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Transformational gift advances FIFSW’s support for Indigenous communities


The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW) is pleased to announce the establishment of a new Chair in Indigenous Social Work named in honour of the late Lee Wu Kee Ming.

The Lee Wu Kee Ming Chair in Indigenous Social Work will enable the Faculty to seek and appoint an eminent Indigenous scholar with a distinguished program of research focused on developing policy, service or solutions specific to Indigenous communities. This newly created position will provide a distinctive and highly visible voice of leadership, bolstering support for social work professionals who serve Indigenous populations.

“The unique strengths of our existing Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency (ITR) MSW Program in conjunction with the ability to recruit a prominent Indigenous community scholar whose work informs policy or large scale service systems will have a profound impact on FIFSW’s capacity to address the needs of Indigenous communities,” says Dexter R. Voisin, Dean and Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty, which has been ranked the number one social work faculty in Canada, and number two world-wide.

“We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of the Wofoo Trust and the Lee Wu Kee Ming Trust which have made the establishment of this Chair possible.”

The Lee Wu Kee Ming Chair in Indigenous Social Work will work proactively with communities, government organizations and agencies to develop innovative solutions to confront the marked inequities that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. The Chair will also facilitate the implementation of Indigenous-related research into policy and practice.

“Creating a Chair in Indigenous Social Work aligns with a top priority for FIFSW and U of T,” says Cheryl Regehr, U of T’s Vice President & Provost. “As part of its response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, U of T is committed to investing in the increased recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty members. This Chair supports this objective.”

The Lee Wu Kee Ming Chair in Indigenous Social Work will help enhance the success of the Faculty’s Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency (ITR) field of study within the Master of Social Work program. The first of its kind in North America, this two-year Master’s program is dedicated to preparing Indigenous social work professionals to work with individuals, families and communities who have been affected by historical and generational trauma.

Recruitment for the Chair will begin in Fall 2020.

Lee Wu Kee Ming (pictured above) was an intrepid and enterprising Hong Kong businesswoman. She and her husband Lee Quen started their own plastic manufacturing business in Hong Kong, named Wofoo (和富), which means peace and prosperity.

After success in business, Lee Wu Kee Ming shifted her focus to charitable pursuits geared towards education and the betterment of communities. To further her legacy, her children created a foundation funded by her estate to continue to support education and communities. In making this gift and naming this Chair in their mother’s honour they are fulfilling her wishes to support causes in education and the betterment of communities. The new Chair in Indigenous Social Work at Canada’s leading university is keeping with her philanthropic passions and perpetuating her legacy.