It’s no secret that our region is proud of its diversity. Home to over 200 ethnicities and 140 languages, half of our population was born under another flag. Diversity sets us apart from other cities, especially at a time when many people around the world are currently being seized with the reality that some cities will never open a door to them let alone offer a welcome mat.
But being diverse does not inoculate us from being divisive. Research recently published by Hire Immigrants shows job candidates with racialized names are significantly less likely to be called for a job interview, even when they have higher education and qualifications. Even with the progress made by women in leadership roles, racialized women are outnumbered by white women 7:1.
At CivicAction, we believe there is more work to do to build truly inclusive cities for everyone. That’s why we recently launched the new CivicAction Leadership Foundation at our annual celebration of civic leadership, MetroNext.
The Foundation will act as a dedicated entity that lives and breathes civic leadership—an organization that will create space for necessary conversations among diverse voices to help shrink the sidelines for people who have chronically felt resigned to them.
It will continue to provide CivicAction’s award-winning platforms and programs like DiverseCity Fellows, a free year-long fellowship that provides rising leaders from all sectors and GTHA communities with opportunities to build a more diverse network and scale their community impact. Now in its eighth year, the DiverseCity Fellows program has once again assembled a dynamic group of talent. Read more about them here.
The Foundation will also house CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN), a network created to develop, connect, and activate our region’s future leaders. Like DiverseCity, the ELN helps to accelerate personal leadership journeys, broaden and enrich perspectives, and incubate innovative city-building projects from dynamic young leaders.
At MetroNext, we also recognized two influential leaders from our region who’ve made it their job to address the fault lines of our city. Hibaq Gelle, currently leading Community Benefits work in Rexdale, and Dr. Joseph Wong, Founder and Chair of the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, were both presented with CivicAction leadership awards at the event hosted by CBC’s Matt Galloway. Read more about these two individuals here, and look for more about MetroNext’s highlights and guests in the March issue of Toronto Life magazine.
These examples show that strong civic leadership doesn’t happen by accident. Cities are shaped by those who step up—people who give the views in their head action on the ground.
Without the leaders and dreamers who have enabled the creation of the CivicAction Leadership Foundation, this significant milestone would not be possible. This many supporters, a great staff team and board and our inaugural Chair of the CivicAction Leadership Foundation: Tim Hockey, President and CEO of TD Ameritrade.
At CivicAction and the CivicAction Leadership Foundation, we are committed to scaling our impact, creating more spaces at the table, and leveraging the incredible diversity our region has to offer.
Thank you for playing a role in making our city-region the very best in the world.