The Resilience Builder Grants are one-time grants of up to $25,000 to build urban resilience at the local level. Initiatives are championed by resident leaders and community organizations.
Since the launch of the Vision 2020 program earlier this year, Vision 2020 philanthropists have sat in on a series of Resilience Labs. At these Labs, each participating organization brought together local residents to discuss community strengths and challenges, and to plan a resilience-building community initiative. Through their participation, Vision 2020 philanthropists learned about different organizations across the city, the work they are doing with residents at the neighbourhood level, and how critical social capital is to community development and resilience building.
Participating organizations were then invited to submit a proposal for their proposed resilience project. Throughout October, Vision 2020 cohort members formed a virtual selection committee to designate Resilience Builder Grant funding. Projects were assessed on how they build mutual support, inspire shared learning, facilitate new relationships, forward innovation, and create lasting impact.
We are pleased to announce that all nine of the organizations who submitted grant applications will receive a Resilience Builder Grant. Please join us in congratulating the following organizations on their innovative work at the forefront of resilience in Toronto:
The Health Resiliency Project will build mutual support, provide opportunities for shared learning, and foster new connections by working with ten resident leaders to implement health and wellness initiatives throughout the Steeles-L’Amoreaux neighbourhood. The goal is for residents to have a solid health and wellness roadmap to follow so that they can learn how to be healthy, practice making healthy choices with regards to eating healthy and exercise and impart this knowledge to other community members.
PEACH Radio will address issues that are not talked about (high attrition rates, police brutality, youth trafficking). It will provide an open opportunity to bridge the gap between the north side and south side of Finch, and create a voice to be heard, to mitigate risk factors, and to discuss conflicts. This radio station will help create dialogue and squash issues that youth face and want to improve in this community. It will also hold other agencies accountable because youth will have their own creative medium to demonstrate their needs.
Youth will be engaged through training opportunities with coaches who serve as role models, focusing on both academic and athletic successes and through sharing similar lived experiences. The core element of our program is on-going mentorship. Youth are engaged with interactive learning opportunities which transcend the boundaries of the field and benefit them in their daily lives. By collaborating with community agencies who specialize in mental health, social skills development and educational supports, the program aims to ensure that student athletes are adequately equipped and prepared to be successful in the post-secondary journey.
The Diversity, Dialogue & Disruption initiative asks the question, what would happen if youth disrupted dominant narratives of being, seeing, feeling, and acting, to build healthy spaces for resilient youth from diverse backgrounds and with diverse perspectives to engage in honest, healing dialogue? In collaboration with community organizations, youth will facilitate deep community conversations on a variety of topics under the umbrella of mental health. There are three categories of dialogue – peer to peer, youth to police, and community.
The Team of Ten program aims to continue building connections between two different groups of youth who do not otherwise have the chance to meet each other. By working together, youth will be able to take action on similar interests that they have discovered they have. As they learn about how to be good leaders, the youth will join together to fill some of the gaps that they have identified, by organizing activities that youth are interested in. By creating a way to make good connections youth will be able to continue to connect with each other in the future.
The Parkdale Women’s Leadership Group aims to create a monthly community-led drop-in space for peer-to-peer mental health training, support, and resources. Parkdale has the highest rates of hospitalization for mental health in the West Toronto sub-region, yet there is a lack of training for community members to know how to respond when someone is in crisis or how to support oneself through self-care. With the rise of violence and mental health crises in the city, the community needs to build alternatives to police interventions through community-based response training. Parkdale already provides many institutional supports for mental health through organizations such as the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, but there are limited spaces for community-driven, peer-based emotional support and recovery.
Food insecurity is a major issue in the Rexdale community. Toronto Public Health and partners, including Rexdale Community Health Centre, are in the process of implementing Toronto’s first Social Supermarket at the Rexdale Community Hub. This initiative would reduce food insecurity by enhancing access to affordable food. This project will allow for potential training opportunities for the Rexdale community. Through assessments conducted in the community, residents have identified not only the necessity for this initiative, but also the skills and training opportunities that can arise from its implementation. In this sense, Rexdale Community Health Centre is looking to strengthen community connections, by having residents take on a leadership role in developing and implementing the Social Supermarket.
The Scadding Court Community Centre is interested in creating initiatives that will support residents and community members of the Alexandra Park / Atkinson Co-op neighbourhood and wider city of Toronto in building their social capital as a way to promote economic growth. Over the course of 12 months, the Scadding Court Community Centre will host 10 networking sessions that will offer increased economic opportunities by providing access to mentors, peers, industry-experts, and other resources related to employment and entrepreneurship.
In consultation with some senior and youth community members from Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park, the community has proposed the Colours of our Voice project which will focus on creating a mural project in the Thorncliffe Park community on the foundation of mutual support of different generations of people in the community from diverse backgrounds. It will create opportunities for shared learning among community members and build new relationships which will contribute not only to stronger social connections, but also a more resilient and vibrant community. This project will be accomplished with collaborative efforts by residents from Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park.