John Campey, Executive Director of SPT (pictured on right) receives a "Vital Ideas" Award on behalf of Social Planning Toronto at the Toronto Community Foundation's Award Ceremony on June 22, 2011. Other recipients included SEDI, Toronto Acorn, TO Fund for Student Success, and Working Skills Centre.
Social Planning Toronto’s (SPT) mandate is to create a liveable, affordable city by addressing four priority areas through community engagement, policy analysis, and research: labour markets and income security; education and human development; housing and community infrastructure; and public finance and resource allocation.
SPT has researched the impact of homelessness on children’s education in Toronto, and have found that 58% of children in shelters had attended three or more schools. They have identified problems homeless children face related to residential instability and family and school disruptions, and provide recommendations to educators and shelter staff to improve their situation.
The Vital Ideas grant supports translating the research into action by creating a resource that captures the impact of homelessness on children’s school success and shares best practices to improve their educational experience. The resource will help shelters and schools to address this complex issue, and to share strategies for removing barriers that vulnerable children and youth face.
Vital Ideas - High-Impact Initiatives in Toronto: Replication, Documentation and Promotion
A Vital Idea is a high-impact program, project, or organization that has been piloted or is currently in operation that helps make Toronto a better place to live, work, learn and grow. Our goal is to help connect these Vital Ideas with others in our community who can learn from them, benefit from them and support them to increase their impact. Our aim is to ensure that Vital Ideas secure the attention and support they deserve so that they can sustain and grow their contribution to improving Torontonians’ quality of life.
The Vital Ideas grant stream is unique in that it provides grants of up to $30,000 for strategic activities beyond direct programming. Vital Ideas grants enable proven, effective organizations to expand their reach, share their experience and better sustain their impact. The investment in these strategic activities is meant to be a one-time investment in building the capacity of not-for-profits.
The Toronto Community Foundation supports strategic activities that help make the impact of a Vital Idea more sustainable. In other words, the Vital Idea grant is not program funding but is a capacity-building grant (for use to increase the effectiveness of a program or organization). The Community Foundation provides grants of up to $30,000 over one year.