The Bill 7 Award Trust was established in 1987 to provide post-secondary education scholarships to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited or queer (LGBTQ) students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing a first degree, diploma or certification in any Ontario post-secondary institution.
The Bill 7 Award is named after the 1986 Ontario legislation that extended the protection of the Human Rights Code to lesbians and gays.
The Trust was founded by six community groups, predominantly led by women: the UofT Women’s Centre, the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal (now the CommunityONE Foundation), Lesbians of Colour, The Black Women’s Collective, Zami, and the Toronto Counselling Centre for Lesbians and Gays.
Today, Bill 7 Award trustees are appointed by our two current partner organizations, Supporting Our Youth (SOY) and the Community One Foundation, successors to the original founding groups.
Since 1987, the Bill 7 Award Trust has granted over $400,000 in scholarships to over 150 students in the queer community to help them with the cost of post-secondary education.
All scholarship funds are raised through donations. We have been working hard to increase both the number and size of the available scholarships. In 2021, we were able to award 19 scholarships of $4000 each, as well as supporting two additional students with continuing scholarships.
Supporting Our Youth is an innovative community development program of Sherbourne Health Centre. SOY works to support the health and wellbeing of all queer and trans spectrum youth by running groups, programs and events and by providing one-on-one support for queer, trans and questioning youth who are 29 years old and under. Soy has been working since 1998 to improve the quality of life for queer and trans spectrum youth by nurturing a sense of identity, community and belonging.
The Community One Foundation was founded in 1980 as the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal. The founders’ original intent was to support the advancement of lesbian and gay projects, artists and organizations within Toronto, many of which were rebuffed by traditional funding bodies. Today, the Community One Foundation provides grants for projects that enhance the development of the LGBTTIQQ2S communities in the Greater Toronto Area. Over 1,000 important and innovative community projects have been supported through the generous contributions of donors.