'Leaders for Change' Gather to Celebrate ICL's Third Anniversary

Melanie Matthews, Alumni Association Chair, with ICL Youth for Change Award Winners Luqman and Hiqman and Whitney Mitchell Bush. PHOTO: Jack Pocaluyko.

On Monday, November 18th, Olivia Chow, Ryerson University professor, hosted a celebration for the third year anniversary of the Institute for Change Leaders (ICL). Participants celebrated the winners of the first ICL Alumni Awards, and heard the latest update on Hong Kong resistance movement from veteran organizer, labour leader and former councillor Lee Cheuk Yan. Lee Cheuk-yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and former Hong Kong Legislative Councillor, joined participants via video conference for an engaging interview with Professor Charles Burton, an expert in Canada-China relations.


(L-R) ICL board members Rachel Berman and Kathleen Kellett with Lisa Barnoff, Dean of Ryerson's Faculty of Community Services. PHOTO: Jack Pocaluyko.

Participants were also introduced to the Institute for Change Leaders’ new Executive Director, Natasha Bood. Natasha is an arts administrator who has worked in some of Canada’s most innovative and exciting classical music organizations. From 2011 to 2018 Natasha was the Executive Director of the Toronto Summer Music Festival and Academy. hear about how Ryerson’s Institute for Change Leaders has had a transformative impact on the lives of students and partners.

"It's an honour to accept the role of Executive Director at ICL and to work with the exceptional team of people who are working to help the Institute achieve its mission of catalyzing change in our society,” said Natasha. “My thanks to the Board, the search committee and Olivia Chow for your leadership and support in this role."

Early Childhood Educators accepting their Team Building for Change Award. PHOTO: Jack Pocaluyko.

The Institute for Change Leaders provides training on community organizing and effecting social change. Over the last year, the Institute increased the number of students trained to 5000 students, held two sessions of our popular weekend Building Skills for Change courses for emerging change leaders, hosted 250 people from across the progressive movement at CanRoots East for a day of sharing, skill-building workshops, and case studies, and extended our training of childcare workers beyond to Vancouver, London, Durham and other cities.

Cassie Bell, Education Officer at AMAPCEO with ICL board member Bob Gallagher. PHOTO: Jack Pocaluyko.

ICL was also thrilled to present the first-annual Alumni Awards in four categories, recognizing the incredible organizing and campaign achievements ICL community members:

ICL Alumni Awards winners 2019

CWA Canada Storytelling for Change Award
For the most effective and powerful public narrative and communications work.
Winner: 280 Wellesley St. Residents' Association
After losing heat and water for 3 days in the middle of winter, 280 Wellesley residents decided to organize to fight for a safe and healthy living space. After attending a workshop with ICL, the Residents' Association began to canvass their neighbours and organize events, using the power of public narrative to build strong relationships and trust between tenants. The 280 Wellesley St. Residents' Association is using a foundation of shared storytelling to build a strong tenant association that is winning real accountability and material improvements in the lives of its members.

Strategic Win for Change Award
For campaigns that accomplished their strategic goals and won a real victory for social change.
Winner: Healthy Transportation Coalition
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.”

Team Building for Change Award
For campaigns that built power and new capacities through effective recruitment, deep relationship-building, and leadership development.
Winner: Lisa Johnston and Carolyn Ferns with the Association for Early Childhood Educators in Ontario’s (AECEO) Early Years Professionals Rise Up TO and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC). 
Lisa and Carolyn worked with ICL to develop the strength and skills of the early childhood educator (ECE) workforce and build an ECE-led movement for change. Through deep relationship-building and leadership development, this movement is building the power needed to win progress on wages and working conditions for registered early childhood educators (RECEs) and staff in Ontario. This year, they successfully pressured the Ford government to keep the $2 an hour wage enhancement grant which they received in 2018. Between 2017 to 2018, there were 86 more childcare centres and an extra 27,032 children that benefited from the early childhood education.

Youth for Change Award
For youth (under the age of 19) who organized and brought people together to achieve change in the face of uncertainty.
Winner: Luqman and Hiqman from the For Youth Initiative
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.

Latest posts

Share this page

Take action

Learning Together
Contact Us

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.

Toronto Metropolitan University