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CivicAction Celebrates Civic Leadership and Announces the CivicAction Leadership Foundation

TORONTO, February 24, 2017 – Last night at MetroNext, CivicAction rolled out the red carpet for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s (GTHA) civic leaders and announced the new CivicAction Leadership Foundation. With issues of intolerance and division dominating the daily news cycle, the Foundation renews CivicAction’s commitment to building effective, collaborative, and civic-minded leadership. The CivicAction Leadership Foundation will focus on action and outcomes and builds on a decade of high-impact programming to further catalyze our region’s diverse leadership potential.

“This new one-of-a kind foundation will be a platform to connect leaders at all levels who care about our region and create a multiplier effect to make good things happen and reinforce our region’s world-class reputation,” said Tim Hockey, Chair, CivicAction Leadership Foundation Board and President and CEO, TD Ameritrade.

MetroNext was hosted this year by CBC’s Matt Galloway and speakers included the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne and Mayor of Toronto John Tory who spoke about the importance of leadership. “Strong civic leadership doesn’t get built by accident,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO, CivicAction. “MetroNext, and the new CivicAction Leadership Foundation, puts a spotlight on extraordinary rising and established leaders and helps take their city-building efforts to new levels of impact.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Civic Leadership was presented to Dr. Joseph Wong for his ability to mobilize local, national, and international communities to take action on social justice issues. Dr. Wong is the Founder and Chair of the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, former Chair of the United Way of Greater Toronto, and Founding Chair of the Board for ALPHA Education. He has been named one of Toronto’s most influential people by Toronto Life, appointed to the Order of Canada, and was recognized as one of the most influential community builders in Toronto’s history by the Toronto Star. Previous winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award include former City of Toronto Mayor David Crombie and Senator Ratna Omidvar.

The 2017 Emerging Leader Award went to Hibaq Gelle whose work focuses on building equitable communities for youth by harnessing the innovation of the non-profit, public, and private sectors. She is currently leading Community Benefits work in Rexdale and advocates for historically marginalized youth through her role on the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities and the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy Expert Panel.

“Leadership that is in the trenches and doing the work is often overlooked,” said Gelle. “As a Somali-Canadian who is challenging inequitable power structures, I am thrilled that CivicAction has seen the value of my work and I hope this award creates room for other women like me to imagine themselves in new ways.”

MetroNext is brought to you through support from TELUS, Allied Properties REIT, Bespoke Events and our media partner Toronto Life.

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Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

For more information please contact:
Sarah Harris Director, Communications
(416) 827-4541

About CivicAction: For over a decade, CivicAction has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of the GTHA’s toughest challenges. CivicAction sets a non-partisan agenda, builds strategic partnerships and launches campaigns, programs, and organizations that transform our region. To find out more visit or follow @CivicActionGTHA. Building on a decade of high-impact and award-winning leadership programming, CivicAction launched the CivicAction Leadership Foundation to further elevate and catalyze our region’s leadership potential. With a focus on advancing education, the Foundation harnesses the power of diverse leaders and empowers and activates all voices to influence and shape our region. Programs operated by the Foundation include the Emerging Leaders Network and DiverseCity Fellows.  For more information visit

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