East returns from the West with GOLD!

#CFC2015: The Hub Halifax Founders in Calgary

On May 7-9th, Joanne Macrae and Tracy Boyer joined Hub Ottawa in Calgary to participate in a Pop-up Hub at the annual Community Foundation of Canada’s (CFC) conference. Over 600 delegates, 141 foundations and about 14 countries participated in the three day theme of The Wild, Wild Why.

The Wild, Wild Why was about the serious consideration of WHY we do what we do. It is not a new concept but it is a valuable one. It has been the key to success for companies such as Apple. The conference team hooked into Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why” as a way to focus the conversations over the weekend.

Out east, we should consider the Why but go a step further and ask Why Not?

We enjoyed working elbow to elbow with Hub Ottawa hosts in the Pop-Up Hub experience that invited people to connect, share their Why and play with the concept in between sessions. The pop-up Hub also played host to lab conversations, including one about the background of Hubs and the connection between Hub Making and Community Foundation interests.

There were some *great* speakers at the conference. Four of them in particular grabbed our ear including Khalil Shariff (CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada), Naheed Nenshi (Mayor of Calgary), David Mead (Start With Why Facilitator) and Zita Cobb (CEO of Shorefast Foundation and Newfoundlander!).

There is a lot to share but we want to highlight things Nova Scotians might want to tag onto or look at for inspiration as we go forward in trying to accelerate positive change in our Province and communities.

3 Take Away's for Nova Scotia

#1: The power of Social Purpose Real Estate: cSPACE King Edward is a $29.5 million Investment in Calgary’s Creative Talent

This is a VERY impressive project and we think, a best case example of what could happen in communities across the country. Through the conference we went on a site visit of the King Edward sandstone school development by cSPACE. cSPACE describes themselves as “A social enterprise that supports communities of artists, non-profits & entrepreneurs working at the creative edge of change” - Nice.

The impressive thing about this project is the participation of The Calgary Foundation. They provided cSPACE, who are a relatively new startup, a bridging loan to do the project development as well as a contribution at the start of the project of about $3M which helped attract other investments. The $29.5M project attracted funding from a mix of public and private sources but cSPACE founders credited the community foundation with providing the resources that were critical to getting there.

Let's also consider how long it took this project to happen. Reid Henry, CEO of cSPACE started working on the project in 2011 and in partnership with The Calgary Foundation, the building was purchased in 2012. The project will bring three platforms together towards realizing its vision: the creative, learning and community commons.

The combined background, skill set and experience of the cSPACE team, along with the partnerships sets this development up for great success. We highly recommend you have a look at what they are doing.

We couldn’t help but think locally of Imagine Bloomfield and how long that project is taking when so much community support and work have been invested already.

Let's consider how projects around social purpose real estate could happen to support more timely positive impact.

There is a Social Purpose Real Estate conference happening in Vancouver from June 1 -3. It would be great if we could develop our understanding and ability in this area towards a better future for Halifax and Nova Scotia. In November 2014, Tides Canada commissioned a report prepared by LoriAnn Girvan called: Building Capacity, Sharing Values: Shared Spaces and Social Purpose Real Estate.

How is Atlantic Canada responding and engaging in this national and international movement?

In talking with various conference attendees from across the country it seems that projects driven by entrepreneurs versus government seem to respond better to community needs as well as get executed in a more timely way. In addition, government involvement is often a difficult component of these projects, often hindering progress. What is the useful and important role that government can play in these projects to protect public interest and investment but not hinder development?

#2: If invited, what could citizens do? Should we ask? In Calgary, Naheed Nenshi is.

Nenshi is asking Calgarians to do 3 Things for Calgary...and he is inviting anyone in the world to ‘borrow’ what they have developed and use it for themselves.

I know, we are all in love with Naheed Nenshi’s style of leadership. Watching him speak is inspiring and many Haligonians had a chance to experience that during his recent visit to Halifax to speak at the 14th Annual Carmichael Lecture. During this time, our friends at the Springtide Collective did a great job of capturing some Nenshi wisdom through a series of short video’s called Politics in Full Sentences, check them out.

At the CFC conference he told us some great stories, including the challenging flood of 2013. It was an amazing challenge for the municipal government because as Nenshi said “10% of Calgary was under water, the other 90% were calling in to help, over 10,000 people helped”. However, the city could have discouraged citizens from getting involved through the thing we hear about over and over - fear of liability. Nenshi even shared his reflection moments before encouraging people to help “...visions of municipal lawyers were dancing in front of my eyes…” but he trusted that people would help and they did. Bad things did not happen and people came together. Arguably, the City of Calgary has grown stronger as a result of this natural disaster.

Nenshi shared insight around the 3 Things for Calgary movement. He asked and then answered “What is the #1 reason why people do not get involved? Nobody asked me.” Nenshi gets this inside and out. As a result, the Mayor’s Civic Engagement Committee came up with the catchy, inspired and pretty accessible initiative. It invites citizens to think of three things they care about related to their street, their neighbourhood or the entire city that they could do. Additionally Calgarians are asked to engage three other people in the initiative. This suggests that invitation is key. 

Getting behind this great movement to support citizens, the Calgary Foundation with First Calgary Financial (their Credit Union)  are offering a small grants program for citizens called Stepping Stones. Looks like people are putting their money where their mouth is and the results will probably be or already are looking really good.

#3: We Talk about Open Data, Open Information. What about Open Licensing?

Bold Steps out West: Open Licensing Policy beginnings in Canada

The Vancouver Foundation announced their Open Licensing Policy at the CFC conference with Creative Commons.

“With this move, Vancouver Foundation aims to advance transparency and accessibility of materials to drive greater innovation and creativity in British Columbia and beyond. In short, it’s about building and sharing their collective assets and contributing to a growing pool of community knowledge.”

We LOVE this. What could happen out East? How can we join this movement?

What about this as a value piece at all levels of government?

“In short, it’s about building and sharing collective assets and contributing to a growing pool of community knowledge.”

We know Lee Rose and recommend you follow him and the Community Knowledge Exchange (CKX) movement. 

“The new CKX manifesto: to catalyze and curate fundamental shifts in how individuals, institutions and communities build and share community knowledge in the pursuit of social change. In the coming weeks we’ll share more about our manifesto, the 2016 CKX Summit and other fundamental shifts that CKX and our network of partners and co-conspirators will be driving forward, together.”

Lee Rose is the Director of Community Knowledge & CKX Summit Sherpa. Lee is the sherpa for Community Knowledge Exchange (CKX)  - a new, iterative, share-by-default approach to building and sharing community knowledge. His base camp is at our Ottawa office. Learn more about CKX at www.ckx.org. Tel. 613-236-2664 ext. 312 lrose@communityfoundations.ca

Hey Nova Scotia, how are we plugging into this movement?!?

Check out #CFC2015 for pictures and great tweets with more connections