From research to media, and through our stakeholder outreach, policy, publications and events, Cardus is making an impact.
Here are a few examples of how we measure our social and cultural influence:
Through our NextGEN Fellowship, Cardus is cultivating Canada’s up-and-coming Christian leaders. Twelve young fellows are selected annually through a competitive application process for an immersive program of readings and dialogue in the Christian social thought tradition. Now in its second year, Cardus is patiently building a network of young leaders to engage with the forces that are shaping North American public life. Fellows are already developing policy, and taking up responsibility for leadership in church and all spheres of society, including law, education, business, government and more. Though this is a Canadian program, the NextGEN Fellowship is attracting global interest, with US financial backing and recognition from the European Parliament. The NextGEN Fellowship is part of our strategy for long-term cultural transformation and impact.
Cardus connects diverse institutions, and clarifies and strengthens the ways they can work together for the common good. Now that Cardus has keys to the historic Chedoke Estate, we are expecting to complement our occupancy with a regular schedule of public in-person events. Cardus is explicitly committed to be a non-partisan organization that seeks to collaborate with all people of good will. As a meeting place for strategic public engagement, Chedoke will become a hub and gathering place for society’s leaders from Hamilton and beyond. Founded on a unique partnership between the City of Hamilton, the Ontario Heritage Trust, and Cardus, our stewardship of the Chedoke escarpment estate embodies the conviction that our shared future is rooted in the past. At our Doors Open event in May 2022, Cardus already welcomed over 2,000 visitors for tours of the building and the grounds. At Chedoke, we will welcome everyone, and engage them as stakeholders in defining and promoting the common good.
Cardus Education is our flagship policy and research program. Since 2011, Cardus has been meeting the demand for big data in education, framed by arguments for educational pluralism and excellence. We have established a university partnership to report on the life outcomes of graduates in various school sectors, and are promoting growth in independent school enrollment while dispelling many common myths about the sector. Province by province, Cardus is a leading proponent for the independent school movement, correcting misinformed public narratives and demonstrating leadership in the public policy environment. Our recent landmark paper on the independent school sector in Ontario demonstrates that the number of independent schools has grown more than 50% since 2013. Cardus believes that any long-term strategy for cultural change will prioritize education, and the Cardus Education research program is evidence that we are investing to that end.
“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth measuring.” This is the thought behind evidence-based practice. It’s also the reason for our updated HALO Calculator, which measures the contributions of religious congregations in financial terms. These figures are a creative proxy for the disproportionate value created by the frontline “love your neighbour as yourself” work of religious congregations. Measuring that activity has led to real and positive results. When an Ontario regional council announced its plan to make house of worship pay development charges, Cardus presented evidence from our HALO Calculator to council, successfully persuading it that the contributions of religious congregations outweighed the cost of these exemptions. Council decided to keep the exemption in place.
A 2022 report by the defence minister’s Advisory Panel on Systemic Racism and Discrimination called for military chaplains from any of the Abrahamic faiths to be excluded from the ranks on account of their beliefs. According to the report, these beliefs run contrary to the military’s policies. Cardus penned an open letter to the minister, pointing out that the advisory panel was attempting to address systemic racism and discrimination through religious bigotry. Arguing that Canada doesn’t stand to gain by excluding people with a religious faith, Cardus’s commentary appeared in several of Canada’s leading media outlets, and the minister clarified that chaplains of all faiths would continue to serve. When it comes to matters of faith and religion in the public square, Cardus is leading and facilitating this conversation for the good of all.