Adult Education Advancement
Values & Objectives

The contemporary role of adult education and learning is to promote active citizenship, democracy, personal and social transformation by developing the critical consciousness and skills required to promote a more just, equitable and sustainable society in Canada. The Catherine Donnelly Foundation takes a proactive approach to adult education, viewing it as an important tool to address the most pressing social, environmental, cultural and community development problems and concerns today.

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Radical Social Vision. As a result of an evaluation process completed in May 2011, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation recognised that in order to meet its mandate of ‘radical social change’, a more pro-active approach to social justice and change, and a re-focusing of funding priorities was required. While self-esteem, confidence building and skills development would remain valid aspects of any adult education work, the attention would move to collective, community learning efforts framed within a mandate of enhancing social, political, cultural and/or environmental change, justice and transformation. Examples of this type of adult education include workshops, learning circles, arts-based and other types of collective learning activities that aim explicitly to address the most difficult issues of our society today such as racism, sexism/violence against women, poverty and homelessness, environmental degradation in all its forms, and social exclusion and marginalisation. Other activities include promoting active citizenship – empowering people to speak out against injustice whether to themselves or to others – to recognise and value the potential of the human aesthetic/creative dimension to emancipate, address issues and transform, as well as training programmes for social movement activists and/or leaders in women’s, new immigrant or First Nation and other Indigenous/Metis communities, to name but a few.