commitment to equity

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A message from the Board Chair, Greg Wilkinson and President & CEO, Sharon Avery:  

2020 was a pivotal year underscoring the urgency with which we must accelerate the pace of change when it comes to addressing the inequities communities face. Truth and Reconciliation, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, #MeToo and most recently Black Lives Matter have called out the bias, discrimination, racism and oppression that exist in our society and institutions.

We acknowledge that as a community foundation, we are centred in a white-dominated philanthropic system, and we are two white leaders in that system. We have recently heard from some courageous BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) fundholders, community leaders and stakeholders that Toronto Foundation has work to do for them to feel fully welcome. We are also hearing that many of our white fundholders are committed to being more inclusive, to doing what is necessary to change philanthropic systems, and they are looking to us to provide support and leadership. While we have been using an equity lens in our work and have started on our own diversity, equity and inclusion journey, we recognize that we need to do better. We are committed to making this moment count and being accountable for our role in contributing to lasting systemic change.

One of the values of Toronto Foundation is public trust above all. To live that value we need to be better than we are today by addressing the bias and barriers in our own systems and practices. As we do, we will share our progress with our stakeholders as we listen, learn and act to ensure that both our organization and philanthropy in this city are more equitable. These are important actions to take, not just because the world is watching, but because it’s the right thing to do.  

Toronto Foundation commits to taking actions to address bias, discrimination and racism in all our work and to actively review our policies, programs and structures, with the goal of creating an inclusive organization.

 

Our Commitment

Toronto Foundation acknowledges that multiple factors including colonialism, white privilege and structural racism result in the oppression of individuals and communities. We also acknowledge that discrimination and barriers for individuals and communities can also arise from other factors such as Indigeneity, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, and immigrant status. Toronto Foundation commits to taking actions to address bias, discrimination and racism in all our work and to actively review our policies, programs and structures, with the goal of creating an inclusive organization. 

As a leader in the nonprofit sector, Toronto Foundation has a unique role to play by being an advocate and partner in responding to barriers to equitable participation in all spheres of life.  

Between 2018 and 2019 Toronto Foundation adopted this vision and purpose:  

  • Vision: A city of informed, engaged philanthropists, accelerating meaningful change for all.
  • Purpose: We aim to create a more fair and just society where everyone can thrive by mobilizing those with resources and the will to partner with others.

The new philanthropy focuses on co-creating a society that fights exclusion and marginalization, creates a sense of wellbeing and belonging, and promotes trust. Guided by this vision and purpose, Toronto Foundation will start a holistic review this year to address anti-racism/oppression and to uncover and address bias in program delivery, policies, human resource practices and governance structures. We will report back to our stakeholders on the results of this review and how we plan to address the findings.

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