An equitable society.
In 2014, we pursued a new strategic priority: building stronger movements for decent work. We launched the Atkinson Decent Work Fund with 12 promising projects. We invested in the capacity of movement builders to engage people and to organize action for changes in policy, programs and practice. We collaborated with the Toronto Star to examine the policy issues driving inequality, and renewed our partnership with the Shareholder Association for Research and Education to investigate decent work practices in the private sector.
This route took us to the intersection of work and wealth. It led to new questions about Ontario’s economy and how prosperity can be shared more equitably.
An inclusive economy.
During this first year of a ten-year strategy, we listened closely to those who are excluded from the prosperity they make possible. We connected with people who want to use market activities to create economic opportunities in low-income communities activities such as infrastructure construction and institutional purchasing.
Together, we started exploring a community wealth building approach to poverty reduction in places like Toronto, Scarborough, Parkdale and Peterborough and with people who lead anchor institutions like the City of Toronto and the University of Toronto Scarborough. We commissioned research, advocated for policy changes, and supported new programs and practices to improve livelihoods.
A connected community.
None of this is possible unless people are connected by a shared vision and are mobilized where they live and work. In 2014, long-time and new collaborators grew the base of grassroots leaders committed to equity and inclusion. Jennifer Hollett became our first Atkinson Associate. Her mandate was to help Atkinson and its partners understand the role of civic technology in engaging citizens and renewing democratic institutions.
“The solution to the problem awaits the prodding of public sentiment,” wrote Joseph Atkinson in a forceful Toronto Star editorial about unemployment insurance decades ago. As in the past, we participated in organized efforts to promote evidence-based public policy options for better employment standards, early childhood education and poverty reduction tangible signs of progress toward a more equitable, inclusive and prosperous province.
We invested over $2.8 million in promoting social and economic justice, including grants to the following organizations:
ACORN Institute Canada
Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, University of Toronto (OISE)
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | Ontario Living Wage Network
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | Canadian Doctors for Medicare
Churches by the Bluffs Community Services
City of Toronto
Community Opportunity and Innovation Network
Journalists for Human Rights | Canadian University Press
Labour Community Services | Toronto Community Benefits Network
Mowat Centre NFP
Ontario Employment Education and Research Centre | Workers’ Action Centre
Ontario Employment Education and Research Centre | Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre
People for Education
Project SHARE of Niagara Falls Inc.
Social Planning Toronto | TTCriders
City Family Health Team, St. Michael’s Hospital
TIDES Canada | East Scarborough Storefront
Toronto Neighbourhood Centres | Ontario Nonprofit Network | Mowat Centre NFP
Vincent Place Inc. Men’s Shelter
Wilfrid Laurier University | Walls to Bridges
Journalist Gillian Steward was named the 2014-2015 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy. She investigated the implications of oil sands development for Canadians.
Pro Bono Law Ontario received the 2014 Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award.
We come to Atkinson from academe, business, government, journalism, labour and the wider community.
Board of Directors
Erik Mathiesen, President and Chair
Ali Rahnema, Treasurer
Colette Murphy, Executive Director
Christine Avery Nuñez, Director of Operations and Special Projects
Phillip Roh, Executive Assistant
Nil Sendil, Atkinson Intern (March-December)
Patricia Thompson, Senior Advisor
A 2014 financial summary can be downloaded here.
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Toronto, Ontario M5E 1E5
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