What People Are Saying About SkyWorks...

I have long dreamed of having a film that tells a personal story of rekindling a passion for life following a spinal cord injury. The film I dreamed about describes the journey in a respectful, honest, and sincere way, and tells the story through the heart and eyes of a person living the experience. Ordinary Woman, Extraordinary Dreams is the film I have imagined, but it greatly exceeds my expectations. The film is an extraordinary tool for our volunteers and staff to use as we connect with and walk on the journey with people who sustain a new spinal cord injury.

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I write today with a deep sense of gratitude for Maggie and her willingness to tell her story, and for each person who has contributed to bringing her story to film. SkyWorks Charitable Foundation has made a tremendous contribution to advancing a culture of inclusivity and acceptance for all Canadians.

Bill Adair
Chief Executive Officer
Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

A little over a year ago, SkyWorks entered our life and has taken my family on a journey of hope and truth. Laura Sky and her amazing team embraced my family in such a way that not only did we feel safe in sharing our story, we no longer felt alone. At our worst moment, overwhelmed by the fear of being homeless, we were treated with disregard everywhere we turned to for help. Our story was a shameful secret that we kept from the people in our lives and SkyWorks gave us the opportunity to own our story, begin shedding our shame and restore our dignity. SkyWorks offered my family the chance to speak and be heard and begin a new chapter; the chapter my family refers to as hope.

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Our story is one of several stories in Home Safe Toronto and one of many stories that plague this country. Through this film we are given a platform to challenge the stereotypes and address the urgent need for accountability and change. The process that Laura uses has allowed me, and especially my eighteen year old son, to be instruments of this change.


Colleen Richards
Home Safe Toronto Participant

Through SkyWorks’ distinct approach, together we [were] able to capture the strengths and capacities of individuals as well our member organizations. It is evident that the SkyWorks’ team fully understands the importance of the community development process. They live and breathe this philosophy at each stage of their work! Even in our initial contact with the organization we knew that they would take us ‘where we were at’.

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The community development approach was one of the most important factors in deciding to proceed with [the] commissioned film [This Film is about Compassion]. It was important for us to let meaning emerge from the lived experiences of the people themselves. The people at SkyWorks have the patience, authenticity and attentiveness to do just that.

Micheline St-Hilaire
Organizational Change & Development Leader
Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba

I had the privilege of working with Laura Sky in the 1980s, during the production of the film To Hurt and To Heal, which did a tremendous job of uncovering the tremendous difficulties and ethical challenges confronted by critically ill children as well as their families and health care professionals. The film was very important [for] fostering a greater understanding of many important issues across the perspectives of all those involved.

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With the growing concern for the significant barriers faced by disabled children and their families, our team recognized the need to undertake initiatives that could foster awareness among community members, health care professionals, and policy makers. The success of my prior collaboration with Laura Sky led us to discussions of a new film relating to childhood disability: Living With Miracles was born!

A particularly important reason for working with SkyWorks on this project is the participatory model that they have been developing over the recent years. SkyWorks involves the ‘subjects’ of the film throughout the research, design, planning, production and dissemination phases of the life of the documentary. This is crucially important because it (1) ensures the film’s content is congruent with the lives of the people that the film relates to and (2) the ‘subjects’ involved with the project have a unique opportunity to become active agents of change themselves.

I believe that SkyWorks films effectively promote social change. They undertake topics of crucial importance and address them with constructive social aims.

Franco A. Carnevale, R.N., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, School of Nursing
McGill University

Chair, Pediatric Ethics Committee
McGill University Health Centre

I have been actively involved with this project as the primary liaison between the [Six Nations of the Grand River Elected] Council, the Ethics Committee and SkyWorks Charitable Foundation. It was my role to guide the project through our community’s processes and also establish a dialogue between the filmmakers and our community.

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This dialogue is based on mutual respect, understanding and trust and informs the context within which our story is told. In my time as a member of the Ethics Committee I have never observed a partner like Skyworks; who has so much patience and has put so much effort into ensuring Six Nations is consulted on every aspect of the project that affected our community. When I first met with David and Laura they gave their word that this film would not simply be yet another project that highlighted the despair of living conditions on a First Nation. David and Laura wanted to allow the community to tell our story on our own terms, and while this includes demonstrating the deficiency of our Housing, it also draws attention to the initiatives that we as a community are undertaking in order to rectify the situation. They have truly succeeded in their promise to our community.


