The 2016-2017 Atkinson Fellow Catherine Wallace with Atkinson's Executive Director Colette Murphy. Read more >

Investing in policy discourse and program excellence

In collaboration with Atkinson family and friends, the Foundation makes two annual awards. The Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy provides a seasoned Canadian journalist with the financial means to pursue a year-long investigation into a current policy issue. This award is a collaborative project of the Atkinson Foundation, the Honderich Family and Toronto Star. The Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award celebrates and supports one of Ontario’s leading child and youth organizations with a gift of $50,000.  The Atkinson Foundation and the Hindmarsh Family jointly sponsor this award.

Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy

Since 1988, we’ve been awarding the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy to a leading Canadian journalist. Fellows are supported for a period of one year – from September 1 to August 31 – to investigate a current policy issue and write a series of articles for publication in the Toronto Star. During this period, the Fellow works exclusively on his or her project and receives a stipend of $75,000 and up to $25,000 for research expenses.

The Atkinson Foundation, the Honderich Family and Toronto Star are joint sponsors of this award.



Atkinson Fellows in Public Policy are:

  • Canadian citizens or landed immigrants
  • Full-time practicing print, broadcast or online journalists
  • Seasoned professionals who have achieved distinction in reporting on public policy issues.

How to Apply

Please provide your curriculum vitae and summarize your story and its importance to Canadian society in a three-page letter of intent. In your letter, you should demonstrate considerable familiarity with your chosen topic. You should also articulate the specific policy questions you want to pursue. Letters may be submitted in either English or French.

The Selection Committee is open to research ideas on a wide range of topics. Preference will be given to issues that are at the forefront of public policy debate and have significant implications for Canadian society. The Fellowship will not be awarded to projects in history, anthropology, literature or folklore.

You are encouraged to reflect on the Foundation’s mission: to promote social and economic justice. The Selection Committee uses it as the basis for its deliberations.

All submissions will be reviewed. Finalists will be invited to present full proposals for which they will receive a honourarium.


We’ll begin accepting applications for the 2017-2018 Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy through our simplified online application system in Fall 2016 until February 1, 2017.

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact Jenn Miller at


For announcements and updates regarding the 2017-2018 Fellowship, please to our mailing list or follow us in social media.


2015 Michelle Shephard
How can we end terrorism without feeding it?
2014 Gillian Steward
Shifting Sands: Canada’s Oilsands Bargain
2013 Peter Goodspeed
Canadian Refugee Policy in a Divided World
2012 Michael Valpy
How Do We Live Together: Diversity, Belonging and Citizenship
2011 Neil Sandell
Good Work Hunting: In Search of Answers for the Young and Jobless
2010 Ann Dowsett Johnston
Women and Alcohol
2009 Kate Taylor
Northern Lights: Keeping Canadian Culture Ablaze
2008 Alanna Mitchell
Brainstorm: The Secret to Better Schools
2007 Judy Steed
Boomer Tsunami: Ontario Braces for a Grey Wave
2006 Ed Struzik
Arctic in Peril: The New Cold War
2005 Marie Wadden
Tragedy or Triumph: Canadian Public Policy and Aboriginal Addiction
2004 Ann Silversides
Canadian Biomedical Research – In Whose Interests?
2003 Andrew Duffy
Class Struggles: Public Education and the New Canadian
2002 Anne Rees
Red File Alert: Public Access at Risk
2001 Margaret Philip and Patti Gower
When the Bough Breaks
2000 Linda Goyette
Here to Stay
1999 Alison Griffiths and David Cruise
Hear No Evil
1998 Frances Bula
No Place Like Home
1997 Scott Simmie
Out of Mind: A Study of Canada’s Mental Health Care System
1996 Lisa Priest
Operating in the Dark: Accountability in our Health Care System
1996 André Picard
A Call to Alms: The Voluntary Sector in the Age of Cutbacks
1995 Lois Sweet
The Fourth “R”: Religion in our Classrooms
1994 Miville Tremblay
Hostage to the Debt
1994 Sandra Martin
The Politics of Equity
1993 Anne K. Mullens
Euthanasia: Dying for Leadership
1992 Marci McDonald
Taking Orders: How the U.S. Shaped Canada’s Foreign Policy
1991 Daniel P. Stoffman
Pounding at the Gates: A Study of Canada’s Immigration System
1991 Linda McCuaig
Canada’s Social Programs Under Attack
1990 Andrew Nikiforuk
AIDS: How Health Campaigns Have Missed the Mark
1990 Daniel J. Smith
The Struggle for Self Rule: A Study of Canada’s Native People
1989 Paul D. McKay
Plundering the Future: On the State of Canada’s Environment
1988 Ann Pappert
The Reproductive Revolution: On the Social and Policy Implications of Reproductive Technology

Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award

Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh was a life-long advocate for children and youth who are growing up in difficult circumstances.  She believed in the power of individuals coming together – as organizations and communities – to nurture resilience in children, reduce vulnerabilities within families, and affect lasting change in society.

