Matias de Dovitiis is a community organizer that has volunteered, lived and worked for over a decade in the north west of the City of Toronto.
Matias is very passionate about creating educational opportunities for youth. He has helped establish a series of bursaries and scholarships, as well as a series of organizations and programs to help youth achieve their full potential academically. He created the Matias de Dovitiis Leadership Award in 2014, which has to date, given out over 70 bursaries to graduating students from grades 5, 8 and 12 in the area. He also helped to start two entry scholarships to York University, several bursaries for Latinx students and has helped to start breakfast programs in 4 schools that have fed thousands of students in our area.
Bringing people together and building a sense of community has always been a priority for Matias. As such, he has founded a number of organizations and projects including the Downsview Advocate community newspaper (www.downsviewadvocate.ca), the Organization of Latin American Students, Mosaico 21, Toronto Area Council, Ethno-Racial Equity Committee, Community Forward (www.communityforward.net), CONOSER (www.conoser.ca), and Teach2Learn (www.teach2learn.ca).
He currently works as an Executive Director for the DUKE Heights BIA, one of the largest Business Improvement Areas in North America. Dubbed BIA 2.0 by City staff due to the many ways in which the BIA is doing things out of the box, the DUKE Heights BIA is the first in North America to develop a workforce strategy, a sector strategy and has developed a series of innovative partnerships with Osgoode Hall Law School, Seneca College, the Metcalf Foundation and many others. The new economic development model fosters economic investment, employment development and provides local businesses with significant amounts of supports. The BIA is working to serve as a catalyst for change, job creation and investment in the area.
Working for Councillor Anthony Perruzza for nearly 10 years at City Hall as his Executive Assistant, Matias has solved casework issues for thousands of individuals and families and helped create many initiatives and progressive policies. He has helped in organizing events such as the Tour de Black Creek bike race, Point of Encounter and the Toronto Junior Carnival. Matias has also had a hand in creating a number of initiatives, activities and programs including Green Change, the Black Creek Farm, El Sistema, public well being campaigns, such as advertising for the Canada Learning Bond, building new parks and parkettes in the area and the Back to School Back Pack Give Away. He has also worked tirelessly in campaigns such as ACORN’s tenant advocacy work, the Refresh program and the campaign for recycling paper cups.
Matias has faced the challenges that are well known to many members of the community. Having immigrated to Canada in 1991 from Uruguay at the age of 11, Matias was raised by a single mother who worked as a social worker to support her family while living in rental housing. He has both an Honour’s and a Master’s Degree and is now a homeowner here in our community. Matias believes in the power of public education to create equity in society, because it was a public education what allowed him to find a path for personal accomplishment. We owe it to the next generation to give them some of the same opportunities.
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