Helen Burstyn has enjoyed a 35-year career in government, business, academia, broadcasting and community service. She is currently the Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Social Venture Zone at Ryerson University and the Chair of Waterfront Toronto, a tri-partite government agency responsible for the revitalization and stewardship of the city’s waterfront lands.
The former Chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Helen also served for several years as the Government of Ontario’s Special Advisor, Social Enterprise and Chair of the Partnership Forum, the province’s advisory body on the not-for-profit and voluntary sector.
Helen is a director of many non-profit and charitable organizations, including Evergreen, which she has chaired since June 2014, the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Toronto Public Library Foundation, Luminato, The Walrus Foundation, Harmony Hall Centre for Seniors, The Learning Partnership, and the Koffler Centre for the Arts. She is a co-founder of The Pecaut Centre for Social Impact and Gilda's Club Greater Toronto, and was a founding member of Equal Voice. She served for nine years as a Trustee of the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) and is a past-president of the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Helen is the author of Eleven Out of Ten: The Life and Work of David Pecaut. She is the recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Community Leadership and the Ontario Citizenship Award for Volunteer Service.
In December 2017, Helen was named Member (C.M.) of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours, in recognition of her outstanding achievement and leadership of a range of non-profit organizations dedicated to arts and culture, literacy, health and the environment.