Exciting Things Happening at the Community Innovation Hub!

So, it’s been a while since we published…but we’re going to be more consistent, because the next couple of months are full of excitement and we want you involved in it!

We have been working hard at the Community Innovation Hub to improve upon the resources that we offer to communities of faith and secular organizations that are interested in using social innovation and social enterprise to give back to community. On the website, we have:

  • On the website, reorganized the over 100 podcast interviews that Peter Miller has done with social innovators into categories.
  • Added a database of over 150 ideas that communities of faith, secular organizations, small groups and even individuals looking to engage with and give back to community can put in place. Please add your own ideas!

Find both the podcasts and the database on the Get Informed! page of the website.

Sarah is also in the process of revamping our kits to make them more streamlined and accessible. The bulky Starter Kit that members received when they they joined is now five smaller kits, stripped down to the basics so that they’re easy-to-understand and implement:

  • Social Innovation: A Starter Kit
  • Social Innovation: An Assessment Kit
  • Social Innovation: A Planning Kit
  • Social Innovation: An Implementation Kit
  • Social Innovation: An Evaluation Kit

An “Ideas Kit” is in the works. All kits are now available, free of charge, to anyone interested in using social innovation to give back to to community. Email Sarah at info@communityinnovationhub.org for more details.

Changemakers Virtual Conference Centre

Our partner in social innovation at the United Church of Canada, the EDGE Network for Ministry Development, has been running a Changemakers Virtual Conference Centre on the WHOVA platform since September 14. UCC’s ecumenical partners have been using the platform to run engaging and dynamic online events, and will continue to do so until November 15th. Since Sarah has been helping EDGE coordinate and run these events, and since one of the events has been on ongoing series on how to run Community Innovation Challenge, we feel the Community Innovation Hub has got a stake in this celebration of learning and community and would really encourage you to look at what’s coming up and see if anything interests you.

The series on how to run a Community Innovation Challenge in particular is something that we at the Community Innovation would really recommend. Sessions from October 15 to November 14 include:

  • Leadership Empowerment Design Jam – October 18, 1-2pm ET
  • Authentic Engagement for Shared Vision – October 19, 1-2pm ET
  • Evaluation and Impact Management – October 26, 1-2pm ET
  • Making it Happen – November 2, 1-2 pm ET
  • Sustainability – November 9, 1-2 pm ET

All of these sessions are accessible to you by registering once at the Eventbrite link for the series. To view the earlier sessions that you missed, visit the Social Innovation Challenge YouTube Channel.

The Changemakers Virtual Conference Centre is also available to host online community innovation challenges using the Whova platform. Please contact Sarah at slevis@united-church.ca for more information.

Love and Justice Gathering

We also have another UCC online event going on using the Changemakers Virtual Conference Centre, from November 3-7. The 2021 Love and Justice Gathering is a celebration of the important work that the United Church of Canada has done and continues to do to make a more just and loving world. This year’s theme is Engage.

With three different tracks (Listen, Discern, and Action/Put into Practice) and daily themes of engaging deep spirituality, daring justice, courageous community, bold discipleship, and hope, the Love and Justice Gathering offers a space designed to inform, inspire, challenge, educate and provide opportunities for networking and connections.

Love and Justice Gathering Attendees can look forward to opportunities to:

  • Worship daily with teams from different United Church of Canada regions and preachers from all over the world
  • Learn from workshop sessions that educate, enlighten, and speak to the soul
  • Listen to plenary sessions made up keynote addresses (including some from youth and young people) on topical issues, and then engage in learning through conversation and discussion.
  • Reflect on the future and share personal vision with others.

We invite all partners to create an Exhibitor’s booth and upload a video or recorded power point presentation to upload to the Whova platform to let people know what they do. Email Sarah at slevis@united-church.ca for more information!

Be a part of this unique opportunity to create knowledge for action by inspiring collective leadership for different ministries. If you are seeking a connectional space for communities of faith, local and global partners who are involved in the justice seeking work, the Love and Justice Gathering is for you!

Register here

More Information and Resources

Information about these activities, EDGEy Conversations, Cohorts, and Idea Days, and upcoming activities put on by other ecumenical partners, gets posted to the EDGE Calendar. On September 13th, the Community Innovation Hub took over EDGEy Conversations with Sarah’s interview of CIH member Charles MacDonald! Keep checking out the calendar to see what’s going on!

We are so excited to be a part of UCC’s work in so many exciting ways! We hope that you’ll join the community of love and learning that we’re building.

