Toni Francis was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa before immigrating to Canada in 2001. From an early age she was passionate about serving under-resourced and marginalized folks in her community, starting her volunteering in elementary school with her local rotary club. Since immigrating to Canada she has committed her training, work and volunteer experiences to be equity-focused, advocating for resources, supports, services and policies that will facilitate the capacity-building and empowerment of marginalized communities and equity-seeking groups including women and children survivors of violence, individuals with precarious status, newcomer and immigrant communities , and individuals accessing social assistance.
Over the last several years Toni has worked in non-profit and social service organizations coordinating public education, communications, community outreach and engagement programs/projects. Her most recent role as the Coordinator of the Peel Committee against Woman Abuse (PCAWA) saw her advocating for and coordinating a comprehensive and effective response to violence against women across the Region of Peel. Her significant responsibilities included grant writing, managing funded projects in their entirety, planning outreach events, managing staff and volunteers and partnering on collaborative projects with equity-seeking organizations across Ontario. Toni aspires to grow an expertise in fundraising, philanthropic strategy and advising, innovative community programming and social impact investing.
Toni holds an M.A. in Women Studies, and an Honours B.A. in Communications and International Development Studies from York University.