You can support the leadership of people with lived/living experience in community change.



The Be A Light is a special fund created to help those with incredible potential but limited budgets, and for those who have important lived experience to contribute and support leadership in community change. Everyone deserves to benefit from new knowledge and ideas. Help grow this scholarship fund and make a difference. Share learning and change the world!


Why is this so important?

Some people are financially unable to attend learning events. They’re unable to contribute their perspective. Yet it is vital for as many voices as possible to be heard in the conversation – that’s how we all achieve a richer, fuller understanding. Please give the gift of learning that changes everything.


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"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson 

Hear from Scott Cronkwright a past Be A Light recipient

New Scholarship Categories in 2022

The lessons of the last few years challenge us to elevate new leadership in community change. To improve our support for community change efforts and changemakers, we have expanded the categories of Be a Light Scholarships to include new categories. The categories of Be a Light Scholarship now available are listed here:

The Paul Born Scholarship for Lived Experience Experts for Individuals who have important lived experience to contribute
Individuals working to advance change efforts from equity deserving communities
Individuals who are new career professionals working to advance community change and who are in organizations and collaboratives with limited budgets


History of the Be A Light Fund

The Be A Light Fund started when Bill and Janet Young, of the Be A Light Foundation, gave our President, Paul Born, a generous gift of $25,000. Paul used this gift to start the Be A Light fund as a way of ensuring that low income individuals and young people could attend learning events. We expect the need to be $75,000 a year going forward.

The fund continues to grow and has received contributions from many donors linked to Tamarack’s learning community. In 2018 and 2019, we are deeply grateful to the Young family who contributed $50,000 to the fund through the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Help us reach our goal by giving the gift of learning today.

This is a Board directed fund which ensures that every dollar that is given will go directly as scholarships to individuals with incredible talent and lived experience to attend learning events.

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Paul Born Scholarship for Lived Experience Experts

The Tamarack Institute is excited to announce that we have renamed a portion of our Be A Light Fund scholarships to celebrate Paul Born’s contributions to reducing poverty and centring the voice of lived experience experts in community change.

Paul Born has spent his life working to end poverty by activating the power of community. He co-founded the Community Opportunities Development Association (CODA) to address poverty in Waterloo region and Guelph. Paul used the lessons from CODA to co-found and lead the Tamarack Institute for Community Change and Communities Ending Poverty.

Communities Ending Poverty has grown into a collaborative campaign active in over 400 municipalities across Canada. It has made significant contributions to Canada’s success supporting over 2 million Canadians to exit poverty since 2015.

Stories of Impact


Meet Marnie

Marnie Headshot

Marnie is unemployed and living in Calgary, where she’s involved in an organization called “Poverty Talks!” Last spring, she heard about an upcoming Tamarack conference in Edmonton – “Cities Reducing Poverty: When Mayors Lead.”

“I was interested in attending because I am interested in poverty reduction, am poor myself, and know many who are poor,” she says. “I wanted to find out more about what is going on in the field of poverty reduction, and wanted to meet more people who are working and volunteering in this field. I wanted to obtain some hope in this too dark, too dismal world that we live in.”

But being financially challenged, she could not consider attending on her own. 

“It is important that those of us with lived experience get to participate in the efforts to reduce poverty and homelessness,” Marnie says. “We need to be a part of it.”

Because of the Be A Light Scholarship, Marnie was able to attend the conference and be a part of the conversation around poverty reduction across Canada.

It is important that people who work or volunteer in poverty reduction “get to know us, and we get to know them,” she adds. “Meeting and interacting one-on-one and in groups also shows that, in many ways, we are not really so different.”

Meet Nauni  

Nauni Headshot

Nauni received a scholarship to attend our “Deepening Community – Resilient Neighbourhoods: When People Care” event in Edmonton last June. She works for the Peterborough Poverty Reduction network, a small organization with only two staff members. Without the scholarship, she would not have been able to attend the conference, which proved to be valuable and enriching.

“I was able to return to my community with new knowledge, and practical tools to start moving forward on initiatives immediately,” Nauni says. “I met new people who were working in the same field as myself, and we were able to share information on our communities and help each other with some of our quick wins and lessons learned.  It's one thing to share in online learning tools and participate webinars, but it’s another thing all together to be in the same room, working together on similar issues.”

She believes that the Be a Light Scholarship makes vital opportunities possible. “By giving to this fund you are essentially allowing for a little more growth in a world where knowledge, sharing and understanding can be a game changer,” she says “By contributing, you are giving an opportunity to change the world, one small bit at a time.” 



Meet Randy  

Rand Headshot

Randy is a Peer Outreach Worker from Calgary who advises the Calgary Homeless Foundation and is involved with “Poverty Talks!” and Vibrant Communities Canada. Randy’s experience made him a perfect candidate for attending the “Cities Reducing Poverty: When Mayors Lead” event last April, however the price of attending was a barrier for him.

Randy applied for the Be A Light Scholarship and because of it was able to join the conference at a reduced rate.

“I would never have been able to go, if not for this funding” he says. But, “it is because of people like you that many, myself included, have been able to attend, learn and make memories that I’ll have forever.”

Randy noted that in the future he would like to see more people with lived experience talking and presenting at workshops, and this scholarship is a way to give that opportunity to those that otherwise would not be able to attend. “I would like to thank you all for making this happen.”




How Can You Contribute?

Tamarack is a Registered Charity. Our Charitable Registration Number is 862808615RR0001.


Contribute by Cheque

If you would prefer to send a cheque directly to Tamarack, we are happy to process and send you a tax receipt directly. Cheques can be made payable in CAD $ to Tamarack and mailed to:

Tamarack Institute
Kindred Centre for Peace Advancement
Conrad Grebel University College
University of Waterloo
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, Ontario
N2L 3G6


Contribute through Canada Helps

We have partnered with Canada Helps to help make giving your contribution quick and seamless. Canada Helps will provide you with a tax receipt upon making your donation. Click on the below buttons to donate using the Canada Helps integration:





Share the learning today and light up the world


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Thank you to the Young Fund through the Hamilton Community Foundation for helping make this initiative possible.

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