In Community,

The Community Innovation Hub Staff

Survey Shows Resilience of Ontario Nonprofits During Pandemic

The results of a survey done by the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) and Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) show that Ontario nonprofits have faced challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with an ability to adapt, and a commitment to service continuation through the lockdowns and as the province rebuilds. The resilience of Ontario’s nonprofit sector during the year since the pandemic started is especially remarkable considering four trends also identified in that time period:

  • Two-thirds of nonprofits experienced an increased demand for services, while one-half of nonprofits lost revenue for pandemic-related reasons.
  • A minority of nonprofits received emergency support from either the federal or provincial government. Small organizations and those without paid staff were hit especially hard.
  • Experiences vary by region.
  • Nonprofits lost a massive amount of volunteers because of the pandemic.

Given these factors, it’s impressive that the the nonprofit sector not only continued to meet peoples’ needs during the pandemic, but also stayed cohesive enough that the ONN and AFO could, from the 3000 responses to their survey, generate 5 recommended actions that the Ontario Government take to ensure that they continue to operate as effectively as possible:

  • Offer a new round of Small Business and Nonprofit Grants, improving communication so that all eligible businesses realize that they can apply.
  • Apply an equity lens to recovery efforts to that volunteer-run nonprofits, nonprofits that serve marginalized groups, and other nonprofits that got low levels of emergency funding or that weren’t eligible for emergency funding during the pandemic receive some support during the recovery period.
  • Support a sustainable and equitable recovery by investing in the low-carbon, women-majority care economy.
  • Invest in the workforce development and digital infrastructure that supports nonprofit service delivery.
  • Extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

You can find out more about the survey and the recommendations to the Ontario Government in the report that the ONN/AOF just released about their findings: https://theonn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021_ONN_State-of-the-Ontario-Nonprofit-Sector.pdf. Share with someone you know!

Thank you to Ontario’s nonprofit owners, administrators, and employees for taking such good care of us!

The Diana Awards

The 2021 Diana Awards were held virtually on June 28th, honouring the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales and her belief that young people have the power to change the world. 400 young people from around the world were nominated this year for their efforts to selflessly create and maintain positive change. contributions on a global basis.

Peter Miller talked to three of this year’s Diana Award recipients on the Giveback Podcast.

Avery Parkinson

Avery and her younger sister Rowan run a youth charity, The Maple Wishes Foundation, that serves as a platform for 11 amazing projects. Avery is in high school and Rowan is in middle school. These young women have a vision to create community and empower others!

Learn more about Avery, Rowan, and The Maple Wishes Foundation by:

Neha Shukla

Pensylvania resident Neha Shukla Neha created the SixFeetApart device to help people effectively social distance, runs workshops about innovation for young people, and plans to write a book – and she’s just in high school!

You can find out more about Nehu by:

Katelyn Wang

Katelyn Wang is studies pathobiology and global health at the University of Toronto. She is also the Executive Director of L.I.G.H.T. (Lead, Inspire, Grow, Hope, Transform) , a youth-led design jam incubator for community projects. Katelyn would like to expand the L.I.G.H.T. model to other Ontario communities, then throughout Canada, then globally. Find out more about Katelyn and the L.I.G.H.T. team (made up mostly of high school youth leaders) by:

It’s wonderful to talk to young people with such big hearts for strengthening their communities, and that organizations like The Diana Award are out there to support them in their work. Congratulations to all the Diana Award nominees and winners – keep up the great work!

You can learn more about the Diana Award by visiting the website at https://diana-award.org.uk/about/.

You can also watch this year’s Diana Award Ceremony at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwihxbOapJM&t=2495s.

Bridging the Gap Through Dancing

Late in 2020, Peter Miller interviewed Sarah Robichaud for our Giveback Economy Podcast. Sarah is a dancer, choreographer, writer, tv star and founder of an organization called Dancing with Parkinson’s.

Dancing with Parkinson’s (DWP) gives seniors with Parkinson’s disease a fun, safe environment in which they can connect with others through dance. The experience reduces isolation in seniors by letting them be a part of an artistic community, and gives them a chance to both get some exercise and to enjoy the dancing experience. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Sarah has shifted to offering sessions virtually, 7 days a week.

She has also spearheaded two Bridging Generations Through Dance Projects, where seniors involved with DWP and youth from the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre used dance and the choreographic process to connect with and learn from each other. Michael Krauss Productions caught moments from the latest Bridging Generations through Dance Project on film and created a short documentary out of the footage, available for viewing on the Michael Krauss website and on the DWP website.

Sarah was recently declared a Community Hero by the MLSE/LG #LifesGood initiative. See what she did when she found out!

