Ashoka’s Canadian branch was established in 2002 and aims to build a radically new Canada where solutions outrun problems—a country where everyone is a changemaker. Together, we recognize, support, and connect a national network of leading changemakers, amplifying solutions and embedding empathy and changemaking into Canadian society.

Our longest-running program is the Fellowship process, which sets catalytic social entrepreneurs on the path to join our community of 52 Canadian Fellows. In 2012, we introduced AshokaU, which fosters changemaking at university and college campuses. Our Changemaker Campuses are at the forefront of this shift into education. At our side in these programs is our Ashoka Support Network, composed of inspirational Canadian business entrepreneurs. 

To learn more please contact us by email here

 

Our Programs

Ashoka Canada elects Fellows at various stages of their lifecycle as social entrepreneurs. A Fellow may be just starting to get an innovative idea off the ground, or may have already achieved national impact and made a “scratch on history” with their idea. The Ashoka Fellowship program offers network and strategic support for its members throughout their careers as social entrepreneurs. Ashoka Canada is committed to ensuring that our network growth is intentionally developed to represent the diversity of Canada with respect to language, geography, culture, and gender. 

Click here to see a list of our current Canadian fellows

Ashoka Canada launched the Changemaker Schools initiative in early 2016 by leveraging Ashoka’s global best practices, network, and impact with support from the O’Neil Foundation.  From 2016-2018 we designated 6 schools for their commitments to teach the essential Changemaker skills of empathy, creativity, leadership, and teamwork. We are honoured to have the following schools in the Ashoka Network: 

  • Rose Avenue Public School
  • The Mabin School
  • Irma Coulson Public School
  • Vista HIlls Public School
  • Pearson College 
  • Twin Lakes Secondary School  

In 2019, we introduced a tool for parents, educators and young people. The Ashoka Canada Changemaker Pathway is a free, interactive, online, culture-shifting guide to help students and educators learn how to practice Changemaking in the classroom by using the latest techniques in design and systems thinking. Using empathy as a starting point, the Pathway walks students through the process of identifying a problem, viewing it within a system, and generating a solution in partnership with those closest to the problem. This robust resource has been developed to harness the valuable assets from the K-12 community and to summarize what we have learned over the past few years.

Our vision is to give all young people the opportunity to master changemaking skills and have a changemaking experience before the age of 20. We believe Canadian post-secondary institutions are key players in realizing this vision, due both to what they offer their students and to the role they play in society. We have been working in Canada with post-secondary institutions since 2012, thanks to an investment from the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation, our founding partner, as well as RBC Foundation. Ashoka U events include the Exchange, the world’s largest convening of social innovators in higher education, as well as our Changemaker Showcases, taking place at various Canadian schools.  Learn More. 

We currently have 7 designated Changemaker Campuses including: 

  • Ryerson University
  • Wilfred Laurier University
  • HEC Montreal 
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Mount Royal University
  • Georgian College 
  • Royal Roads University 

 

The Ashoka Support Network in Canada is a group of inspiring business leaders who share our belief that entrepreneurs are the primary engine for economic and social development. They support Ashoka Canada and its Fellows financially and strategically by providing guidance and expertise.

Ashoka pioneered the integration of entrepreneurship into social initiatives. We are building a network of business entrepreneurs and professionals around the globe. By creating a vibrant community for learning and sharing to achieve social impact, we aim to redefine the terms of engagement between the corporate and social realms.

Globally, the Ashoka Support Network consists of over 400 members in 20 countries throughout Europe, North America, South America, India and beyond as it continues to expand.

Consider joining the Ashoka Support Network if:

  • You are enjoying the rewards of a successful business career and wish to give back to society
  • You have experience creating change and achieving impact and wish to apply this knowledge to your philanthropic endeavours
  • You are frustrated with the traditional opportunities for philanthropic engagement
  • You want to transmit your entrepreneurial and social values to your family
  • You recognize that social entrepreneurship plays a crucial role in tackling social problems

As an Ashoka Support Network member you will have the opportunity to:

  • Get personally involved with leading social entrepreneurs in your country or abroad, acting as a coach or consultant, facilitating introductions, etc.
  • Be part of a global community of like-minded business professionals

What do we expect from Ashoka Support Network members?

  • A three-year financial commitment of $10,000 per year
  • Willingness to share your skills, experience and personal relations with Ashoka Fellows
  • Commitment to participating in and expanding our ASN network

ASN Member Testimonials

“The Ashoka community is an extensive one. . . . The reward for me to be engaged in this way is many dimensional; it gives me a great feeling of hope; my world has really changed being engaged with Ashoka.” 
—Peter Mortifee, ASN member since 2010

“Through its vision of Everyone a Changemaker and its renowned selection process, Ashoka is filling a crucial need in Canada for direct, lifelong support for social entrepreneurs. I see Ashoka Canada building on global Ashoka’s strengths and history by growing a strong Canadian fellowship which will collaborate with social entrepreneurs worldwide, with support from strategic partners.” 
—Bill Young, ASN member since 2007

Fellow Testimonials

“ASN member Peter Mortifee has been so readily available, thoughtful, and insightful as we have developed a social enterprise to support our charitable mission. We are now getting ready to launch, which would not have been possible without his engagement and expertise, along with that of many others in the Ashoka Network. Ashoka provides such truly invaluable resources and support.”  
—Jane Stoyles, Ashoka Fellow, founder of Canadian Center for International Justice

Board of Directors

Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur. As a student at... ...more
Bill Carter chairs Selection Panels around the world for Ashoka... ...more
Mary Gordon (Secretary), Founder/President, Roots of Empathy
Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an award-winning social entrepreneur,... ...more
Toby Heaps, CEO, Corporate Knights
Toby is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Corporate... ...more
Edward J. Waitzer (Former Treasurer)
Ed Waitzer is the Jarislowsky Dimma Mooney Chair in Corporate... ...more

Staff

Barbara Steele
Change Leader, Director of Ashoka Canada
Executive Director Barb Steele has a knack for bringing out ...more
Danica Straith
Interim Director, Ashoka U Canada
Interim Ashoka U Canada Director, Danica Straith has an ambitious ...more

Connect with Ashoka Canada

Telephone - 416-646-2333
Address:
366 Adelaide St. W
Suite 606
Toronto, ON M5V 1R9
Canada