Community building key for Toronto Branch Award recipient

The Toronto alumni community has waited a long time to celebrate in person with 2020 Toronto Branch Award recipient, Colin Lynch, Artsci’07, Com’07. Next month, they’ll get that chance.  

Delayed for more than two years due to pandemic restrictions, the cocktail reception will take place from 7 to 11 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the Broadview Hotel in Toronto.  

The award is presented to Toronto-area alumni who have distinguished themselves and contributed to society in their careers, in their volunteer work, or in the arts. Gathering in person is an appropriate way to mark an award that emphasizes community engagement as part of its criteria. 

That criteria is reflected in every facet of Lynch’s work.  

“Colin exudes the Queen’s alumni spirit of excellence, selflessness, leadership, and giving back,” says Queen’s Black Alumni Chapter president Yinka Adegbusi, Artsci’13, who nominated Lynch for the award.  

The significance of Lynch’s contributions extends far beyond the Queen’s community. Building community was at the heart of his involvement with the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). TCHC is the second-largest social housing provider in North America and as a board member, Lynch helped double the organization’s maintenance budget to $350 million to address a litany of problems. 

“There are 120,000 people in social housing. It’s hard to find a more direct way to impact tens of thousands of lives,” says Lynch.  

Lynch’s most recent project, the Black Opportunity Fund, seeks the same direct impact. A co-founder of the organization, Lynch hopes to raise $1 billion over the next decade to fight anti-Black racism in Canada. The endowment will fund a wide range of Black-focused charities, non-profits, companies, and create a permanent and transformative endowment for the Black community. 

For his part, Lynch is looking forward to celebrating with his fellow Toronto alumni. “To be honoured in this way is humbling,” Lynch says of the award. 

Tickets for the Toronto Branch Award are $35 for young alumni and $55 for general admission and can be purchased online.