Franca is the CEO of the McCall MacBain Foundation, which is committed to improving the welfare of humanity through focused grants in education, health and the environment. Prior to this, she served as CEO of the Loran Scholars Foundation for 13 years. The organization, which chose Franca as its first-ever Loran Scholar in 1990, is a charity that identifies exceptional young Canadians who demonstrate character, service and leadership and funds them to study at Canadian universities. To date, Loran has awarded over $28M to more than 2,500 students. During her time as CEO, Franca raised a cumulative $50M+ and stewarded the foundation to provide the most comprehensive leadership-development program for undergraduate students in the country, by launching or revitalizing the mentorship program, annual peer-led retreat, summer internship program, orientation expedition and alumni relations strategy.
Having grown up in Sicily, Franca immigrated with her family to Toronto in the 1980s and subsequently graduated from the University of Waterloo with a BA in Political Science and French. She spent a year as a legislative intern at the Ontario Legislative Assembly and worked as an assistant producer on TV Ontario’s Fourth Reading during the 1995 provincial election. After obtaining a MA from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Franca learned the fundraising ropes at Brampton Caledon Community Living, a non-profit organization that helps people with developmental disabilities lead enriched and meaningful lives. She then joined Canada’s Millennium Excellence Awards as Founding Director, designing and implementing the $325M/year program from its inception, before returning to Loran as CEO in 2004. Franca is recognized as a global expert on merit scholarships and is the author of Recognizing Excellence? Merit Scholarships in Canada, the first report of its kind assessing undergraduate scholarships in the country.
An advocate for the value of community service, especially by young people, Franca has served as a selection committee member for the Public Policy Forum’s Emerging Leader Awards and as board director for Volunteer Canada and College Montrose Children’s Place. She currently sits on advisory councils for the University of Waterloo, Western University, the University of Guelph and McGill University.
Franca was named a Fellow of the International Women’s Forum in 2013 and completed the Leadership Foundation Fellows Program at INSEAD and HBS. That year, Diversity Journal featured her as one of its Women Worth Watching. Franca holds a C.Dir, Governance from The Directors College, where she received the Gil Bennett Gold Standard Governance Award for outstanding achievement (2014). In 2016, she returned to HBS as one of two HBS Club of Toronto scholarship recipients for the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program. Other recognitions include the CATAAlliance Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (2015) and the University of Waterloo Arts Alumni Achievement Award (2017).
In collaboration with Alan Broadbent, Franca co-authored You’re It! Shared Wisdom for Successfully Leading Organizations from Both a Seasoned and a First-Time CEO, released in May 2017.
The average employer in the non-profit sector is typically too small to be able to offer traditional pension plans to their employees. A sector-wide model such as the one that Common Good is proposing is timely, sensible and simply asks that non-profit organizations work together and use one of their greatest strengths – the sheer number of them. Critically, it provides a vehicle through which organizations could together achieve what they cannot do so alone, helping ensure that those who are working hard for the benefit of others will themselves be taken care of when they encounter the particular kind of vulnerability that comes with financial insecurity in old age. I commend Common Good for pursuing this brilliant idea.