Skip to main content

Fabrice Vil


Even coaches need a coach.

Fabrice Vil is systematically transforming sport coaches into life coaches to support youth and help them overcome adversity and become leaders in society.

Play Video


It didn’t just give me the tools I need to help the kids — it gave me the tools I need to take care of myself. It’s changed me. Now, I can speak up for myself, for my players, when I see an injustice.”

Pour 3 Points Coach Imane Euchi

Real all stars.

Young people don’t need to wait to grow up to become leaders, but many are being held back by economic and social challenges and barriers. Positive role models, like those found in sport, can have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of vulnerable young people, giving them the ability to overcome life’s challenges and reach their true potential.

Growing up in a historically low-income Montreal neighbourhood with high numbers of vulnerable minority groups, Fabrice Vil credits two of his sport coaches with changing the trajectory in his life and giving him confidence to stand up for himself on and off the court. He wanted to provide this type of positive influence  for other vulnerable youth, so he left his career as a corporate lawyer and began coaching. But Fabrice soon recognized that the lack of proper training for youth coaches was a major issue for many of these programs and schools. So, in 2010, he founded Pour 3 Points and became a coach for coaches.

Fabrice has created a new profession in the public sports and education spaces by elevating the skills and impact of sports coaches to that of life coaches through his organization’s training program. His program empowers coaches to focus on what’s important: not just winning the game, but developing resilient young people through sport. Coaches from vulnerable Montreal neighbourhoods undergo an intensive one-year training program that includes hands-on coaching experience and continuous learning through monthly mentorship sessions and peer-to-peer learning.

Fabrice’s methodology is working. A study from McGill University found that P3P coaches build more positive relationships with their athletes and instill better decision making skills.

Currently, P3P is offered in 16 schools, with a total of 59 coaches, and impacts more than 700 kids per year across four school boards in two cities. In addition to rolling out the program with the Montreal and Laval school boards, Fabrice has partnered with the Ministry of Education to change provincial policies so that all school coaches obtain basic training.

Fabrice’s proven model has attracted attention from school boards across the country.

He’s now working to scale his model nationally, supporting local education systems to leverage the valuable role sports coaches play in communities to transform the lives of vulnerable young people.

Supporting Ashoka Canada’s youth fellow program has meant investing in and scaling the work of high-impact social entrepreneurs like Fabrice Vil. Dollar for dollar, we could not have hoped for a better return.”

Noah Aiken-Klar, Director Youth Social Impact, RBC


Pour 3 Points strengthens community, one coach at a time.

A high-school gym, the smell of sweat and sneakers, the cheer of the crowd, ten teenage girls on the basketball court battling for control of the ball. When the buzzer sounds, Coach Imane Euchi’s team has lost by a single point. “I was frustrated. I knew — we all knew — that the other team had done something unethical, that we should have won,” recalls Imane.

But her players calmed her down.

“They said, ‘Coach, it’s okay. It doesn’t matter that they cheated. At the end of the day, we learned more. We progressed more.’ Everything I had taught to them, they were now teaching me.”

For Imane, the moment crystallized the impact of her work with Pour 3 Points, a Montreal-based organization that trains school coaches in the skills they need to guide their students not only through sports, but through life. Founded by corporate-lawyer-turned social-entrepreneur Fabrice Vil, P3P reaches more than 700 kids through dozens of coaches each year. Young athletes with a P3P coach score higher on measures of what Fabrice refers to as the four Cs: competence, confidence, connectivity, and character.

fabrice vil

“My players aren’t afraid to ask questions,” says Imane, a former high school and college basketball star who came to P3P to unlearn a lot of the ineffective — and sometimes abusive — coaching techniques she’d grown up with. “They think for themselves. When we call a timeout, they’re the ones strategizing — they’re not waiting for me to tell them what to do.”

It’s precisely the kind of systemic, community impact that Fabrice — who grew up in the same underprivileged communities P3P now serves — hoped he’d have. “For me, it’s about taking the tremendous potential of coaching, and using it to further equality.