To learn more about Sarah Robichaud and her work, listen to her full conversation with Peter Miller on the Giveback Economy Podcast. And check out the Dancing with Parkinson’s program! It is free of charge and runs 7 days a week –> https://www.dancingwithparkinsons.com/ 

Thank you, Sarah Robichaud, for your commitment to making your community a better place!

After the Unconference

We are still exchanging happy stories about our experience at last week’s Hopeful Economics Unconference – what a great time of sharing and learning and making new connections with others!

During an Unconference, the people attending decide what topics will be discussed. After the first day, which was a series of sessions that prepped participants for the types of discussions that were likely to arise during the Unconference, the format changed to panel discussions and interactive presentations with small group discussion and sharing interspersed. On the third day, a call went out to the attendees for people who would like to lead a session on a topic of interest to them, and the rest of the group was invited to attend the sessions that spoke the most to them at the moment.

An Exhibitor’s Hall of Virtual Booths provided opportunities for for attendees to find out about what different organizations from across Canada and the US are doing, and to connect with the people who run these organizations to discuss potential partnerships.

The Unconference was set up on the Whova platform. Whova’s communication capabilities make it very easy to find and contact other people attending an event, and is great about letting you know when sessions are starting and providing you with the links to access the content. For Unconference attendees, the content stays up for three months, so they can go back and review anything they want and investigate anything they may have missed.

It’s important to be able to revisit these sorts of discussions, because an Unconference like this is only the start of very important work. Gatherings like these are beginnings of real change in that they are places for people to get together and talk and share ideas and strategies and start to create partnerships and plans. But the work of developing and implementing these plans is still to come. I left the Unconference excited about I can do to make the world a more just and equitable place, as an individual and as part of the Community Innovation Hub, and I look forward to contributing to the work that needs to be done.

Thank you to EDGE and its partners for the hard work they put into making the Unconference happen, and congratulations on a fantastic job! – Sarah

Hopeful Economics UnConference Happening March 3-5

EDGE: A Network for Ministry Development, the social research and development arm of the United Church of Canada, invites people to gather virtually with partners from across the faith and social sectors during the first week in March to consider the question, “What is hopeful economics?”

The “Hopeful Economics unconference” runs on March 3, 4, and 5th. Hopeful economics is a way of looking at the world’s assets and abundance and determining how they can work for everyone.  During an Unconference, topics and discussions are informed by the people who show up! During this 3-day unConference we’ll talk about how to:

  • See abundance and hope.
  • Use active listening skills and translate what we hear and see.
  • Build collaboration through our commonalities.
  • Lean into the problem.
  • Connect with others across North America and in our neighbourhoods.

 On March 3, participate with fellow unconference attendees in information sessions about topics such as social enterprise, social justice, and their histories with each other and with the church.

The day will prepare you well for March 4’s morning fishbowl discussions and small group follow-up discussions on Communities of Faith and Social Purpose. During the afternoon on March 4, you’ll play “Mission Possible,” an interactive game where you will be put into teams to address a challenge that has been posed to you.

March 5 starts with an Open Space: LIVE session where you can join groups across the country to hear how they’re addressing systemic issues and talk about work that goes on in your community to address them. Lean into the issues that affect you most and take ideas for addressing them that come from brainstorming with your new connections into the afternoon session, where you’ll connect with local groups about what you’ve learned and how to action it.

The Unconference also features, discussion boards, gamifcation, and a virtual Exhibitor Section with booths. We guarantee that your participation in the unconference will result in new connections and new ideas or you’ll get your money back!

Cost: $20/person. Community Innovation Hub members can send as many people as they want for free and can also set up a virtual booth for no cost. Email info@communityinnovationhub.org for more information on becoming a member.

For more information on the Hopeful Economics Unconference, view the conference agenda. You can register here.

The Hopeful Economics Unconference is made possible by a donation from the Metcalfe Foundation.

Welcome 2021!

Happy New Year everyone! 2021 is here. We here at the Community Innovation Hub are hard at work putting our plans for the new year into action. New projects on the horizon include:

  • Our three-day virtual “Unconference” in March, designed for people interested in connecting and networking with others, leveraging our collective experience and ideas to bring about the economic and systemic change necessary to create just and equitable communities. You’ll finish the three days with new connections or new ideas, or you’ll get your money back. Community Innovation Hub membership includes 5 free passes – a $100 value!
  • Virtual social innovation challenges in eight Canadian locations: Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina ,Winnipeg, Kitchener, Toronto, Thunder Bay, and St. John’s .Dates and additional information to follow soon!

