Wakulat Dhirani LLP has had an ongoing relationship with Fashion Takes Action (FTA) since the organization’s inception in 2011. FTA is a not-for-profit corporation (NFP) focused on increasing environmental awareness in the fashion industry by encouraging the development of sustainable choices in all aspects of the fashion lifecycle. Although FTA is based in Canada, it looks for opportunities to foster positive change in fashion industry business practices across global supply chains.
The organization started by conducting research into issues surrounding industry labour practices, usage of toxic chemicals, water and energy, supply chain transparency and waste disposal. Funds for initial operations were raised in two galas organized by FTA’s eventual founders – Kelly Drennan and Sarah Peel Kear. These two events successfully showcased the potential for new sustainable fabrics by using them to create beautiful high-end garments.
In addition to providing pro-bono legal services, Robert Wakulat was asked to sit on FTA’s inaugural Board of Directors. Robert’s contributions to the Board included incorporating FTA, assisting with early-stage governance of the organization and guiding FTA’s transition to operate under the new Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (CNCA). Moreover, the Board has consistently considered how to position FTA’s mission and activities to be considered a social enterprise by providing support to fashion students and emerging entrepreneurs. Participating on the Board provided Robert with an in-depth opportunity to develop his knowledge base of operating an NFP under the new CNCA and the unique challenges of operating in the sustainable fashion industry.
The Marsha Forest Centre’s program objective is the development of future leadership for inclusion through the creation of focused programs, materials and research that will create a world where “Everyone Belongs”. The Centre was founded in 1989 as the Centre for Integrated Education and Community, and renamed in 2001 to honour the passing of its co-founder. The Centre is a federally incorporated not-for-profit corporation and a registered Canadian charity.
The Centre’s extensive list of projects and initiatives illustrate its international reach featuring a sustained and multi-pronged approach at promoting and achieving inclusion. The Core initiative is the Toronto Summer Institute – an international gathering of people committed to building a world where inclusion is a given – not a debate! After almost three decades of innovation, the Summer Institute has been the catalyst in creating and supporting powerful local initiatives in India, New Zealand (Maori), Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Uganda, Russia, Ecuador, Qatar and amongst aboriginal communities throughout North America.
We were introduced to the Centre by its Chair, Dr. Gary Bunch, whom we had previously assisted in successfully engaging in the dissolution process of another federal not-for-profit corporation. Dr. Bunch connected us with the Centre’s Executive Director, Jack Pearpoint, with whom we collaborated to efficiently transition the Centre to operate under the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. Our contributions included reviewing the Centre’s existing Letters Patent, Supplementary Letters Patent and operating By-laws, and utilizing them as a platform from which to draft new Articles of Continuance and By-laws. We also drafted and provided a legal opinion on the definition of a “Soliciting Corporation”.
Our engagement with the Centre has extended beyond a simply commercial relationship as we have enjoyed participating in their unique events. This included attending a reading by Malini Chib, an Indian disability rights activist and author whose inspiring autobiography, One Little Finger, has become required reading in our office.