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A Change in Leadership


A Change in Leadership

Earlier this year, I was honoured to be among a number of inspiring leaders recognized by Governor General Julie Payette with a Meritorious Service Award for my role as the Founding President and CEO of Inspirit Foundation. It was humbling to to be recognized for this work which has been such a privilege to do.  It was a bittersweet moment for me, a bookend in a way, for as the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell presented me with the medal, I knew I would soon be sharing  with her and with you, that I would be stepping away from my role at Inspirit.

The opportunity to build a foundation from the ground up has been a dream job that changed my life, and it has been a difficult decision to leave. I truly believe that part of a founder’s job is to plan their exit, to know when to create space for new leadership.

It’s the right time for change because Inspirit has hit its stride. We have a strong strategic plan and an amazing staff in place to implement it, an exceptional and engaged board, and a strong network of collaborators. As an organization, we are thriving.

I have been at Inspirit for almost seven years, and I still remember my first day in an empty office at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto. Our transformation from a multi-faith television station to a public foundation had occurred, but only on paper. We had the unique and daunting opportunity to create the space and conditions where change could happen–where potential could be realized. I am so proud of what Inspirit has become, an organization that works on urgent issues in equitable  ways. We connect social justice and innovation, change leaders and storytellers, social entrepreneurs and investors.

Over the years we have funded hundreds of projects across the country and invested millions of dollars for Impact. We have been able to follow the lead of young people, creating flexible and responsive granting programs. We have influenced systems and narratives, collaborating on important initiatives, such as the Philanthropic Declaration of Action and the Young Muslim in Canada study. We created innovative funding programs for documentaries and impact campaigns. And, have been recognized as the first foundation in Canada to publicly commit to aligning all of our assets with our vision through our 100% impact investment portfolio.

As the CEO, I was responsible for leading in what we could and should be as an organization. It has been a difficult decision to leave, but I truly believe new voices and ideas will strengthen Inspirit, so that it will continue to grow.  Leaving while we are stable and strong allows me the opportunity to support the board and staff in the transition over the coming months. I am excited for what new talent, ideas and leadership we can bring to the organization.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to apply my knowledge, skills and resources toward issues I care deeply about, while working with people I respect and admire. It would be impossible for me to recognize all of you, incredible people I have been fortunate to work and collaborate with and be inspired by, or to express the amount of gratitude I feel for the wisdom and friendship you have shared.

I will continue to focus my work in the area of strategic philanthropy and impact investing, connecting them when I can with my love of media and arts.

There is so much to be done! I look forward to working with you all towards greater social and environmental justice.

Andrea Nemtin
President and CEO

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