Theory of Change


What is a Theory of Change?

A theory of change is an articulation of the specific impact an organization aims to achieve and the specific activities it will pursue to generate that impact, over a defined period of time. It is essentially a depiction of an “if -then” statement for an organization’s work; “if” we deliver these programs and activities to these individuals over this time frame, “then” we believe (based on evidence and experience) that these outcomes will result.

Theories of change allow organizations to get more specific about what they want to achieve and will hold themselves accountable to, and provides a causal pathway from activities to outcomes.

North York Community House was established in 1990 with the aims of assisting Toronto newcomers in settling and integrating into their community, and building strong neighbourhoods. Throughout the past 29 years, our work has been guided by our vision: to help build a strong community where all belong and thrive. While our vision has remained constant over time, the needs of the individuals we serve and the context in which we operate have changed, and our work has evolved accordingly.

Intended Impact

  • By 2028, both urgent and long-standing issues facing marginalized people are beginning to be being resolved, at individual, local and system levels.
    This means that systems barriers are beginning to be addressed.
  • Communities are strengthened by people coming together to create the changes they want to see.
  • This includes marginalized people being able to do their part in building welcoming communities, because they have what they need to settle, feel a sense of belonging and thrive in their communities.
  • There is increased hopefulness about the future and about what is possible when we all come together to create positive change.
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If, Then Statements

At NYCH corresponds to


Programming (and the way it is provided)

If people receive services and resources they need, they will be more stable and better able to make a positive difference in their lives, families and… they will play their part in building inclusive, welcoming communities.

Community Engagement

If communities become more inclusive and welcoming, then the stage is set for people to come together (critical mass), and when together, then they will play their part in creating change (strengthening) the community.

Community Development

If people and communities play their part strengthening the community, then organizations, institutions and systems will be required to break down barriers and be more open.

Systems Change

Social Justice

If organizations, institutions and systems have fewer barriers and are more open, then the value marginalized people add to them will result in a fundamental shift in power (structures) in our communities and our society.

Who can be Marginalized?

  • People who encounter multiple barriers to language support, food, housing, needed programs and services, employment and education AND who…
  • Encounter discrimination and oppression (in life and in systems they engage with) due to their identity and/or lived experience AND SO MAY…
  • Live on low incomes and experience isolation, poor health/mental health
  • Impacts ability to settle, thrive and belong, create change with others