Highlights from the Network

fabrice vil headshot
From Lawyer To Social Entrepreneur, Fabrice Vil Is Coaching For A Better Society

In this Forbes profile on Fabrice Vil, the power of mentorship and elements of coaching leadership are explored.

asylum seekers
“The current pandemic is really showing that we all depend on each other”

Calling support for asylum seekers during COVID-19

ashoka canada
Bridging Quebec’s cultural divides under COVID-19

Fabrice Vil is working to amplify and unite diverse voices

pour 3 points
The Origins of Pour 3 Points

McGill Professor Karl Moore interviews Fabrice about his path to success in The CEO Series podcast.

fabrice vil class
La classe de Bianca

Québec actor and television personality Bianca Gervais speaks to Pour 3 Points co-founder Fabrice Vil about the importance of sport in the lives of youth.

What is the true role of a coach?

Ashoka Fellow Fabrice Vil, co-founder of Pour 3 Points, dives into the history, meaning, and mindsets of a coach to unlock the full potential of others, from athletes to colleagues and more.

ashoka will fabrice vil
Anti-Racism Work

Fabrice Vil asks Ashoka Fellow Will Prosper to share about the fundamental work that he is doing to fight systemic racism in Quebec

“I just watched him and cried — he was so happy that he had succeeded!”

A proud mom recounts the power of Pour 3 Points coach Jeff St. Cyr on her son’s life.

Support the Fellowship to create change

“Ashoka helps me to hone and improve my strategies so that I am able to have a greater impact. With Ashoka’s support, along with the wisdom and guidance of the Fellowship network, Pour 3 Points is able to deliver so much more to our coaches, players and their communities.”

Fabrice Vil, Ashoka Canada Fellow

Aled Edwards




Convincing competitors to collaborate

Dr. Aled Edwards is pushing forward the open access movement in the cut-throat medical field to ensure human genomics research, and the medical cures it could lead to, is being done faster and more effectively.


Accelerating discoveries
to revolutionize human health.

Human genome research has the potential to revolutionize medical discoveries. By providing researchers with the code for the human body, it is revealing new targeted medical treatments for common diseases, often with greater success rates and fewer side effects.

Despite the many scientists motivated by the huge potential of genomic research to make a difference, competition is slowing down progress. The traditionally hyper-competitive culture of medical and drug discovery research often leads to duplicated efforts, which wastes valuable time and money.

Aled Edwards, a biomedical researcher from the University of Toronto, had a vision for a totally different approach to research. He founded the Structural Genomics Consortium in 2004 to revolutionize the drug discovery process after becoming frustrated with the bureaucratic red-tape and international funding models that were negatively impacting work in his field.

The radical innovation at the heart of SGC: no patents. SGC is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership between researchers, pharmaceutical companies and governments around the world. Why would anyone, especially pharmaceutical companies, forgo a patent? Aled is proving how this collaborative model of medical discovery is just better business: companies get access to the basic scientific research they need faster so that they can develop targeted drugs more efficiently.

SGC’s open-access environment maximizes impact of research by exchanging materials and ideas without restrictions, decreasing research overlap and stretching funding dollars further — ultimately accelerating powerful human genomics discoveries and laying the framework to make these drugs more accessible and affordable for all.

So far, SGC is using its open-source format to release the structures of more than 1,300 proteins, with implications for the development of new therapies for diabetes, cancer, obesity and psychiatric disorders. SGC has raised roughly $200 million from private-sector investments. Because this approach enables more efficient research, it frees scientific capacity to investigate lesser-known areas of human genomics.

Lately, Aled is driving a new drug discovery business model in which affordable pricing is the raison d’être. He has founded two “open drug discovery” companies to test the model. Medicines for Kids (M4K) Pharma is developing a new treatment for a uniformly fatal children’s brain cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, and Medicines for Neurodegeneration (M4ND) Pharma is focusing on Parkinson’s disease, ALS and Alzheimer’s. The two M4 companies are owned in their entirety by a Canadian charity called the Agora Open Science Trust. Agora’s mission is to ensure that any new medicines brought to market through the activities of M4K or M4ND are priced as low as possible to ensure that they are accessible to everyone.

Aled is leading a fundamental shift in how medical research is done that has the power to unlock accessible and affordable health globally.

Highlights from the Network

Genome Canada, Pharma Partners Commit C$33M to Structural Genomics Consortium
Agora Open Science Trust: The researchers driving an open-science approach
SGC is breaking down the walls of scientific secrecy
Edwards Solution Cancer
Edwards addresses skeptics on open drug discovery models and finding solutions to rare cancers

Open science is the only viable model to defeat this pandemic — and to prevent the next one.

