Community Development

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


Every day, the ROM proudly welcomes new Canadian families and kids from marginalized communities for free. Since 2008, thousands of people have experienced their Museum at no charge through the ROM Community Access Network (ROMCAN), which today partners with over 60 non-profit groups.

A ROM experience can have a lasting impact on kids living in poverty or new Canadians who have fled war or persecution. Amazing things can happen when children learn outside the classroom and newcomers feel accepted in their adopted country. With an influx of new Canadians and rising inequality, we hope to expand two pillar programs for marginalized youth and new immigrants. These public programs are free and funded entirely by our amazing donors!

The ROM in My Backyard (RIMBY) program brings the Museum to kids in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. These are local neighbourhoods with inequities on several elements of well-being including, household income and dropout rates. In RIMBY, children aged 6-12 are immersed in activities linked to the ROM’s art, culture and nature collections—right in their own communities! This 12-week after-school program engages and educates, nurtures empathy and leadership skills, helping to improve lives.

Last year, 200 kids took part in RIMBY, a pilot program delivered in partnership with St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club. Feedback from kids, parents and teachers was overwhelmingly positive and we hope to expand the program to new neighbourhoods where the need is greatest. With your support, 100 kids living in Kensington-Chinatown, Lawrence Heights, Weston Mount Dennis and Jane & Finch will benefit from this unique program, accessing a ladder of learning opportunities.

The RIMBY Program not only brings the ROM to new high-need neighbourhoods, it brings children to enjoy three facilitated group visits at the ROM! For many, this will be their first visit to a museum, an experience which can spark a new passion for art, culture and nature. Above all, RIMBY reaches out to kids who may not thrive in a traditional academic setting, inspiring a lifelong love of learning and inquiry.

The ROM Welcomes Program offers new Canadians customized learning experiences at their Museum. This awesome program reaches out to newcomer youth and adults for whom English is an additional language and includes guided gallery tours, tactile learning with real artifacts, Indigenous storytelling, and a film screening and discussion on Canadian culture.

The ROM Welcomes Program provides new Canadians with unique opportunities to develop their literacy skills and understanding of art, culture and nature in their new country. Newcomers can improve their English and learn about Canadian and Indigenous cultures. Participants may also see their own cultural heritage reflected at the ROM, reinforcing a much-needed sense of belonging in Canada.

Last year, the ROM welcomed 1,864 newcomers learning English as a second or additional language through guided programs. Museum staff also welcomed 350 Syrian families in partnership with the Ahlan Canada program by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), who enjoyed ROM tours in Arabic. With support from Aviva (and your votes!), we hope to give 3,125 newcomers—40% more than last year!—the chance to participate in the ROM Welcomes Program.

Royal Ontario Museum Governors

Location: Toronto

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