Meet Gracia

I am the award-winning, Founding Executive Director of the Toronto Ward Museum, a community engaged charity I co-founded in 2015. Inspired by the Montreal Life Stories Project at Concordia University, the Museum acts as a catalyst for community based initiatives.  Under my leadership, the Museum has used collaborative processes to identify community priorities to create impact driven programs that are often supported by university based research, resources and expertise. 

 

Since 2016 I have collaborated with faculty, staff and students from the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University to supervise and design projects, placements and coursework for undergraduate and graduate students and have worked closely with faculty to explore research and grant opportunities that respond to community needs. My experience working for universities and the non-profit, community serving sector have contributed to my effectiveness in this effort.

 

During my tenure as Executive Director I have grown the organisation from a concept into an award-winning, multi-year funded, registered charity that has received over $1 million in funding. 

 

Guided by my vision and relying heavily on my extensive network and ability to negotiate strategic partnerships, in four years the Museum has: 

 

  • Onboarded staff, including 18 people on contract.

  • Partnered with over 45 organisations from across Canada, from multiple sectors.

  • Programmed events in 27 venues across the country.

  • Produced over 15 community led projects.

  • Received over 23+ million media impressions for media coverage. 

  • Received 130,000+ online visitors.

  • Established a community-based programming committee with a social enterprise working group to explore for profit opportunities.

  • Become a membership organisation guided by a 3 year strategic plan ratified by a Board of Directors.

 

My energy for this work is driven by my commitment to garnering solidarity for underrepresented voices in the effort to build a more just, equitable and sustainable future. My work is guided by an approach to community engaged research and partnerships that values community held knowledge and lived experience, and builds mutually beneficial relationships that establish and maintain solidarity between diverse groups and interests.