Dr. Aled Edwards is spearheading the movement toward open-access drug discovery, in Canada and internationally. Sharing scientific knowledge, without patents, in real time, says the U of T scientist, is the only sustainable way to create timely, effective vaccines and treatments for the diseases that ravage humanity. And it’s the only way to prevent the next global pandemic.

Most recently, Aled has formed Viral Interruption Medicines Initiative (VIMI) a not-for-profit drug-discovery company whose mission is to develop the drug treatments urgently needed to fight COVID-19 and the next pandemic.

We caught up with Aled to talk about his work, the impact of the novel coronavirus, and what we need to do now to dramatically speed up the development of effective, affordable medications for everyone.
What is the number-one reason it takes so long to develop new medications?

Well, contrary to popular belief, it’s not a lack of money, and it’s not a lack of time. Globally, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on drug discovery every year.  In Canada, that number is $300 million. We’ve been working on developing a molecular understanding of Parkinson’s disease since 1808 and Alzheimer’s since 1806, and we still don’t have one.

So, what’s the holdup? It’s society’s tacit acceptance that medicine is not a basic human right but a commercial product — and so we treat drug development as a business, not as a social good.

What’s the fallout?

It means that we hoard knowledge instead of sharing it, because scientists and universities and pharmaceutical companies are incentivized to do so. And this hoarding — through patents, secrecy and reluctance to publish research, including the results of failed experiments — inhibits innovation and duplicates work. It means that scientists and pharmaceutical companies devote R&D to diseases for which there are markets, rather than to diseases — for example, a future pandemic — for which there is a need.

And it means that when a new drug finally does come to market, it’s priced at astronomical  levels that make it inaccessible to the vast majority of people in the world.


How has the coronavirus pandemic brought these insights into sharper focus?

When COVID-19 hit, the global scientific community immediately decided, “Let’s shareall our research and knowledge in order to understand this virus and create a vaccine, a treatment.” All the presumed reasons that we couldn’t share suddenly evaporated. It became clear that the real reasons we haven’t been sharing more are artificially constructed by society. People didn’t want to change the system.

And why do people want to change the system now? Because we’re in a crisis. But childhood cancer is also a crisis. Dementia is also a crisis. Tropical diseases that primarily affect people in the developing world are also crises. Future pandemics that we can predict now, just as we predicted COVID-19. will be crises.

And so I hope that this ability to share continues beyond this current moment and this current virus, to a radically new universe of how we think about and fund the development of new medicines. That’s the work I’m devoted to.

What does that new universe look like?

In this new universe — and it is an entirely possible universe to create — we need to proceed from the premise that access to medicine is a basic human right, and that scientific and medical research are primarily societal rather than economic goods.

At a practical level, this means adopting open-science principles: sharing research and knowledge, in real time, without patents. For example, at the Structural Genomics Consortium [the open-science drug discovery I founded in 2004 to study the human genome], we have released the structures of more than 1,300 proteins. Under the charitable Agora Open Science Trust, I have founded two open science drug-discovery companies devoted to developing drugs for conditions that are either too complex or too rare — like dementia, or a highly fatal children’s brain cancer — for pharmaceutical companies to invest in.

Open science accelerates discoveries. Say I have an idea for an Alzheimer’s drug. Maybe it doesn’t work, but when we do the experiment out in the open, we can see why it doesn’t work. Then other scientists and other labs in other countries don’t have to do the same experiment — and the money that would have been used to compete over one idea can now be distributed over 10 ideas.  We learn from them all. And, ultimately, the price of the drug reflects one failure rather than 10.

What’s your latest project?

We’ve just launched VIMI (the Viral Interruption Medicines Initiative), a non-profit whose mission is to ​develop the drug treatments urgently needed to fight COVID 19 and the next pandemic​. VIMI aims to develop 10 drugs ready to be tested in clinical trials as soon as the next pandemic hits. We’ve secured partnerships with universities in the United States and Europe, and with a non-profit affiliate called ​READDI (the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative)​, which was formed to facilitate fundraising from American philanthropists.

We will operate under extreme open science principles: sharing research, no patents, not for profit.

