Annual donations of any amount have a vital impact. They help students develop people skills, build community and make friends. The Hart House Innovation Fund, which receives gifts from $50 and up, is evidence of this.

Hart House is grateful to receive hundreds of annual donations each year from alumni, faculty members and friends of the University of Toronto. For many, giving to a worthy cause is second nature. However, some don’t realize the profound impact that their gift – even a modest one – can have. In truth, it makes a world of difference.

Peter Wambera

"Donors are very important partners for us. Annual gifts form the bedrock of our fundraising program to advance Hart House’s mission in support of students,” says Peter Wambera, Associate Director of Advancement. “Many of our donors are looking to pay it forward, as a way to honour the profound impact Hart House had on their own lives. Their support helps Hart House continue to be, for a great many students, the highlight of their time at the University of Toronto – a place they return to again and again.”

At Hart House, students from all three U of T campuses find welcoming and unique ways to connect with each other and the broader world through engagement with the arts, dialogue and wellness. True to its ‘here for you’ passion, the House offers students a vast array of activities and resources to enrich their experience.

Fund Ensures the House Continues to be World Leader in Co-Curricular Education

The Hart House Innovation Fund was created as the House marked its 100th Anniversary. It was launched through proceeds of the Hart House Gala of the Century and through the support of many individual donors.

“Donations to this Fund help the House invest in new and innovative programming and approaches, to keep pace with today’s students. In fact, the Innovation Fund supports some of the House’s most cutting-edge programming, which ensures that the House continues to be a world leader in co-curricular education,” says John Monahan, Warden of Hart House.

What is the impact on students?

The Innovation Fund has supported some of Hart House’s most popular and dynamic new programming. Students value these initiatives and see them as integral to their U of T student experience.

Hart House Lower Gallery

Hart House programming has greatly enriched my university experience. I have had some of my best memories throughout university [at the House].” – Student participant

“My involvement with Hart House has profoundly enhanced my educational journey at U of T. I am grateful for the opportunities Hart House has provided that have helped me to develop my leadership skills, deepen my understanding of the relationship between design and social justice, and so much more. [Donations] play a crucial role in helping more students access the life-changing benefits of ‘whole person’ learning outside the classroom. Thank you so much.” — Student Eugenia W.

“I am eternally grateful to everyone who supports Hart House. Donor support enabled me to rediscover my passion, restore my sense of identity as an artist and meet the most loving, talented and inspiring people I have ever crossed paths with. I look forward to combining my love for economic thinking, human behavior, social progress and performing arts to advance artistic, cultural and economic growth.” — Student Dhanya D.

Fund Supports Programming in the Arts, Access and Outreach, and Wellness Programs

“Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of impacts to students. These funds help students find their inner artist, they aid students in discovering what moves them and they create access to a wealth of programming,” Peter explains, noting that these initiatives dovetail beautifully with the work of the House’s student-run Clubs and Committees.

This list illustrates the scope of the programming that has been supported by the Hart House Innovation Fund:

Marcus Singleton

Students can engage with artist and educator Marcus Singleton. He is the Hip Hop Education Community Connector (Access Program/Hip Hop Education). Through Hip Hop, Marcus helps students explore who they are and who they aspire to be; fostering a sense of belonging; and striving for meaningful change. “The Hip Hop Education Program [at Hart House] is ahead of its time,” says Marcus.\


Hart House Farm

Students can learn about land-based education via Indigenous Arts Education initiatives, some of which were delivered at the Hart House Farm. This included a workshop in which the instructors led conversations that centred around Indigenous land-based pedagogies and the importance of culture, community and the land to Indigenous ways of understanding. To date, over 20 trips were facilitated for students (via Indigenous Education).  

Students can enjoy the programs offered via the Well Being Collective @ Hart House. This is a collaborative initiative that seeks to explore wellness while centering and highlighting the experiences and practices of Indigenous, Black and Racialized students as well as those of the greater community.

Students have the opportunity to participate in the Group Fitness Mentorship Program and Outdoor Leadership Weekends via the Access Program and the Well Being Collective @ Hart House.

With something for everyone, these offerings facilitated by the Hart House Innovation Fund appeal to all of today’s students, they build community, and they represent Hart House’s journey back to in-person programming after the pandemic.