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.

– 30 –

 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