In Ruth’s memory, the Hindmarsh Family and the Atkinson Charitable Foundation make an annual award of $50,000 to one of Ontario’s leading child and youth organizations to celebrate and support their efforts. We want to recognize promising ideas, approaches and results as well as the compassion, ingenuity and courage of the people behind them.


You’re invited to nominate an organization that is making Ontario healthier, fairer and more inclusive for children and youth to grow up.  In a signed nomination letter no longer than four pages, tell us:

  1. The full name of the organization (self-nominations are accepted).
  2. The charitable registration number of the organization.
  3. A brief description of the organization (e.g. mission, goals, objectives, programs).
  4. Concrete examples of how the organization is making a difference in the lives of children and youth growing up in difficult in circumstances.
  5. A brief description of how the organization’s work is innovative, unique and exemplary.
  6. A statement of how the award would be used.

Address your letter to:

The Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award Selection Committee
c/o Atkinson Foundation

The 2015 application process for the 2016 Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award has now closed. For announcements and updates, please  to our mailing list.


2015 Child Development Institute (CDI)
Through its SNAP mental health program, the Child Development Institute is providing families with support and tools that help keep children in school and out of trouble.
2014 Pro Bono Law Ontario
Pro Bono Law Ontario is bridging the justice gap for low-income families and children in Ontario.
2013 BOOST Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention
Serving the GTA and Barrie, BOOST is committed to eliminating abuse and violence in the lives of children, youth, and their families.
2012 Choices Youth Shelter
Located in Orangeville, Choices Youth Shelter is the only emergency shelter for homeless and at-risk rural youth in Dufferin County.
2011 Adventure Place
With a focus on prevention, early intervention and intensive day treatment, Adventure Place integrates effective and accessible services for disadvantaged children in the Greater Toronto Area.
2010 Jessie’s – The June Callwood Centre for Children and Families
Dedicated to supporting pregnant young women, young parents and their children, the Centre provides education, health services and much needed emotional support in downtown Toronto.
2009 Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network (CPAN)
As a grassroots network, CPAN minimizes the effect that poverty has on children living in Renfrew County by providing practical assistance and engaging in advocacy and public education.
2008 Tikinagan Child and Family Services
Serving 30 communities in the western portion of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Tikinagan provides an innovative, culturally-sensitive approach to child welfare as well as child and family services.
2007 Pathways to Education Canada
Originating Toronto’s Regent Park, Pathways now helps young people in 12 low-income communities across Canada graduate from high school and successfully make the transition into post-secondary education.
2006 Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC)
Located in a three-story house near downtown Toronto, PARC has filled a serious gap in services for youth leaving care by providing counseling, employment, an alternative school and housing as well as opportunities to give voice to their experiences.
2005 The Teresa Group
The first organization to work with children affected by HIV/AIDS and their families in the Greater Toronto Area, the Teresa Group provides a broad range of compassionate front-line services as well as information and education programs.
2004 Yorktown Child and Family Services
With a focus on treatment, prevention and outreach, Yorktown Family Services is a mental health agency serving children, women and families in one of Toronto’s most ethnically diverse communities.
2003 The Gatehouse
A unique and innovative 24/7 centre in Etobicoke, the Gatehouse brings together services dedicated to supporting the victims of child abuse and works in partnership with police and other agencies on abuse prevention.
2002 Massey Centre for Women
For over 100 years,the Massey Centre for Women has provided a wide variety of services and programs for pregnant teenagers and young, single mothers and their children in the Greater Toronto Area.
2001 Youth Assisting Youth
A peer mentoring program based in Toronto, Youth Assisting Youth matches 6 – 15 year olds with 16 to 29 year olds to forge mutually supportive relationships and strong, caring communities.
2000 Family Enrichment Program
Located in North Bay, the Family Enrichment Program is a community response to families in crisis with a range of social and educational supports.
1999 Ryerson Community School
An inner city full service school in downtown Toronto, Ryerson is a model for the promotion, prevention and intervention approach to preparing the community for the start of school and supporting the community throughout the year.
1998 Native Child and Family Services
Based in downtown Toronto, Native Child and Family Services is Ontario’s only full service, off reserve, child welfare initiative under the direct control and management of the Aboriginal community.