Andrew Joseph
Junior Policy Analyst
Six Nations Elected Council
Home Safe Hamilton Launch Speech

The Lawson Foundation has an inspiring and rewarding relationship with SkyWorks and its founder, Laura Sky. Since its modest beginning over 25 years ago, SkyWorks has grown to become a respected, award-winning organization, with a reach and impact that spans the country. The Foundation is particularly proud of the recognition bestowed on SkyWorks in 2007 by the Council on Foundations based in Washington D.C. when Laura accepted the Henry Hampton Award for Innovation and Excellence in Film & Digital Media for the Kids Care Project. This prestigious award acknowledges the excellence of SkyWorks and the organization’s ability to take a difficult subject matter and influence positive change at the community level. To date, we believe that SkyWorks is the only Canadian documentary filmmaker to receive a Hampton Award..

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The remarkable success of SkyWorks is attributed to Laura’s compelling vision and ability to engage partners and stakeholders from a variety of sectors.

Characteristics of SkyWorks Charitable Foundation that distinguish it:

  • SkyWorks has a strong governance model, highly engaged volunteers, and a commitment to strategic planning that ensures the organization is mission-driven.
  • Laura Sky leads a small organization with modest resources that are stewarded prudently and wisely with powerful outcomes.
  • The quality and value of SkyWorks’ documentaries and community development work are unparalleled. The unique methodology, based on engagement at multiple levels, involves advisory groups to guide the creation of the documentary and the children and adults in the films to be the voices and facilitators during the work with communities.

In 2005, our Foundation awarded its first grant to SkyWorks for the Kids Care Project: A Documentary for Children in Families Living with Cancer.

As our Board learned more from Laura Sky about the power of documentary films to give voice to communities, our Foundation awarded a significant grant to SkyWorks over 2007-10 for building a Sustainable Future: Working with Documentaries to Engage, Communities in Social Change. The grant demonstrated our faith in Laura Sky’s leadership as a change agent. During the term of this grant, our relationship with SkyWorks continued to flourish. Laura’s excellent stewardship and accountability of grant funds along with her in-depth reporting of milestones and outcomes always exceed requirements. SkyWorks is a model grantee.

The Lawson Foundation is proud of its history of support for the innovative work of Laura Sky and SkyWorks Charitable Foundation.

Angie Killoran
Executive Director
The Lawson Foundation

Imagine what it would be like if you were going through some problems that you felt no one would understand. Now imagine there is a group of people that can help with connecting you with other people who do understand. Skyworks Charitable Foundation is a group to help make that happen and I chose it for my Project Give Back.

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A generous and caring woman, Laura Sky, created Skyworks in 1983. It was her goal to make people feel loved and understood. She has been working hard and successfully for now 30 years. Skyworks is documentary activism; this means they make movies/films about real life stories that need to be told that gets people to exchange feelings and ideas where something new can emerge.

I chose this charity because of the way it touched so many people’s hearts in such a meaningful way. It touched me because both my grandmother and my dad had a story that they wanted to share so that other people would be informed about it. They also did it for the people who deal with the same problems so they can feel understood. This charity means a lot to me!

Skyworks works on films about real life issues that are happening right now such as homelessness, mental health issues and addiction. In each film it talks about the problem itself and it describes what it may be like to have an issue like that. It will also tell you what these people who have the problem are doing to overcome or solve it. Some of the films my family has contributed in are Kids Care and How Can We Love You?. Kids Care is about kids who have lost a family member or a best friend due to cancer and how it can be hard to lose someone that special. It talks about how the kids deal with this problem. In this film my dad helps the kids with this sad issue that they have to deal with.

My grandmother was also in a film about women with cancer. Even though my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer at the age 45 that didn’t stop her from making this film to talk about how it’s no different having cancer. They are still the same person and you can still love them just the same. This film was talking about no matter how you look or what you have, you are still the same person and people don’t have to treat them any differently.

Some cool facts about my charity are:

  • Over 25 different films have been made
  • My dad and grandmother were both in films
  • All films involve kids in some way
  • Skyworks has a program to teach kids how to make their own documentary about the stuff they care about
  • Skyworks has shown their films in all provinces across Canada to tens of thousands of people and also in the USA
  • Skyworks: Changing the world one documentary at a time.

    Amanda Douglas, 10
    Grade 5 - Project Give Back

    I cannot say enough about the commitment and quality of work provided by the SkyWorks Foundation. As a partner, they contributed well beyond their share of the work, including their own resources. Laura Sky’s understanding and articulation of the issues contributed greatly to building common ground amongst diverse stakeholders. Her leadership and facilitation skills were critical to building cooperation and collaboration.

    Maurice Fortin
    Executive Director
    CMHA Thunder Bay