Projects & Activities

The Creative Trust Research Fellowship at the Toronto Arts Foundation offers us the opportunity to play a continuing role in helping the arts sector grow stronger, more resilient, and more essential to life in our city. The Research Fellowship’s mandate is to continue building the capacity of the arts community

• using the experience and knowledge of Creative Trust to develop and share resources, undertake new research into best practices, ensure access to information, and build the skills and capacity of arts organizations, including through collaboration and new partnerships

• partnering with the Toronto Arts Foundation to encourage artistic and management excellence and broader recognition of the high calibre and achievements of Toronto artists

Following the successful conclusion of Creative Trust, we are also committed to expanding the borders of our work, extending the reach of our collaborative approach to capacity, audience and space building to other arts sectors in Toronto and beyond.

Toronto Arts Facts

Toronto Arts Facts is a publication of Toronto Arts Foundation, compiled and edited by Jini Stolk, Creative Trust Fellow, with Kathleen McLeod and Kasia Gladki. It gathers together key information about the arts in Toronto from a wide variety of research studies and statistical resources in the areas of the arts’ role in the economy, its impact on communities, and its place in people’s lives. Toronto Arts Facts is a source of fact-based information for funders, policy makers, and arts practitioners.

Building Capacity through Resources and Information

Governance and Board Management
One of our most important areas of work at Creative Trust was governance and board management. This continues to be a priority for the Creative Trust Research Fellowship at the Toronto Arts Foundation, where we are creating materials and workshops on the importance of clearly defined governance policies; carefully designed roles and responsibilities for board and staff; and a commitment to mutual respect and open communication as key characteristics of successful arts organizations.

Open Source Resources: the Creative Trust Model
We have created Open Source Tool Kits – available on the Creative Trust Research Fellowship and Toronto Arts Foundation websites – to allow other communities to explore and borrow from our process and achievements in the areas of:

Exploring the Feasibility
Developing the Organization
Collaborative Fundraising
Creating the Program
Grants and Awards Processes
Board and Governance
Expanding the Mandate
Collaborative Audience Building; and Collaborating to Develop Facilities

Evaluating What Worked (and Why)
We will continue to analyze and document the key learnings of Creative Trust’s sustainability programs in case studies highlighting the program’s impact on participating individuals and companies.

Building Capacity through Collaboration

We believe that Creative Trust’s journey can inspire other communities – not only by what we did but by how we did it – and we are continuing to develop ways of sharing our experience, expertise and resources. We hope to set the stage for active sharing where commitment to organizational and sector development is matched by leadership and readiness to undertake collaborative learning and growth.

Our goal is to encourage arts communities to take a new look at how to confront their most pressing challenges – and to spur our own community to continue its pursuit of excellence in practice, through collaborative growth and learning.

We are currently actively collaborating with:

Creative Trust Barrie
A partnership project between Talk is Free Theatre, Theatre by the Bay, and Barrie Film Festival, using the successful model of Creative Trust to build the financial and organizational sustainability of arts organizations in Barrie.

Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN)
We are working closely with The Ontario Nonprofit Network, a strong and effective voice for the essential contributions of nonprofits – including arts and cultural organizations – in community development, social health, and creating a strong and equitable society.

The Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education (PAONE)
Following the release of the Performing Arts Education Overview (PAEO), a groundbreaking research projected undertaken in partnership with PAONE (the Profession Arts Education Network of Ontario), we organized three workshops between January and May 2012 attended by over 95 arts educators, performing arts managers, artistic directors, academics, teachers, and arts service organizations. Each of these action-focused sessions spoke to the desire to work together to build the impact and viability of the more than 24,460 arts education programs by Toronto-area performing arts organizations each year, reaching over 3 million participants.

This has become a starting point for what we hope will be real growth in the excellence and impact of these programs, and the building of stronger partnerships.

We’ve formed four Constellations, or working groups, to activate the PAEO’s recommendations around Evaluation and Communication; Collaborating and Sharing; Advocating; and Developing Partnerships. Each has begun to set action plans, divide up responsibilities, and get moving. This work will continue over the coming years. We welcome increased participation, and new voices and insights into this process. Please contact or

Young Associates
We are continuing our long-time collaboration with Young Associates to advance best practices in accounting and financial and data management for small and mid-sized artistic and charitable organizations.