The Atkinson Charitable Foundation strives to be a voice in the policy debates of important social issues. We accomplish this by:
- Linking and partnering with other organizations
- Generating new policy ideas
- Supporting innovative policy research through fellowships
- Convening meetings and roundtables among stakeholders
Moreover, the Atkinson Charitable Foundation believes in strategic philanthropy, meaning that we gear our funding to projects and activities that will bring about social change. Our funds allow organizations to develop the capacity needed to contribute to policy debates.
Early Learning and Child Care
In the tradition of our founder, the Atkinson Charitable Foundation has long been a champion of children and early learning in particular. The Foundation worked with the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and Woodgreen Community Services to model a blended program of kindergarten, child care and parenting support, which was known as Toronto First Duty.
This project informed the work of the Early Learning Advisor to the Premier and the implementation of full day learning in Ontario. Click here to read the full report With Our Best Future In Mind by the Early Learning Advisor on how to implement full day learning for 4 and 5 year olds.
While Ontario has committed to fully implementing full day learning for 4 and 5 year old children by 2015, challenges still lay ahead. The Atkinson Charitable Foundation continues to support the work of the Atkinson Centre at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, Better Child Care Education and People for Education with the aim of promoting the benefits of early learning and child care towards a vision of a pan-Canadian universal system that can benefit all children and families.
The Atkinson Charitable Foundation strongly believes in the words of our founder, Joseph E. Atkinson: “humanity above all.”
For this reason, we support a number of research and education projects that contribute to improved income security policies and poverty reduction objectives.
Through our Economic Justice Fellowships, we support the work of individuals who think and act for a more just Canada. Past fellows have studied many policy issues including First Nations children, housing and homelessness, early learning, immigration and settlement, racial equity and progressive economy.
The Foundation also facilitated and supported the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, whose aim was to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in five years. This network annually reports to the Ontario government on the progress of this objective and has been successful in achieving the child tax benefit and the child dental benefit plan.
Non-Profit Sector Innovation
The Atkinson Charitable Foundation supports the development of a more sustainable non-profit sector that engages the community it serves and has access to a robust body of evidence in order to inform and support the direction of policy. In partnership with other foundations, we are supporting a research project at the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation that is exploring potential policy changes that would allow for increased innovation and sustainability within the non-profit sector in Ontario.
As a strategic funder, we are always seeking new insights into how we can do our work better. Click here to download a recent article that highlights the granting strategy of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, particularly in relation to poverty reduction.