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Our Work in Toronto

This is an outstanding city.
But you don't just take.
You've got to build.

Fran Deacon

Wife of the late Fraser Deacon,
Founder of Toronto Foundation

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Social Impact Investing

New Models For Change

Today, 97% – the vast majority – of a Canadian foundation’s assets are invested in traditional investments. This means that for most Canadian foundations, the bulk of their assets are currently not being harnessed to make any kinds of intentional social impact. This represents a major opportunity for foundations to create new impact in Canada. 

Toronto Foundation is responding by shifting our social impact investing work from a pilot program to core business. Our Board of Directors approved a $10M pool of available funds, and working with our social impact partners at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, we made a number of high impact investments that address some key issue areas from our Toronto’s Vital Signs Report. 

Investment for Social Good

In 2018/19 Toronto Foundation piloted a unique Social Impact Investment Fund  for donors interested in establishing a permanent fund where we maximize every dollar of the investment for social good.


$750K green bonds

Founded in 2013, CoPower is Canada‘s first clean energy investment platform, providing impact investors with the opportunity to invest in a portfolio of senior, secured loans to clean energy infrastructure projects that generate a financial return and measurable climate benefits.

CoPower finances clean energy and carbon-reducing infrastructure across Canada, with the goals of:

  • achieving direct carbon reductions
  • accelerating the growth of the Canadian distributed clean energy market
  • empowering investors of all types to participate in sustainable impact investing, for profit and planet


$250K loan

Windmill provides low-interest microloans up to $10,000 for internationally trained professionals to earn their Canadian credentials. Over 12 years, Windmill has had impressive impact outcomes:

  • For individuals: Average wages go from $15K to $45K, unemployment goes from 40% to 10%, 74.5% end up with a job in their field by the time of repayment.
  • For society: Increased inclusion and less inequity, filling of labour shortages, and an increased pool of taxes.


$500K loan

Credit: Evergreen

Evergreen undertook a major capital redevelopment of the Kilns building at the Evergreen Brick Works. The redeveloped “Future Cities Centre” is now a convening space to support multi-sectoral collaborations to make cities flourish. This initiative is committed to accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy.



$500K equity investment

New Commons Development is a community-focused, housing-based nonprofit developer focused on the development of new affordable housing and the preservation and repositioning of existing affordable housing.


$1M loan

Artscape Toronto developed a brand new co-working facility that also serves as an incubator and entrepreneurial centre for art and design professionals in Toronto. With its unique combination of programs, services, and facilities, Artscape Launchpad Inc. is changing the landscape of Toronto’s thriving arts community and provide a major boost to Ontario’s $23 billion creative economy.


$1.5M loan

habitatHome ownership for low-income families who otherwise would never be able to enter the market has measurable impacts on their financial and overall well-being. Habitat for Humanity GTA’s Pinery Trail project is making home ownership a possibility for these families with the largest Toronto-based build to date, consisting of 50 townhouse units.





$650K loan

Rumie uses low-cost technology to affordably link isolated or disconnected communities to the latest and best free learning content available online for use where technology and the internet are limited. It is currently used via critical partnerships in Ontario working with newcomers and First Nations groups, and across 27 countries worldwide. Impact results include:

  • 50,000+ learning resources
  • 35,000 learners reached
  • 6,300 Indigenous related learning resources
  • 108 Indigenous dialects in the LearnCloud


$350K sustainable food fund

InvestEco is a certified B Corp providing impact fund management. The Sustainable Food Fund impact investment focus is in high growth North American companies that promote health and sustainability in the food and agricultural sector. Measurable social benefits for Ontarians include healthier food for consumers, better economies for small farmers, and the re-building of supply chains in smaller communities across Ontario.

Read our report on our social impact investing journey so far. For more information on Toronto Foundation’s social impact investing, contact COO, Denise Arsenault at 416-921-2035 x 207.