The GGAPSS Community Donations Fund supports grassroots community projects and organizations that are are making an equitable impact in the fields of geography and planning. The purpose of this fund is to build relationships between the university and surrounding communities, share resources, and support student engagement with community-based initiatives.
2016 Call for Applications
We are looking for applications that (1) support equity-building and anti-oppression, (2) are run by volunteers, (3) have clear connections to GGAPSS members and/or the Geography and Planning Department as well as GGAPSS’ anti-oppression mandate, and (4) have a specific use lined up for GGAPSS funds. Since our funding is limited, we also extend our support in promoting events, designing posters, recruiting volunteers and booking rooms. If you are starting or supporting a project or organization that engages in equity-building, anti-oppression and other social-justice oriented activities, please apply!
Deadline for Applications: Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 12 p.m.
If you have any questions, please contact the GGAPSS VP External and Equity, Mercedes Sharpe Zayas: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to view the 2016 call for applications poster.
The following is a list of our previous donations. If you have any information about the donations made pre-2012/2013, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
In 2014/2015, we were able to support:
- Latin American/Latin@ Feminisms Course (LALFC)/MUJER: MUJER is a community organization that promotes programs, resources, and services that respond to the needs of Latin-American womyn and youth. LALF is a seven-week course that focuses on Latin@/Latin American womyn’s experiences, activism, feminisms and contributions to social movements across the Americas. The course invites womyn‐identified persons with Latin American, Indigenous, and/or Afro‐Latin@ roots to learn about their histories so that they can engage with questions of identity and take action on issues impacting them and their communities.
- Marcus Garvey School: The Marcus Garvey School Program responds to the unacceptable levels of poverty and violence facing Black and other racialized youth in the Jamestown neighborhood. The weekly after-school program consists of two hours of basketball followed by two hours of workshops and discussions on social issues impacting the participants. 35 children and youth attend, mostly residents of nearby TCHC developments, and the collective has 5 volunteers, many of whom are residents of the community. They extend support beyond program hours by defending families of participants against evictions and criminal charges. They regularly organize town halls and know-your-rights workshops.
- Newcomer Youth DIY Documentary Workshop: Employing an anti-oppression framework, this hands-on documentary advocacy project will aim to raise the profile of refugee highschool youth. They will hold a 2-week long free documentary film-making workshop in Kitchener, Ontario in collaboration with the Mennonite Centre for Refugee Support and the The Working Centre (The Queens Commons Film Studio). The workshop is a continuation of a free workshop they held last summer in which six newcomer highschool youth learned documentary techniques and directed and edited their own documentaries that highlighted their obstacles of living in Canada as non-citizen, racialized youth, as well as how they exercise citizenship through the creative arts. They will replicate the former model for this year’s workshop which will occur in Summer 2015.
- Taller Sol y Luna:“Taller Sol & Luna” a community-based painting class, supported by WWCC, provides community members an opportunity to participate in cultural and artistic activities that celebrate their unique talents, showcase their artwork, deepen community engagement and strengthen relationships among diverse communities. “Taller Sol & Luna” meets weekly at WWCC and has 13 active members who reflect our diverse community. This is a volunteer-lead program working with donated resources and materials. “Taller Sol & Luna” focuses on the fundamentals of colour theory, composition,perspective, paint handling, and application, while developing one’s own creative and perceptual skills.
- Latin American Education Network (LAEN): The Latin American Education Network is a network of youth, parents, organizations, and individuals with the shared vision of a strengthened and united Latin American community in Toronto supported by a network of diverse educational initiatives. On February 28, they are holding our third annual education conference, From Dialogue to Action, where they will facilitate various groups of youth, parents, and community/educators into building an action plan to engage with the education system as a collective. They are then inviting trustees and senior staff members to attend the conclusions of this conference to look for avenues for collaboration.
- Asian Diaspora & Indigenous Collective: The project is a coalition between settlers of Asian descent and Indigenous peoples to build art-based projects that address issues of equity, migration, settler colonialism in forms of redress and/or reconciliation. The group is a grassroots volunteer membership of youth interested in building bridges through dialogue and praxis.