This isn’t a new idea. We are copying shamelessly from other successful open- science pharmaceutical companies — like DNDi, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, or Doctors without Borders’ Access Campaign, both of which are successful, open-science models of drug discovery for the developing world.

We need catalytic funding from governments, foundations, and other partners to make this a going concern.

Is open science a viable business model?

Yes. One viable option, for example, is to offer pharmaceutical companies a license to produce the new medications at a reasonable profit over cost.

Naysayers will argue that an open-science model works only for neglected diseases, or diseases of developing countries, because clearly there’s no rational way for an investor to invest in those. But I argue that the market doesn’t work for any disease. It’s not working for Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s, or pediatric cancer, and I can just keep going.

And — as we can all see right now — the current system is not working in a pandemic. When we awake from the scope of COVID-19, we will realize that millions of people died in the developing world from this virus. Millions. And what poor countries cannot afford is what the world cannot afford. If Malawi, for example, does not strike out its COVID threat, it is going to come back. We need to think about global eradication, not local. And we need to do it now.

Gilles Julien


Giving vulnerable children the care and tools they need to support healthy development

Dr. Gilles Julien is transforming pediatrics into an integrated communal practice that places children at the heart of decisions and mobilizes the resources of the community to help them.


Tackling toxic stress, collaboratively.

In Canada, almost one in five children live in poverty. Of this number, more than a third are from First Nations. These kids often fall between the cracks of siloed social services. Children living in difficult living conditions disproportionately suffer from illness and disease — which seriously threatens their capacity to develop into healthy adults.

Dr. Julien practiced pediatrics for several decades, holding various positions in community, public health and with the Inuit of northern Quebec before transitioning to a social pediatrics. As the first Ashoka Fellowship holder in Quebec, his mission is to care for and defend children suffering from new social morbidities which affect their health and development.

Social pediatrics is a unique model that is replicated across Canada and elsewhere. This evidence-based, cross-system approach focuses on the art of listening and empowers vulnerable children and their families. Through this method, the family can then treat and act on the vulnerability factors themselves. The main targets are toxic stresses that affect brain development and cumulative traumatic experiences that create serious emotional disturbances.

Alongside Ms. (Sioui) Trudel, Dr. Julien opened the first two community social pediatrics centres in Quebec in 1997 and 2003. In 2005, he launched Fondation du Dr Julien to train teams, and shift the way healthcare practitioners serve families in poverty to align with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Social pediatricians have collaborated for years with school teachers, social workers, policemen, volunteers and others to develop integrated services that address prevention as well as treatment or rehabilitation.

Through partnerships with universities and the government, Dr. Julien is achieving long-term change. He is working with universities in other regions to establish social pediatrics as a mandatory component of medical school. He has also catalyzed provincial governments to  formally recognize social pediatrics and incorporate it into Canada’s health system. In 2018, the Quebec government committed $23 million to social pediatrics.

In 2009, Fondation du Dr Julien opened Garage à musique, a specialized community social pediatrics centre where services include art, occupational and music therapy. Today, Garage à musique serves 1,000 youth per week.

Through three specialized centers in Montreal, Dr. Julien has served thousands of vulnerable children and their families. He also trained and influenced several hundred professionals to practice community social pediatrics. Author of several books and articles on the overall health of children and the respect of their 41 rights, his contribution to society has been recognized by numerous awards and recognitions, including the Order of Quebec (2011), the Order of Canada (2011), and the Janusz Korczak Prize in recognition of caring for children in the spirit of Dr Korczak (2017). In 2018, he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the province of Quebec.

Highlights from the Network

Global News features Foundation du Dr. Julien for their dedication to providing community social paediatric care
The forgotten ones of the pandemic: Dr Julien’s plea for the deconfinement of teenagers
Dr. Julien is featured on the Montreal Gazette for his outstanding work in Quebec

Quebec pediatrician Dr. Gilles Julien is building resilient networks for children’s mental and physical health

Many of Dr. Julien’s patients — from poor, often racialized, communities with a history of trauma — are now at Canada’s epicentre of the Covid crisis.

We spoke with Dr. Julien about the impact of the pandemic on his work, and how it may yield unexpected (and hard-won) benefits for the delivery of children’s mental health services.

What is “community social pediatrics”?

