About Ashoka Canada

About Ashoka Canada

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 our network of leading changemakers. We work with this inspiring network to amplify solutions and embed empathy and changemaking into Canadian society.

Our longest-running program is the Venture process, which sets catalytic social entrepreneurs on the path to join our community of 52 Canadian Fellows. In 2012, this was joined by the Canadian AshokaU, which fosters changemaking at university and college campuses. More recently, we have expanded into K-12 schools with Start Empathy. Our two Changemaker Campuses and Changemaker Schools 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. 

You can engage directly with Ashoka Canada in a variety of ways – to learn more please contact us by email: canadainfo@ashoka.org, on twitter: @ashokacanada, or phone: 416-646-2333 .

Connect with Ashoka Canada

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

Our Programs

Ashoka Canada has:

  • Reached a network of 52 Fellows across Canada, including 10 Senior Fellows
  • Invested more than $3 million in social entrepreneurs and innovators since 2002
  • Connected Canadian Fellows to the global network of Ashoka Fellows, including Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) and Matt Flannery (Kiva.org)
  • Connected Canadian Fellows to global events like the Clinton Global Initiative and the Skoll World Forum, giving them the chance to learn about management systems for citizen sector organizations, new approaches for communicating with funders, creating partnerships with other Ashoka Fellows in areas of mutual interest, and connecting to members of the global Ashoka Support Network
  • Enabled Fellow Al Etmanski to participate in a global collaboration with 16 other Ashoka Fellows from five continents. The (Dis)Ability Initiative resulted in an exchange of methodologies and a book entitled "CREATING CHANGE: Innovations in the World of Disability" that was published in Polish (and will be published in English)

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. Currently, Ashoka Canada is seeking to expand and strengthen the diversity of the Canadian Fellowship with leading social entrepreneurs who come from, and/or are working to solve social problems affecting, Indigenous and Immigrant/Newcomer communities.

Click here to see a list of our current Canadian fellows

Ashoka Canada launched Start Empathy in early 2016 by leveraging Ashoka’s global best practices, network, and impact, and with support from the O’Neil Foundation. We recently announced our first cohort of Changemaker Schools, and are currently building our network of influencers in the education space. During the next three years, we will designate a number of K-12 Changemaker Schools across Canada, build partnerships with faculties of education, convene change leaders from Changemaker Schools country-wide, and build a national campaign about the importance of changemaker skills in education.

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. In 2013, Ryerson University was the first Canadian campus to be designated a Changemaker Campus, followed in 2016 by Wilfrid Laurier University. 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. In 2016, Ashoka Canada co-hosted a Canadian Network Day for Canadian Exchange delegates with RECODE & the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and we have recently launched the Ashoka U Commons for Canadian and American school administrators. Learn More.

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.
  • Take part in Ashoka field trips to Fellow sites that will open a new understanding of the societies in which they work
  • 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 (President), CEO, Ashoka
Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur. As a student at... ...more
William Carter (Vice President), Everyone a Changemaker Leader, Ashoka Africa
Bill Carter was one of Ashoka's founding Board members. After... ...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 CEO of Corporate Knights Inc. He spearheaded... ...more
Edward J. Waitzer (Former Treasurer)
Ed Waitzer is the Jarislowsky Dimma Mooney Chair in Corporate... ...more

Staff

Executive Director Barb Steele has a knack for bringing out ...more
When Empathy and Changemaker Schools Director Amy Satterthwaite first read ...more
Leading Ashoka Canada's university strategy ...more
Interim Ashoka U Canada Director, Danica Straith has an ambitious ...more