In 2013/2014, after combining the ‘Events’ and ‘Donations’ funds (due to lack of overall funding), we were able to support:
- The Toronto Nepali Film Festival: Each spring the Nepali Film Festival takes place in Toronto, showcasing new films by Nepali filmmakers and bringing together members of Toronto’s Nepali communities and many others. GGAPSS support has helped to bring people to the festival who otherwise may not have been able to afford to attend.Nepali Film Festival has been organizing a one to two-day film.
- The South Asian Women’s Rights Organization: “SAWRO is a grass root community organization working to resolve community problems in the Teesdale neighbourhood (Scarborough). What makes SAWRO remarkable is its deep presence in the community (rather than as simply a service agency that residents come to) and the fact that it is both a settlement organization and political organization (which is extremely rare). SAWRO is driven by the women who use its services: ‘SAWRO belongs to the community women who are building the organization and using its services. All women in the community are invited to become members of SAWRO and to have a say in how their organization operates.” Several GGAPSS members have been involved with SAWRO through research and other work.
- CultureLink’s Bike to School Program: CultureLink is a settlement agency for new Canadians in Toronto that assists newcomers looking for employment, helps families navigate the school system and provides newcomer youth with the skills necessary for bright and successful futures. They support refugees and bring together new and established Canadians. A second year planning student evaluated CultureLink’s current Bike to School project, and our contribution can help fund other students to analyze programming at two other schools were CultureLink has ongoing bike projects.
In the 2012-2013 academic year, six organizations received Community Donations funding:
- No More Silence: This is a coalition of indigenous women and allies working to raise awareness of the systemic injustice and impunity surrounding the murders and disappearances of indigenous women across Turtle Island (North America). They hosted two events in April 2013 at the University aimed at bringing together academics and non-profit, grassroots organizers who are often on opposite sides of an artificial divide when it comes to these conversations.
- The Revolutionary Women’s Collective: An organization led by working-class women from diverse communities around Toronto who work together to address the issues they face. From rally’s for affordable childcare to BBQs with conversations on mental health, the RWC takes on political organizing and facilitates education in the form of workshops and more.
- Student Aid and Learning Opportunities: SALO is a community-building practice that involves youth tutoring, mentoring and support for racialized students at different levels of schooling that is hosted by volunteers twice a week at U of T. As well as homework help they engage in critical conversations about issues of social justice, racism and equity that members bring forward each week.
- Pemitaieg Ugjit Nm’tginen: This coalition – which means “Walking for Our Ancestors” – hosted a symposium here at the university in May of 2013. Following on the heels of Idle No More week, this event aimed to contribute to building a broad base of informed support for the movement among indigenous and non-indigenous people.
- The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty: OCAP is a direct-action anti-poverty organization that has been working for 20 years with poor and homeless people and their allies (including many at U of T) to oppose government policies that impact poor and working people.
- The Frankel Lambert Community Garden: This community garden was initiated by a GGAPSS member and aims to connect all sorts of community members in the neighbourhood in which it’s located. It offers free garden plots and partners with Toronto Community Housing, housing co-ops and a neighbourhood senior’s residence.
Three other organizations received Community Events funding:
- The Toronto Nepali Film Festival: Each spring the Nepali Film Festival takes place in Toronto, showcasing new films by Nepali filmmakers and bringing together members of Toronto’s Nepali communities and many others. GGAPSS support has helped to bring people to the festival who otherwise may not have been able to afford to attend.
- Idle No More Week @ U of T: The week involved a series of events, including talks, film screenings, entertainment, walking tour, etc. related to the Idle No More movement. It was organized by a collective of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students at U of T including a number of students from our department.
- Nation to Nation: Idle? Know More – The Conversations: The Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity Network hosted, along with partners, a symposium on moving the Idle No More movement forward into Idle KNOW More. This educational and strategic planning gathering had a particular focus on Anishnabe and Haudenasaunee nationhood – the nations on whose lands we are on – and was held in Hart House.