Martha Shuttleworth receives Urban Leadership Award


Martha J. Shuttleworth, the President and Founder of the Neptis Foundation, is this year's recipient of the David Crombie Award and will be honoured at the 13th annual Urban Leadership Awards hosted by the Canadian Urban Institute .

The David Crombie Award recognizes individuals who engage community, government and private sector partners to help regenerate and enhance the public realm in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The awards committee noted that Martha's philanthropic contribution in establishing the Neptis Foundation has revolutionized the way we make decisions in the Toronto region.

Other recipients of the 2016 Urban Leadership Award are:

  • The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, C.M., O. Ont., Senator and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. Winner of the Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award, Senator Omidvar is recognized for her outstanding impact on issues of migration, diversity and inclusion.
  • Judy and Wilmot Matthews, head of the Judy and Wilmot Matthews Foundation and urban planner/activist (Mrs. Matthews) and investment banker (Mr. Matthews) are winner of the City Builder Award, the Matthews have put bold visions in city building together with the resources for implementation.
  • Agazi Afewerki, Co-Founder and Director of Youth Empowering Parents (YEP) is winner of the NextGen Award, Mr. Afewerki mentors, motivates and equips newcomer youth with skills to become mentors to newcomer adults. NextGen Award.
  • Aga Khan Musuem, winner of the Urban Vitality award for its spectacular architectural contribution to the City and outstanding relationship to Toronto's multicultural identity.

The 2016 Urban Leadership Awards take place at 5.30 p.m. on 21 November 2016 at the recently revitalized Great Hall. For more information about the event and tickets please visit

About Martha Shuttleworth

Martha J. Shuttleworth is a philanthropist and the founder of The Neptis Foundation, an independent, privately capitalized, charitable foundation based in Toronto. Neptis conducts research related to the design and function of Canadian urban regions.

Throughout the 1980s, Martha was a significant funder of Canada's anti-tobacco movement. This experience led her to understand that philanthropy could involve systemic change. In 1996, when she founded Neptis, she did so with the belief that how we build our cities mattered. Upon further reflection, she realized that it wasn't just cities that were important, but rather, the urban region. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to maximize charitable dollars, she decided to focus the work of Neptis on supporting research and education needed for informed decision making as we create our built environment. The foundation set out to fill gaps in knowledge about Canadian urban regions.

The Foundation's work began in the late 1990s with Portrait of a Region, a series of studies in a range of disciplines that described the Toronto region and how it functioned. Since then the Foundation has produced ground-breaking research that has informed a renaissance in regional planning in Ontario including the development of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan and the transportation plan, The Big Move. More recently, the Foundation's research program includes the development of the Neptis Geoweb, an interactive mapping and information platform to better visualize and understand the forces shaping the Toronto region. The Neptis Geoweb is a tool for Toronto, but one that could provide a template for understanding growth and change in city-regions around the world.

Martha was born in London, Ontario, and graduated from Glendon College, York University, in 1972 with a degree in History. In 2008 she was the recipient of the Friends of the Greenbelt Award.