CCL&D, formerly known as East End Literacy was founded in 1979 as a community-based literacy organization serving downtown east Toronto.

Over the past three decades, we have evolved to respond to changing community needs, including the growing demand for initiatives that promote active learning and active citizenship at the neighbourhood level. 

As a result, the organization’s work has expanded and includes adult literacy programs (academic upgrading), leadership training, community needs assessments, digital storytelling, and organizational development, in partnerships and communities across Toronto.


CCLD- Complete History

At the end of October 2006, our organization was granted permissin by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to change our name to - Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development (CCL&D).  

CCL&D continues to strengthen the organization’s capacity to undertake and sustaintransformational change work within its programming activities as well as with other organizations and external communities.   

The goal is to create strategies for nurturing and building capacity to make social change integral to our work and that of other organizations.  The organizational development and capacity building work will allow CCL&D to focus on the following objectives:


1. Explore organizational commitment and capacity to bring about social change by addressing systemic issues as well as personal (individual) change for clients and residents 

2. Expand opportunities to deliver and engage in change-oriented leadership development, skills building, and community building activities in partnership with other agencies


East End Literacy (EEL) was founded in 1979 as a community-based literacy organization. Over the past few years we have continually refined our program directions in order to facilitate a reasonable balance between employability skills, and independent living skills and community capacity building.


Since its inception, the organization has continually nurtured partnerships with diverse service delivery, business, and funding bodies. These partnerships have been instrumental in the launch of several successful projects and community leadership endeavours.

In 1996, we launched a Clear Language and Design (CLAD) as an integrated fee-for-service division geared toward raising public awareness around the impact of inaccessible language on the population in general, but more specifically on people with low literacy skills.  Through this service we work with public and private sector organizations (including pharmaceutical companies, the City of Toronto, Ministry of Health & Long-term Care, just to name a few) to help make their materials more accessible to their own staff and the general public. 


In 2002, we launched the Immigrant Women Integration Program (IWIP), with a small grant from the Trillium Foundation, to address some of the issues of isolation, lack of culturally sensitive services and the language barriers that contribute largely to the problem of settlement, getting started in Toronto, for many newcomers.  With the support of the United Way, this project has become an integral part of our programming.  It is largely because of our work in this area that our organization is considered a leader in the field of training and development.


The organizational development work will help us overcome the “disconnect” between our original objects and the old name.  It will also allow us to  review, adapt and/or update the values that inform our mission, internal policies and practices. Often due to the crisis nature of the work or the focus on changing the “world out there,” organizations such as ours fail to take the time to think through how to “walk their talk” on an organizational level.  This organizational development work would enable us to make that commitment to reflect internally what we are seeking to build externally.


Attention to organizational development is as necessary as service delivery if a program is to survive - staff training, cross-training and board development are also vital.  The organizational development process will also provide us with an opportunity to incorporate strategies for organizational maintenance and development that  promote the long-term success of our academic upgrading program.  Specifically, this is an opportunity to ensure that the Job Readiness and Communication Management Techniques course, we first piloted in 2005, not only has documented processes and curriculum, but also has a program design that improves the way people find jobs in the community, including identification, assessment, training, and support.  

Obviously, we will continue to deliver our current service and training programs.  However, we will create a model where trainees, graduates and our Leadership Learning Circle would engage in delivering technical assistance and training, in a variety of languages, including peer-to-peer resident leadership development or grassroots learning circles in neighbourhoods across the GTA. 

We also hope to have the capacity to provide technical support, including coaching, training, specific technical assistance, including organizational development to partner agencies.  Eventually, we hope to be in a position to develop and provide tools and information on effective program and practice models, research and evaluation, policy development, organizational development, effective use of technology, etc.


In summary, what we envision, is an organization with the following: 

  • conceptual framework which reflects the organization's understanding of the world;
  • An organizational 'attitude' which incorporates the confidence to act in and on the world in a way that the organization believes can be effective and have an impact, and an acceptance of responsibility for the social and physical conditions 'out there';
  • Clear organizational vision and strategy, and sense of purpose and will, which flows out of the understanding and responsibility mentioned previously;
  • Defined and differentiated organizational structures and procedures which reflect and support vision and strategy;
  • Relevant individual skills, abilities and competencies;
  • Strategies for accessing sufficient and appropriate material resources.

The new name, mission, strategies and activities of the organization would be part and parcel of a renewed commitment to improving outcomes for residents of low-income neighbourhoods.  The organizational development and capacity building work will allow us to reframe what we do, as well as our approach, resulting in a more strategic and deliberate attention to playing a role in strengthening the capacities of residents, practitioners and partner organizations and elevating their voices and influence in bringing about meaningful change and effective social development.

This would include, for example, working closely with agencies to help them integrate strategies for addressing deep-seated problems such as racism, and economic exclusion and promoting programs and activities that reflect a commitment to resident involvement, fairness, poverty reduction and equity.