Since launching in 2016, the Institute for Change Leaders has trained over 7,000 future leaders, organizers and change-makers from progressive non-profits, labour unions, and social movements.

Here are four stories incredible stories from among that 7,000: stories of hope, activism and impact from members of the ICL community.

Winning emergency funding for childcare

During this time of intense confusion and fear, AECEO organized Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) from across the province to secure funding to sustain the child care system amidst the pandemic. Through training sessions, networking, individual support, and mass events, AECEO supported ECEs to speak directly to their elected officials and share their experiences and concerns, and to request funding be made available, as soon as possible, to prevent the crumbling of an already overburdened Early Childhood Education & Care system.

ICL supported AECEO through large-scale trainings in our core organizing curriculum, and individual events such as widely attended "how to meet your MP/MPP" webinars.

On September 23rd the Federal Government announced that $625 million of the Safe Restart Agreement was was to be used to "address the reduced availability of child care spaces and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic."

The AECEO called it a “bold statement which shows the power of advocacy and raising our collective voice."

Winning affordable housing

In 2019 the Healthy Transportation Coalition worked with ICL to train their activists on the fundamentals of community organizing. Their strategic goal: secure $12 million in the 2019 Ottawa City Budget for affordable housing near rapid transit. We worked with them to hone their story, teach recruiting and canvassing skills, and map out a strong theory of change. By February, 2019 their work had paid off: the city proposed $30-million to build 250 new units this year, many of which would be built near transit.

“We still have a lot more work to do,” said Trevor Haché, member-at-large, “but with the excellent training provided by the Institute, we feel confident that we can continue to motivate elected officials to create housing, transit, and a city for all.”

Winning the vote

Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois organized ‘get out the vote’ efforts in Illinois during the 2020 presidential election, part of their ‘Voting our Values’ – Engaging Our Neighbors’ campaign to engage UU congregations in conversations around the values and visions in play in the 2020 elections and beyond. UUANI built leadership in congregations to develop relationships with community members around participating in the democratic process. 

ICL worked with UUANI to hold trainings in narrative storytelling, deep canvassing, and building teams for growth and leadership development.

The campaign established a team of state leaders who monthly reached out to each congregation to discuss what they were doing, what they needed help with, and what resources they had developed. WIth an estimated 380 volunteers engaged in the campaign, UUANI was able to reach 33,500 voters, including thousands in swing states around the country.

Winning respect for culturally-relevant dress

Luqman and Hiqman organized students attending George Harvey Collegiate Institute to challenge a ban on wearing du-rags in school. ICL and For Youth Initiative worked with these students to develop the skills they needed to organize their classmates to work towards a common goal. Thanks to their campaign, the principal changed the dress code to allow du-rags in school, recognizing it as a culturally relevant dress for Black youth.

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The Institute for Change Leaders is a Canadian registered charity that can issue official donation receipts (no. 763310679 RR 0001). ICL is brought to you by the Faculty of Community Services at Toronto Metropolitan University.

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