Tuesday January 19, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC
by Kiley Verbowski | Island Social Trends
Right To Play International, a 20-year-old international non-government organization (INGO) dedicated to children’s philanthropy, welcomes Susan McIsaac as its new CEO.
McIsaac steps into the leadership role as Right To Play strives to keep children safe and healthy, learning, and mentally strong in the face of COVID-19. The organization says it reached a record 12 million children through remote and in-person methods last year.
“COVID-19 has cut children off from their education, their support networks and, in many cases, from their hopes and dreams, said McIsaac.
“And the pandemic threatens to roll back important gains that have been made on increasing access to education, gender equality, and child protection. But children are resilient and, with the right support, they will recover, overcome these challenges, and create a brighter future for themselves and their communities.”
“I am committed to ensuring that we can continue to protect, educate, and empower children in the 15 countries where we work. And I’m looking forward to seeking out opportunities to reach even more children in the years to come.”
McIsaac assumes leadership from Dr. Kevin Frey, who is leaving Right To Play after five years to head up Generation Unlimited, a multi-sectoral partnership established in 2018 and hosted by UNICEF, whose mission is to meet the urgent need for expanded education, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities for the 1.8 billion youth around the world.
Qualifications of the new leader:
McIsaac has more than 25 years’ experience in the charitable sector, notably as President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Toronto, one of Canada’s largest charities. In that role, she and her team mobilized people and resources to address many of the region’s most pressing challenges, including income inequality, housing, precarious employment, and youth success.
McIsaac joined Right To Play as Chief Philanthropy Officer in June 2019 to lead the organization’s global revenue-generation activities.
In her new role, McIsaac will drive forward the organization’s new strategic plan with the aim of ensuring that the organization can continue to support millions of children each year in Africa, Asia, Canada, and the Middle East to stay in school and graduate, resist exploitation and overcome prejudice, prevent disease, and heal from war and abuse.
The future of Right to Play INGO:
In 2021, Right To Play will roll out My Education, My Future, a new program funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and implemented in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council that will give displaced children in Tanzania and Burundi educational opportunities, with a special focus on girls and children with disabilities.
The organization will also roll out a new national program in Ghana called Partners in Play, in partnership with the LEGO Foundation and Ghana’s Ministry of Education. The program will train 75,000 teachers in play-based learning approaches, reaching 3 million children across the country.
Right To Play will also build on its 2020 successes using television, radio, and digital tools to reach children at home with engaging play-based lessons that build their brains and improve educational outcomes.
Right To Play ambassadors include high-profile athletes including Patrick Chan (figure skating), Clara Hughes (speed skating & cycling), and Hayley Wickenheiser (ice hockey).