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.
Ashoka Venture and Fellowship
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.
Ashoka Changemaker Schools
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
Ashoka Support Network
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.
Interim Ashoka U Canada Director, Danica Straith has an ambitious goal: to make changemaking education the new normal in Canada. She is one among many in a national network of change leaders putting social innovation at the forefront of higher education. While seeking out and engaging prospective Changemaker Campuses, she continues to grow support among students and administrators alike.
Danica was a changemaking student herself, co-founding a social enterprise between completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at McGill. She has also worked in Germany and East Africa as a researcher and consultant for social enterprises. Living and breathing the idea of “Everyone a Changemaker,” Danica is a firm believer in education as the driver of positive social change.