Together Project
About Us

Our Vision


A shared sense of belonging.

Founded in 2016, Together Project started in Toronto in response to the large number of newcomer arrivals from Syria. Today, Together Project matches volunteers with refugee newcomers from over 25 different countries for social and integration support. Together Project is a charitable initiative on the MakeWay shared platform.

Our Team


Anna Hill— Co-Director

Anna is the management lead and co-founder of Together Project with a focus on communications, innovation, and community programs including the Welcome Groups for Refugee Claimants pilot program. With her co-director, Anna has helped develop Together Project’s emergent response to the pandemic, including a new model of remote social support for refugee newcomers.

Andrew Lusztyk— Co-Director

Andrew is the programs lead and co-founder of Together Project. Prior to moving to Toronto, Andrew spent six years designing, implementing, and assessing community development initiatives across three continents. Since co-founding Together Project, he has been developing and directing its flagship Welcome Group Program, as well as working to measure and improve the initiative’s impact.

Volunteer Coordinator
Ahmed Barbour— Volunteer Coordinator

Ahmed is the Volunteer Coordinator at Together Project, but before he became an official part of the team, he successfully completed two matches as a Welcome Group volunteer. With his professional background in business development and operations and his personal background as a refugee and newcomer, Ahmed has the compassion and vision to help the Together Project team manage multiple relationships with volunteers, refugees, and stakeholders. His past work is full of successful collaborations with global names in technology, and he brings his expertise to expand the reach and operations of Together Project.

Communications Coordinator
Jennilee Austria— Communications Coordinator

Jennilee is the Communications Coordinator of Together Project. She has worked with newcomers as a school settlement worker, journalist, community advocate, school board researcher, and federal public servant. With her background in writing, Jennilee believes in the power of stories to increase civic engagement, to shine a spotlight on community initiatives, and to capture moments of joy.

Steering Committee

Leith Bishop, Chair

Leith Bishop is a former executive in the not-for-profit sector in Toronto. She has expertise in strategic operations and organizational design. Her professional specialty is around issues of inclusion and belonging. Together Project’s commitment to a new model of connecting newcomers and volunteers to accelerate integration attracted Leith to the organization right from its early days. She was invited to join the Steering Committee in September 2019, and to become its Chair in January 2021.

Hani Bashir, Vice Chair

Hani joined Together Project Steering Committee in January 2019. As a newcomer and refugee himself, Hani brings his real-life experiences in the non-profit management, settlement, social work, community integration, and empowerment. Hani Co-Founded Immigrants Healthcare Support Network (IHSN) to mobilize health care professionals, equip and strengthen communities for better health services and awareness in GTA and all over Canada.

Kate Bate

Kate’s experience as a volunteer with Syrian newcomers to Toronto resulted in an awareness of an important opportunity for civil society to play a meaningful role in the settlement and integration of Government-Assisted Refugees. This led her to co-found Together Project as an initiative where volunteers could have impact on the most vulnerable of newcomers by complementing the work of community agencies. In return, people would benefit from new learnings and greater cultural understanding. She is a serial entrepreneur, having launched and managed three related post-production companies over the last 20+ years. She is currently Partner and COO at Tendril Studio, a design and animation company based in Toronto and Sao Paulo. She has held board positions with Rethink Breast Cancer and a handful of media industry associations.

Patrick Marshall

Patrick has over 20 years of experience in governance and fundraising for Canadian non-profit organizations and international NGOs. He is President of Adrem Brands, a natural health products company, and currently serves as a director and trustee of Lakefield College School.

Vanessa Redditt

Vanessa is a family physician at the Crossroads Clinic, a specialized primary care clinic for newly arrived refugees at Women’s College Hospital. She is also a lecturer at the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Her research and teaching focuses on the health of refugee newcomers, with an aim of improving health systems and social supports responsive to their needs.

Shadi Shami

Shadi joined Together Project’s Steering Committee due to the increasing need of refugees and newcomers to integrate in society and get the necessary support. Shadi brings a wide range of expertise in education, training and professional development, meaningful community engagement, volunteer management and events planning; in addition to his experience in settlement and supporting refugees and newcomers through counselling and mediation.


Anna Hill
Andrew Lusztyk
Kate Bate
Patrick Marshall
Craig Damian Smith


Manisha Burman
Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh
Samantha Mehra
Lindsay Oughtred
Lisa Wyndels

Supporters & Partners

Together Project is grateful for the support of the following founding donors, funding partners and program partners.

Current Funding Partners

Past Funding Partners

Current Program Partners

Past Program Partners

Founding Donors

Amanda Rosenthal Talent Agency
Peter Lusztyk
Beverly Bate
Anna Hill & Jim Creeggan
Diane Hill & Kevin Somerville
Omar Khan
Patrick Marshall & Kate Bate
Wayne Perry
Studio Blackwell
Tendril Studios
Quidnet Inc.



Privacy Policy

Volunteer Letter of Understanding

Together Project is a charitable initiative of MakeWay. For more information about MakeWay’s policies, please click here.

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