150 Profiles: Elisa Levi

As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.


Name: Elisa Levi

Profession or current role in the sector: Consultant, Vice-Chair of The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada

Years working and/or volunteering in the nonprofit sector: 22 years

Can you describe a defining moment in your career working/volunteering in the non-profit sector?

There are two experiences that come to mind. I volunteered during a spare in high school tutoring students with learning disabilities. While sharing my love of math, I gained a sense of community and friendships. Also, after moving from my First Nations community to Toronto, I volunteered with Street Patrol at Anishnawbe Health. It was eye awakening experience that many of our Indigenous brothers and sisters lived on the street. Sharing warm meals, conversation and laughter despite outward circumstance sparked an energy in me to work in a good way and to see positive in the most challenging of situations.

Describe your desk/workspace.

I rent a shared office space at a place called East Room and a café. Both are bright spaces that facilitate creative energy and good conversation.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?

Twitter: @TheCircleCanada An account to follow if you are interested in philanthropy and Indigenous Peoples. Disclosure: I am Vice-Chair of the Board

Instagram: @reclaimyourpower – a curated community “Strong Resilient Indigenous”

Blog: Finding humour in the nonprofit sector – http://nonprofitwithballs.com

Book: Looking forward to reading Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy (2017, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant). It promises to be a book about “resilience and bouncing forward”.

What matters to you that you think our sector needs to be thinking about?

I find it imperative that the sector engages Indigenous peoples in the challenge towards reconciliation in Canada. The 80 pledges to the Philanthropic Community’s Declaration on Action signify that there is a commitment to working with Indigenous peoples. I truly believe while taking time to build mutual relationships, we will be able to showcase innovative models in philanthropy that are built upon Indigenous worldviews and this will benefit the sector as whole.

Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at philanthropistprofiles@gmail.com


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