The Atkinson Charitable Foundation was established in 1942 by Joseph E. Atkinson. In the categories of health, social welfare, economic justice, education and culture, the Foundation has given more than $68 million since its inception.
Our founder was perhaps best known as publisher of the Toronto Star, running the newspaper from 1899 to 1948. In this role, Atkinson shaped the newspaper into a powerful voice for social reform. A brilliant and provocative editorialist, he used his paper as a pulpit, calling for policies that would ease social and economic inequalities.
In almost every aspect of his life, Atkinson challenged Canadians to create a just, equitable, safe and healthy society for all citizens, no matter what their circumstances. Atkinson believed the truest measure of progress is how communities support and provide opportunities to the disadvantaged. Today, social policies such as minimum wage, old age pensions, and disability pensions are partly due to Atkinson's unrelenting advocacy.
Atkinson headed the Toronto Star until his death on May 8, 1948, at the age of 82. In his will, Atkinson left the bulk of his fortune to a charitable trust in his name. The Atkinson Charitable Foundation and the Toronto Star are still today bound by his guiding principle: “Humanity, above all.”
Learn more about Joseph E. Atkinson and his lifelong fight for social reform.