Recipe for Community
Jason Wagar, Donor Services and Marketing Officer
416-921-2035 ext. 211
Charitable number: 13649 1875 RR0001
About this organization
Recipe for Community engages neighbourhood residents young and old to improve the sense of belonging and safety in their communities. It's one way we're improving our city from the ground up, one neighbourhood at a time.
With each Recipe for Community project, the goal is to facilitate resident-inspired projects that strengthen community belonging and pride, and build community skills and capacity.
History of Organization
Recipe for Community, a partnership between Toronto Community Foundation, and the City of Toronto, was launched in 2008 after the Toronto's Vital Signs Report highlighted a low sense of belonging and safety as key issues for our city.
In 2009, the Recipe for Community model was piloted in Alexandra Park, a public housing neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. Alexandra Park is home to 2,000 people from more than 20 different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Accolades and Accomplishments
The 2009 pilot, Recipe for Community: Alexandra Park, assisted residents in beautifying the neighbourhood's public spaces, developing a cooking club to share recipes and stories, creating a hot-selling community cookbook, providing summer jobs for youth in the neighbourhood, and strengthening existing and creating new residents' groups.
Residents feel better connected after Recipe for Community: Alexandra Park. Program participant Mary Wright says, "The people in the community have come together to build a strong community, and more importantly, a family of neighbours."
The Recipe for Community model is improving our city one neighbourhood at a time. In 2009, the pilot focused on Alexandra Park. The current Recipe for Community neighbourhood is St James Town. The Recipe for Community model focuses on resident-imagined projects around four key themes - or "ingredients":
1. Community Engagement & Capacity Building
4. Neighbourhood Beautification
Located in the north-east corner of downtown Toronto, St James Town is home to more than 17,000 people living in one city block, making it Canada's largest and most dense high-rise community. More than two-thirds of residents are newcomers to Canada, and the neighbourhood is home to people representing more than 25 different backgrounds.
Living in a vertical community poses its share of challenges, most notably a lack of connection to neighbours, poor sense of safety, and low sense of belonging.
Recipe for Community: St James Town has a wide variety of activities underway for 2010-2011, including:
- newly beautified park spaces and a park mural project
- a revitalized basketball court
- food handling certification workshops
- community cooking classes and culinary programs
- the publication of a neighbourhood recipe book reflective of the community's strength and diversity
- summer employment and outreach programs for youth
- bike repair workshops and services
- carpentry skills development programs, with a special focus on introducing women to the trades
- small business development program
Funding and Program Partners
Toronto Community Foundation is proud to lead Recipe for Community with the City of Toronto's Office of Partnerships. In St James Town, our lead program delivery partner is the City's Tower Renewal Project, with the support of many community partners, including Toronto Community Housing, Cabbagetown Youth Centre, Evergreen Brickworks, and many more.
Financial support has been generously provided by eight funds at the Toronto Community Foundation, and our corporate partners Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd., Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's Team Up Foundation, and in-kind through our many programming partners.
Recipe for Community: St James Town is now cooking for St James Town residents who will benefit from about $555,555 in capital and programming investments over the next 12 months.
In 2009, the Recipe for Community pilot in Alexandra Park demonstrated the program's ability to connect a diverse group of neighbours together to develop better connections to each other, to their neighbourhood, and to our city. The program has fostered a better sense of belonging and leadership in the community, and grown individual capacity.
Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program
"One-quarter of Toronto’s youth lack a sense of belonging to their local community, a feeling that increases significantly as they reach young adulthood:
- Just under 62% of Toronto residents reported feeling a strong or somewhat strong sense of belonging to their local community in 2009 (compared to 65.4% in Canada and down from 65.6% in 2008).
- Three out of four of those aged 12 -19 (76.7%) feel they belong, but one out of every two young adults (52.9% of those aged 20 - 34) feel the same."
(Toronto's Vital Signs®, 2009)
"My experience with the cooking class was amazing. Going through it with good friends just made it more enjoyable. Also, with great teachers like Julia and Chef Timmy, we got to learn a lot while we had fun. For example, we learned to cook a variety of food items, from muffins to Minestone soup. Outside from the cooking, we all learned life lessons, such as teamwork and hard work. Overall, it was a great experience and one of my favourite summer moments."
- Rafael, 16, participant, Recipe for Community: St James Town cooking program
"Instead of being outside causing trouble this summer, I was able to go to gym all summer to up my gaming skills. Now I feel like I will be able to be on the top of my game and can't wait for the house league to start up."
- Akim, 12, participant, Recipe for Community: St James Town basketball program
Activities a donation will support
A contribution to the Recipe for Community program will support resident-inspired projects in St James Town and future participant neighbourhoods. These projects, around the key themes of community engagement and capacity building, food, convening, and neighbourhood beautification, will help to develop and strengthen a sense of belonging.
The diverse residents of St James Town have many great ideas for projects they would like to start in their community. With your generous donation, you will provide the much-needed funds for more community-led programming in this Recipe for Community neighbourhood and others in the future. Your gift will help tie a neighbourhood - and our city - together.