves the great work many small but mighty organizations are doing to truly change people’s lives. Toronto Foundation presented its first CityViews Tour on May 28 and I have to admit I thought this local experience would be different.
“I left each location with a new respect for the passion, commitment and hard work staff at these community-based organizations are delivering.”
It wasn’t. In fact, I left each location with a new respect for the passion, commitment and hard work staff at these community-based organizations are delivering. What also impressed me was the longevity of the organizations. I’ve heard some Fundholders say their reason for not giving to smaller local organizations is concerns around capacity or inefficiency. But each of the organizations we visited had a minimum of 20-year track records. Staff were incredibly professional and they were all engaging volunteers to get much of the critical work done too.
Whether we were meeting the Divine Divas, a group of Muslim teenage girls learning spoken word at Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre, hearing the passion for poverty systems change at The Stop, or the warm welcome we received at Matthew House (the same welcome they give every refugee) – each visit reinforced the power of a part of the sector that flies largely under the radar for most philanthropists.
I was probably most deeply moved and impressed with our visit to the Native Child and Family Services youth drop-in on Bloor St. The scope of their work, their resourcefulness, and resolve to support Indigenous teens, was palpable.
“We at Toronto Foundation are here to do that due diligence and make connections to organizations you can trust.”
What do I take away? A deeper desire to continue to challenge donors to consider diversifying their giving to include small-to-medium-sized high-impact organizations in our city. There are so many that are doing great work, and living on a shoe string. We at Toronto Foundation are here to do that due diligence and make connections to organizations you can trust. Working together we can tackle some of the city’s most intractable problems.
Are you a Fundholder who would like to attend our next CityViews Tour? Contact our Donor Engagement Officer, Torey Kehoe.