2020 Arts Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Paul Born, (BA ’87 Liberal Arts)

Paul Born Headshot

Paul Born grew up as the son of refugees that worked together to survive and then thrive. This experience is what made him deeply curious about and engaged in ideas that cause people to work together for the common good. Both of his sons (Lucas and Michael), his partner Marlene and even his 91-year mother in law are Waterloo Alumni.

In the early days after graduating from Waterloo, Paul co founded CODA (Community Opportunities Development Association), a local community economic development organization to address issues of local poverty in Waterloo region and Guelph. Paul is the CO-CEO and Co-Founder of Tamarack Institute, a learning community with more than 34,000 active members that became Canada’s leading authority on issues of community engagement, collective impact, and community innovation. Vibrant Communities is a signature project of Tamarack, a collaborative campaign now active in over 400 cities in Canada working together to reduce poverty, support youth and deepen community. Their work has been recognized nationally and beyond, including by the New York Times, as a significant contributor to reducing poverty for 1 million people in Canada and bringing poverty to the lowest level in Canadian history.

Paul is a large-scale community facilitator. He is the author of four books including two Canadian best sellers. He is a Senior Global Ashoka Fellow and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2019.