Atkinson Charitable Foundation


Established in 1942 by former Toronto Star publisher Joseph E. Atkinson, the Toronto-based Atkinson Charitable Foundation (ACF) primarily makes grants to Ontario-registered charities for innovative, Ontario-based projects focused in two areas: early childhood education and the promotion of economic justice. It is within the latter goal that the ACF has undertaken to lead the development of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), a tool for measuring what matters in the everyday lives of Canadians.

Grant Description

Indicators are powerful – what we measure and report on shapes our sense of wellbeing, focuses attention on what needs to change and contributes to our knowledge of the legacy we are leaving for our children.

Our key indicator now is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which was introduced in wartime, a period when it was critical to measure industrial output. In todays world, tracking economic activity in isolation from environmental degradation and the erosion of civil society is misleading.

In 1999, the Atkinson Charitable Foundation convened a group of index experts from organizations across the country, including Statistics Canada, to discuss what it would take to create an independent and credible tool that would truly measure the economic, health, social and environmental progress of Canadians.

Using data already gathered by Statistics Canada, CIW will measure, report and monitor progress in eight key areas: Living Standards, Healthy Populations, Time Allocation (balanced time use), Ecosystem Health, Educated Populace, Community Vitality, Arts and Culture and Civic Engagement.

Atkinson Foundation

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  • 2007-2010
  • $ 300,000
  • Funding Type: Past Initiatives
  • Initiatives: General contributions