Media Releases

Law in Action Within Schools director Sarah Pole lands Vital People Award

January 30, 2014

Toronto Community Foundation award recognizes leaders in community-building

TORONTO, ON — Sarah Pole, direc­tor of the ground­break­ing Law in Action With­in Schools (LAWS) pro­gram, received a Vital Peo­ple Award from the Toron­to Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion. These awards, announced today, offer grants in recog­ni­tion of val­ued com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers who are mak­ing out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions at not-for-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions. Grants are award­ed in sup­port of con­tin­ued train­ing and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment of the select­ed lead­ers.

LAWS is a part­ner­ship between the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Fac­ul­ty of Law and York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School to pro­vide men­tor sup­port and guid­ance to local high school stu­dents. It is fund­ed by Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Cana­da and the Law Foun­da­tion of Ontario. Under Pole’s lead­er­ship, LAWS has more than dou­bled in size and scope to encour­age youth fac­ing chal­lenges to suc­cess to attend post-sec­ondary insti­tu­tions and con­sid­er careers in law.

“I am thrilled and grate­ful for this Vital Fund Award which rec­og­nizes LAWS’ role in sup­port­ing Toronto’s full diver­si­ty,” said Pole. “Root­ed in the jus­tice sec­tor and using the law to engage stu­dents, LAWS works to lev­el play­ing fields, address inequity, reduce bar­ri­ers, and encour­age a wide diver­si­ty of youth to become active, engaged cit­i­zens, and to set high expec­ta­tions for them­selves.”

“We are proud to cel­e­brate these inspir­ing lead­ers that are build­ing Toron­to into the city we all want,” said Rahul K. Bhard­waj, Toron­to Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion pres­i­dent and CEO. “The vital­i­ty and well-being of our city counts on indi­vid­u­als who take ini­tia­tive, make a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion and demon­strate lead­er­ship.”

Grants of up to $5,000 are fund­ed through the Com­mu­ni­ty Foundation’s  endow­ment called the 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. The grants are avail­able to those just tak­ing on new lead­er­ship chal­lenges as well as those with many years of expe­ri­ence.

The grant enabled Sarah Pole to attend the Glob­al Alliance of Jus­tice Edu­ca­tion Glob­al Con­fer­ence in New Del­hi last month to present on LAWS’ inno­v­a­tive pro­gram mod­el and its col­lab­o­ra­tions with Fac­ul­ty of Law pro­grams, such as the Asper Cen­tre for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights and the Inter­na­tion­al Human Rights Pro­gram, that bring law stu­dents and LAWS high schools stud­ies togeth­er to exam­ine inter­na­tion­al issues and the mean­ing of glob­al cit­i­zen­ship. The grant will also facil­i­tate Sarah’s atten­dance at Harvard’s Strate­gic Man­age­ment Pro­gram for Lead­ers of Non-Gov­ern­men­tal Orga­ni­za­tions in Turkey in spring 2014.

Since 2004, the Toron­to Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion has invest­ed almost $450,000 in the pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment of 93 lead­ers.  This year, with addi­tion­al gifts from the Kevin Burke Foun­da­tion, Hon­ey Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion and Eri­ca Shut­tle­worth Fund at the Toron­to Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion, 10 lead­ers received Vital Peo­ple grants for a total invest­ment of $48,015.

Read the com­plete list of the 2014 Vital Peo­ple grant recip­i­ents.

About Law in Action With­in Schools:
LAWS is an inno­v­a­tive, jus­tice-themed youth out­reach part­ner­ship between the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Fac­ul­ty of Law, York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and the Toron­to Dis­trict School Board. LAWS deliv­ers a com­pre­hen­sive edu­ca­tion pro­gram aimed at sup­port­ing, guid­ing and moti­vat­ing stu­dents fac­ing chal­lenges to suc­cess in high school and in access­ing post-sec­ondary edu­ca­tion. LAWS works annu­al­ly with more than 1000 inner-city high schools stu­dents, and our pro­gram­ming is made pos­si­ble through the efforts of hun­dreds of jus­tice-sec­tor vol­un­teers includ­ing law stu­dents, lawyers, judges, jus­tices of the peace, as well as the sup­port of law firms, gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate legal depart­ments, and com­mu­ni­ty legal clin­ics.

About the Toron­to Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion:
With more than 350 endow­ment funds and assets under admin­is­tra­tion of more than $275 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.

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 For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Sarah Pole
Direc­tor, LAWS
Tel: 416–978-5841
Cell: 647–801-9301

Lucian­na Cic­co­ciop­po
Direc­tor, Exter­nal Rela­tions
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Fac­ul­ty of Law
Tel: 416–946-0334

Simone Dal­ton
Man­ag­er, Media Rela­tions & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
Toron­to Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion
Tel: 416–921-2035 x 218