Advance an inclusive society where leadership positions and boardrooms equitably reflect the rich diversity of our communities.


To promote governance excellence, dismantle barriers, and foster a culture of equity and justice such that members of the BIPOC community are able to access leadership positions and better opportunities in the boardroom and the community.

Black BIPOC Directors in Canada

Dr. Akolisa Ufodike, Founder

JWI is founded on the principles of investigating and proposing solutions to social inequity – particularly concerning the representation of Black persons in positions of governance and in their health and socio-economic outcomes.

The Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Venture Advisory Board of the Institute have demonstrated extensive experience and expertise in health, business, and entrepreneurship within the Black and other marginalized communities. Consequently, JWI is well positioned to build capacity and knowledge sharing on the future of Black people in Canadian business while also improving the health and socio-economic outcomes of marginalized Canadians.

As an organization committed to supporting the black community, we seek to ensure our leadership is reflective of the black community.


John Ware was a Black Canadian pioneer. He went from slave to community leader and successful businessman. In many ways, his story is legendary – a story of the Canadian frontier and a story of overcoming adversity.

The John Ware Institute draws inspiration from John Ware’s legacy. We need more black pioneers, we need more black leaders, we need more black business people.

Luckily, in current day Canada there are many John Wares and many black people on the path to discovering their inner John Ware. Yet, the absence of black people in leadership and board roles is often rationalized as a supply side problem.

The John Ware Institute aspires to play an integral role in illuminating the profiles of the many modern day John Wares, so they get noticed. Furthermore, the Institute also plans on fostering the development of Canada’s next crop of Black board directors and business leaders. Lofty and aspirational goals – but a walk in the park compared to the adversity John Ware overcame in his time.

You can find out more about John Ware on his Wikipedia page and from the Movie John Ware reclaimed by Ms. Cheryl Foggo.

our story