News Release: CivicAction’s Tamara Balan named a ‘vital’ leader by the Toronto Community Foundation

published in News Release

TORONTO, Feb. 23, 2012 – CivicAction’s Tamara Balan has been announced as one of the Toronto Community Foundation’s new Vital People and the recipient of a leadership grant. The Vital People grant program recognizes valued leaders who are making outstanding contributions working at not-for-profit organizations by supporting their continued training and professional development.

As project Director with CivicAction, Tamara is responsible for leading CivicAction’s efforts with the ELN and The DiverseCity initiatives.  She receives this award in particular for her outstanding leadership with the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN), which is a diverse network of more than 500 emerging civic leaders committed to advancing the Toronto region.  The ELN convenes leaders, catalyzes action and supports the city-building projects coming out of the initiative.


As a recipient of the Vital People award, Tamara receives a grant to collect and share best practices in measuring the value and impact of multi-sectoral collaborative leadership, from local and international perspectives.


“Tamara is a tremendous leader and a dynamic and motivated city-builder,” said Mitzie Hunter, Chief Executive Officer of CivicAction.  “In her four years at CivicAction, Tamara has proven her ability to link ideas, people and organizations to build the social capital of individuals and of CivicAction.  This grant will be a fabulous opportunity for Tamara to use her skills to quantify the value of the collaborative leadership model, and her findings will undoubtedly be of great value to the region and to CivicAction.”


Vital People are selected for their ability to take initiative, make a contribution, and demonstrate leadership in the not-for-profit sector. Grants of up to $5,000 are funded through the Community Foundation’s  Vital Toronto Fund and awarded to support the formal training or other informal development opportunities that best enable not-for-profit leaders to build their skills and knowledge or apply their experience in different ways to enhance their leadership contributions.


“Toronto benefits significantly from the not-for-profit organizations playing a key role in addressing the city’s critical issues,” said Rahul K. Bhardwaj, Toronto Community Foundation, President & CEO. “But, we’re seeing two significant trends related to not-for-profit leadership. Many organizations are facing a lack of middle management infrastructure and our aging population also means we have aging leaders. We need to better support and equip the next generation of leaders to handle the challenges ahead.”


Since 2004, the Toronto Community Foundation has invested more than $359,000 in the professional development of 75 leaders.  This year, with additional gifts from the Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation and Griggs Family Foundation at the Toronto Community Foundation, Vital People grants were awarded to 12 leaders, a total of investment of $54,400. 


For a complete list of this year’s Vital Toronto grant recipients, please visit


- 30 -

About CivicAction:

CivicAction is a multi-sectoral coalition of thousands of civic leaders committed to acting collectively to tackle tough issues and big opportunities facing the Toronto region. CivicAction's Greater Toronto Summits bring leaders from all walks of life together to assess the region's strengths and challenges and to identify priority areas and opportunities for attention. In the periods between Summits, CivicAction takes a role in incubating innovative initiatives designed to galvanize action in these priority areas.

Using a model of collaborative leadership, CivicAction's current initiatives are aimed at: making the Toronto region flourish through environmental action and innovation (Greening Greater Toronto); creating a leadership landscape that better reflects the region's diversity (DiverseCity: the Greater Toronto Leadership Project in partnership with Maytree); and connecting and supporting rising city-builders (the Emerging Leaders Network).

For more information, visit

About Toronto Community Foundation:
With more than 325 endowment funds and assets under administration of more than $250 million, the Toronto Community Foundation is one of Canada’s largest public charitable foundations. Our mission is to connect philanthropy to community needs and opportunities, all with a vision to make Toronto the best place to live, work, learn and grow, through the power of giving.


For more information, please contact:


Rebecca Geller

Communications and Events Officer


(416) 209-4480 x 509 (work)

(416) 992-4966 (cell)