Merit was started in 1996 by a group of Toronto residents, who believed in the importance of supporting and inspiring grade 11 and 12 high school students to stay in school and pursue post secondary education.
The late Mr. Justice John Sopinka of the Supreme Court of Canada was the first Honorary Chair of the program.
The Merit team works with 92 schools in the GTA to reward students who have demonstrated a commitment to their community and their academics in the face of adversity.
We make character count.
From the first 20 bursaries awarded 26 years ago to the 315 awarded last year, our mission continues to grow.
of the Matter
Low income is a barrier
A student in a family at the bottom 10% of the income range are 3x more likely to drop out of high school.
Tuition costs have increased in Toronto higher than inflation. More than 25 % of students graduate with $25,000 in debt.
Background is a barrier
Only 61% of students in single parent families, attend post secondary schools.
Many students are disconnected from necessary supports and have no role models for higher education.
Ethnicity is a barrier
Racialized groups of Black and Latin American students lag behind all other races in attending post secondary schools.
a deeper divide.
Low income relief
50% of recipients are from families with annual income
of less than $40K.
75% of recipients are visible minorities. 80% are first or second generation Canadian.
Recipients play a major role on our committees and other community organizations.
High graduation rates
98% of recipients graduate. This rate is higher than the provincial average.
should have equal access to post-secondary education, regardless of where they live, their life circumstances, ethnicity or household income.
The Greater Toronto Area is gifted with a diverse population. Higher education is the key to our success – as individuals and as a community.
MERIT wants to put that key in EVERYONE’S hands, so that ANYONE can open ANY door.
It is for that reason that we have in place an ambitious growth vision that will see us grow to offer all students in the most challenged schools in Durham, York, Toronto, Peel, Halton, and Hamilton the opportunity to become a Merit recipient by 2030.
Today our hands-on leadership team is made up of a 13 member Board of Directors. They are supported by an Alumni Council of 12 past recipients and over 300 active volunteers, engaged alumni, and donor individuals and partners. Merit also has a small operations team supporting all aspects of administering the program.
The Board of Directors
Alumni Board Representative
The Alumni Advisory Council
The Alumni Council is a group of 12 past recipients who partner with a board lead to provide support, council and recommendations to help grow the Merit organization.
The Operations Team
Alumni Program Coordinator
2015: Annual Report / Financial Statements
"Merit is a path to a bursary...and a path to know how far your strengths will take you- Merit Cares".
Merit Award Recipient