Priority 1


Black Youth

Eva’s has recently reclaimed its legacy of being founded by Eva Smith, community leader, anti-racist Black woman, educator, advocate for youth in Toronto, and mentor to many. There is great excitement in the community that Eva’s will find its way back and be the bold version of its founder’s vision that responds to the clear need for a Black youth focused organization. Our goal is to develop and deliver culturally responsive programs that cultivate and nurture youth agency at every intersection of Blackness.

Eva Smith’s family remains committed to the organization, and the generations that supported Eva Smith in her work and those who were mentored by her all feel that it is time for Eva’s Initiatives to come home. But what home is, needs elaboration. The Black communities that Eva’s will be based in to achieve its dream of becoming Black-focused, are diverse, with varying needs, circumstances, and beliefs – if united in the negative experiences and impact of Anti-Black racism. To embrace its future version of itself, Eva’s will need to elaborate this strategic direction in a manner that builds the meaning of Black-focused that is Eva’s-specific.

This foundational strategic direction will infuse all the other directions, shaping their content, process, and outcomes.

“The intention in Eva’s founding was to be prioritizing support for Black and racialized communities where there is economic deprivation. The focus on that has not been as consistent and as explicit and intentional as I think the history of the founding organization intended. And that focus, and intentionality is needed now more than ever.” 

 ~ Key Informant Interview



Properly scope and elaborate our Black-focused plan

Ensuring a well-structured and resourced implementation plan, accountability mechanisms, Eva’s will decide on our model of Black-focused, with definitions, rationale, and actions, through:

  • A common table, thinking and strategy sessions
  • Review of archetypes and models or frameworks
  • A business and fund development plan and outreach strategy
  • A solidarity, partnership and allies strategy

This objective entails scoping the meaning of this Priority for governance, policies and procedures, as well as programs and services, and will be elaborated through all the priorities of this plan.


Elaborate and communicate internally and externally

With humility, clarity — and unapologetically — we will:

  • Specify structured and productive feedback mechanisms with our stakeholders
  • Communicate our journey
  • Seek support and advice

Anti-Black Racism - there isn't a deep understanding and self-location in the terminology, so it is difficult to implement –to integrate– an ABR lens across the organization. We are in very early stages of what that means for the organization, the people and the programs.

~ Focus Group Discussion


Engage in broad and deep capacity building within the organization

To ensure the period of growth is clear and respectful we will:

  • Continue building our internal knowledge and accountability
  • Attend to relationships both internal and external
  • Ensure the explicit synergy and interrelatedness between this priority and the three that follow

This is an excellent act of leadership! I'm encouraged and I'm hopeful

~ Key Informant Interview