Most health services are delivered from the top down. Community social pediatrics changes the paradigm. We get close to children, their families and communities. We build trust and then we work together to create a treatment plan for each child and family.

We know that kids and families are the experts in their lives. They will tell us their needs and their priorities, and what solutions that will work for them. This allows us to connect them with the supports they need. The more we commit to families knowing the solutions, the better the outcomes.

The paradigm shift is difficult — because specialists resist it. We’re not trained to get close to our clients. We’re supposed to be the experts, not them. But in Quebec, we now have 42 centres delivering this kind of interdisciplinary, integrated care to vulnerable children — and it’s successful, and it’s growing. So, it’s possible.


How has Covid-19 affected the children and communities you work with?

My patients come from the most vulnerable communities across Canada. These children and families are excluded. They live in very poor conditions. They have experienced all kinds of “toxic stresses”: poverty, histories of violence and trauma, substance abuse, racism.

The epidemic has exacerbated these problems. People are socially isolated in small apartments. They are losing their jobs, or working on the front lines. We are seeing increases in fear, violence, anxiety and depression. Mental health issues are the biggest by-product of the coronavirus in children — more, in fact, than the disease itself.

Children’s daily security net is gone: school counsellors, teachers and daycare workers who refer them to protection are no longer there. So, we have become front-line workers to make sure our children and families are well protected.

You’re now delivering care via telemedicine. What are you noticing about the shift?

Before the pandemic, I saw vulnerable patients maybe once a week or month — often less — which was not ideal. Trust is the foundation of social pediatrics and when you see a patient infrequently, it is very difficult to develop that trust.

Now, with the pandemic, I’m getting closer to the families. With telemedicine I can talk to my vulnerable patients every week, even every day. It takes five, ten minutes. We can see many more families and children because no one has to travel. The adolescent population is usually very difficult to reach. But during Covid they can talk to us from their couch. We can ask a family member to join us to discuss a treatment plan or an issue. And I’ve been surprised how willing they are to co-design and follow the therapy that we propose together. We’re hearing them say, “Okay, I want more next week. Are you going to be here?” We’re finding that telemedicine and audio really helps.

It seems that the conditions created by COVID-19 have created opportunities to move forward on and scale new ways of delivering mental health services. What do you think you’ll take forward into your practice after the pandemic?

We are social entrepreneurs so we are used to adapting and innovating all the time. We’re always seeking ways to become closer to families like cycling or going grocery shopping together in their communities. We have structured our Garage à musique social pediatrics centres where we use the tools of music education as a gateway to other support services for children and youth. We were in many ways ready for the pandemic without knowing it was coming.

A few months ago I wouldn’t have thought that telemedicine would be as helpful as it is. It’s very surprising. We’ll continue after the pandemic because it’s a real opportunity to see our children more often and keep our families closer to offer more services. We had a robust and adaptable model and now we have a new layer of technology that increases our ability to engage and unite people.

Right now, the general population is becoming more aware of inequity and the ways in which children’s rights are being violated. People are more empathetic with their neighbours and with people who are suffering. They are giving money to the neediest causes. It’s a good time to address these issues when people are willing to change their mindsets and their social behaviours.

This pandemic is creating very hard challenges but some lasting good is coming out of it.

Claudine Labelle


Highlights from the Network

CTV News features Fitspirit participants and Sophie Trudeau
Sophie Trudeau and Tessa Virtue speak about being ambassadors for FitSpirit with Chatelaine magazine
An interview with Claudine Labelle about her journey and how she is empowering teenage girls
Claudine Labelle’s path to social entrepreneurship in Devenir Entrepreneur

Usha Tamba Dhar


Tonya Surman


Highlights from the Network

Tonya Surman speaks to Al Atmanski about how to move the field of social innovation forward
The Centre for Social Innovation launches a Earth Tech Accelerator
Read Tonya Surman’s speech to the Senate Special Committee with regards to the future of social innovation in Canada
Learn about how to harness self-interests for collective impact

Tatiana Fraser


Highlights from the Network

Tatiana Fraser discusses life transitions as a women systems leader
Learn about Tatiana Fraser’s book, Girl Positive: Supporting Girls to Shape a New World
Tatiana and Rachel, co-founders of The Systems Sanctuary, share their insights about systems leadership