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Inspirit Board Chair Completes Term, Foundation Announces New Co-Chairs


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Inspirit Board Chair Completes Term, Foundation Announces New Co-Chairs

TORONTO, July 18, 2023 —The Inspirit Foundation thanks outgoing chair Mitchell Anderson for his 12 years of volunteer service on Inspirit Foundation’s Board of Directors.  

Mitchell joined the Board as a youth observer in 2012, and two years later was asked to become a member of the Board. He has since served as Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee, moving up to become the Board Chair in 2021.  Upon completing his term, Mitchell becomes the youngest Board Chair in the Foundation’s history, and the first Indigenous person to hold the role. Mitchell is Dënesułiné and a member of the English River First Nation in Saskatchewan. 

Under Mitchell’s guidance, Inspirit completed its transition to a 100% impact portfolio. Mitchell also oversaw funding commitments, including the Foundation’s first capital transfers to help launch the Foundation for Black Communities and the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund.  

The Foundation is excited to announce Deborah Irvine and James Chan as Co-Chairs of the Board of Directors. 

Deborah’s career spans the private, public, and non-profit sectors. With 20 years in executive and senior management roles, she has led philanthropic grant-making, community relations, and major public policy initiatives. She has also worked as a journalist, speechwriter, marketer, strategic communicator, and fundraiser. Deborah moves from her role of Vice-Chair to Co-Chair. 

James brings over 10 years of non-profit experience in the areas of civic participation, social innovation, and impact investing. He is currently a member of the Foundation’s Finance and Impact Investing Committee, in addition to other volunteer roles in the philanthropic sector around grant-making, governance, and public policy. 

A complete list of Inspirit Board members can be found here. Inspirit Foundation’s Board of Directors is a governance board. Members bring skills, experiences, and understanding of different contexts to help guide the organization. Inspirit’s commitment to equity includes diversity in reflection, geography, skill sets, and lived experiences. The Board fosters a culture that actively promotes pluralism. 


“I have been so honoured to serve on the Board of the Inspirit Foundation for the last 12 years. Board leadership makes a difference in foundations, and during my time on the Board we have been proud to support Sadia and her team in so many of Inspirit’s achievements: a 100% impact investment portfolio, capital transfers to launch new foundations, and working to shift narrative power in Canada towards greater inclusion and pluralism. I look forward to all the incredible things Inspirit will do next!” 

Mitchell Anderson, Outgoing Chair of the Board of Directors, Inspirit Foundation 

On Mitchell Anderson 

“It has been such a gift to work with Mitchell.  I’ve often called him a unicorn; his unique skills and attributes speak to the essence of the Foundation’s work.  Mitchell seamlessly infused Dënesułiné stories into bigger strategic discussions about process, power, and pluralism.  This, on top of his stellar leadership skills, meant that Mitchell always asked the right questions and provided incredible insights and guidance. The Foundation is so much richer for Mitchell’s quiet, consistent presence.” 

On New Co-Chairs 

“I’ve had the opportunity to watch both Deborah and James in action, and am so excited by their experience, expertise, and insights. They have very different lived experiences, geography, and work trajectories.  This can only enrich the Foundation’s governance. I look forward to getting to know them better.” 

Sadia Zaman, CEO, Inspirit Foundation 

“Inspirit is a brave foundation that–while small in size–is willing to tackle the big issues in philanthropy. Whether investing for impact, transferring its endowment capital, or shifting power through the media and arts, Inspirit seeks partners to drive social change. Reaching out to include others is the essence of pluralism. And it’s why an approach to co-chair the Board is an opportunity and privilege.” 

Deborah Irvine, Co-Chair, Board of Directors, Inspirit Foundation 

“Deborah and I are grateful to Mitchell for his strong leadership, and are committed to the vision of a better foundation and a better country, both of which he has contributed so much to. We are proud to support Sadia and the entire Inspirit team to remain on the leading edge of the philanthropic sector, and invite others to walk alongside us as we work towards a more inclusive and pluralist Canada.” 

James Chan, Co-Chair, Board of Directors, Inspirit Foundation 


Board of Directors web page: 


Inspirit Foundation funds media and arts for social change, supports young changemakers, and invests its assets to align with its mission to promote inclusion and pluralism in Canada—specifically addressing discrimination based on ethnicity, race, or religion. To learn more, visit and follow Inspirit on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 


Jozef Agtarap
Communications and Outreach Manager, Inspirit Foundation
416-644-3600 ext. 7