Carold Institute


A steadfast commitment to enabling and empowering people driving social change.


In 1989, Clare Clark established the Carold Institute for the Advancement of Citizenship in Social Change, a small foundation that made a big impact in adult education and democratic participation.

[Carold had] a kind of alchemical inclusivity to track people, and to weave ideas and relationships over time, and then invite these back in at just the right time.
— Vanessa Reid, Living Wholeness Institute

As a nimble learning organization, guided by principles rooted in social movements, the Carold Institute:

  • Created spaces for conversations that advanced democratic participation in Canada

  • Supported leaders in the voluntary sector to reflect on, refine and share their practices and knowledge

  • Fostered innovative partnerships with like-minded organizations and individuals

In a sector where it is rare to carve out opportunities for reflection, the Carold Institute provided precious space for people to deepen their learning and share their learning with others.

With the Alan Thomas Fellowship, leaders at transition points in their career benefited from year-long sabbaticals to pursue research of importance to the sector. Fellows shared this research through reports, books, films and more.

The Carold Institute also brought together groups of people animated around topics related to social change–local and global democracy, for example, and citizenship and globalization–in learning circles and other events. Some of these rich discussions are captured in the Carold Institute's publications, which remain relevant today. 

The Carold Institute established the Winifred Hewetson Awards in Community and World Service, in honour of Ms. Clark’s niece Win, who was one of the founding board members of the Carold Institute.  

Because of the Fellowship, my network grew exponentially.
— Peggy Edwards, 2009 Alan Thomas Fellow

In these and many other ways, the Carold Institute has connected people and provided a space where deep relationships formed, creating a vibrant network of those who shared a vision of adult learning related to citizenship and social change.

changing course

Over its 30-year history, the Carold Institute held fast to the vision of Ms. Clark. The question of "what would Clare say or want" provided a moral compass to guide its decisions. 

In 2016, with the changing context of the social change sector and the adult education sphere, the board of directors agreed that the future of the Carold Institute’s work could only be guaranteed by embarking on a bold new partnership. They agreed that Ms. Clark had not envisioned the continuation of the Carold Institute for its own sake and, as they approached the limits of their financial resources, sought opportunities for collaboration rather than closure.

In CKX, the Carold Institute found a partner that shared their values. This partnership means that the Carold Institute’s work will continue and grow. Together CKX and the Carold Institute are creating a new kind of social change agency, with a vision rooted in Carold’s core values and a new, bold pursuit.

The archives of the Carold Institute, as well as Clare Clark’s papers, are held by the University of Waterloo.