And, of course, we will continue to:

  • Increase membership and opportunities for peer support. We’ve already set the dates for monthly Gatherings and welcome your input on what would make them most useful for you. 
  • Work with  members to optimize RingCentral and assist them  to use it as effectively as possible. The kits that Sarah has edited are currently available for download for members; we will continue to post finished kits on the app. We hope that RingCentral will provide a way for members to easily connect and support each other.
  • Edit and format more of the Community Innovation Hub Kits to make available to the membership, partners, and to the UCRD for sale on its website.
  • Continue to record interviews for the “Giveback Economy” podcast and promote them as part of the social media strategy. You can always access the podcasts from our website.
  • Continue to develop and update the website, blog, and YouTube channel.

Check out our year-end report for 2020! Use the Download button under the image.

Email Sarah at info@communityinnovationhub.org to ask questions about our plans for the year. Onward and upward!

The Food Table – Getting People in Need Through 2020

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, but especially difficult for those who’ve found themselves, for varying reasons, unable to consistently afford basics life like enough food to eat. David Beasley, the head of the United Nations food agency said back in April 2020 that the world was on the brink of a “hunger pandemic” that would only be exacerbated by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, predicting that more people would die from the damage to the economy than the virus itself. With COVID-19 still in its second wave in most of the world, we can’t yet evaluate whether Beasley’s prediction holds. However, we do know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity among Canadians increased by 39%, to the point where 1 in 7 Canadians is “unable to buy food or worried about running out without the means to buy more.”

Bill and Shirley Graham, recognizing that not everyone always has the availability or access to transportation required to access an open food bank, especially with the scaled-back hours that became common during the pandemic, wanted to help ensure that marginalized groups, homeless people, and veterans in the Mississauga area could get the food they needed. The 80-year-old husband-and-wife team started setting up a collapsible table in mid-March 2020 near Mississauga’s city centre, filling the table three times daily with food and bottles of water. They also provide information about food banks and other community services to those that need it. The need was so great that they set up another table at Dundas and Sheppard, and they’d like to set up more.

CBC Writer Ania Bessonov reported, “The couple…relied on their savings and whatever they had in their house to keep the table replenished, they said. Then, friends and strangers started to donate.” They also get support from informal partnerships with the Royal Canadian Legion, The Deacon’s Cupboard (operated by five churches in Mississauga) , and other community organizations. This community support has let them also offer winter clothing and protective masks at the tables to those in need.

Bill and Shirley talk to the people who use the tables, and are amazed at the stories. “Some of them are people who shouldn’t be on the street,” Bill told Peter Miller in a recent podcast interview. “For some reason they lose their home, their room, they lose their job, and it’s easy for that to happen, but it’s very hard for them to get back to where they were.”

“What we’re doing is Band-Aids,” he says later.

Very, very few people are on the streets because they choose to be. Bill and Shirley have heard stories about how their efforts have literally save lives. Thank you, Bill and Shirley, for all the good that you do for your community!

To hear more about Bill and Shirley’s story, listen to Peter Miller’s fascinating podcast interview with Bill. You can contact Bill about supporting their work or starting your own food table at mrfiber@outlook.com.

Carla Mumar, Climate Change, and Creating Solutions!

Peter Miller “met” Carla Mumar at SIX Wayfinder’s recent Ensembling event, part of their World 2020 series. We covered the World 2020 series in our last post!

Carla, who lives in the Phillipines, is the sole proprietor of Scale Solutions, a social enterprise that empowers underserved students and young professionals. She and her staff of interns and volunteers (no full-time staff – yet!) provide free skills workshops in:

  • GRIT – Getting Ready for Inclusion Today
  • Growth Mindset
  • Innovation. 

Scale Solutions funds its free workshops by offering companies the following services: 

  • Human Resources Consultancy
  • Innovation Strategy
  • Workshops/Talks: GRIT & Growth Mindset

Scale Solutions also receives funding from sponsorships and donations, both individual and corporate.

Climathon Project

In 2019, Scale Solutions aligned itself with Climate-KIC’s Climathon Project, hosting a pitch challenge for local solutions for the climate crisis. Winners of the pitch challenge, located in the city of Pasiq, got support to implement their solutions in Pasiq, and went went on to represent the Philipines at the Global Climathon Awards.

Climate-KIC lets citizens take climate action through ideathons and partnering with local government units. 

Scale Solutions will participate in Climathon again in 2020, with online events in three different cities:

All money raised helps fund the implementation of the winning solution for two both Pasig and Silang!

Thank you, Carla Mumbar, for your important work! 

Do you want to know what you can do to start a social enterprise that makes a difference in the world? Contact us at info@communityinformationhub.org.

In Community,

Carla, Peter, and Sarah

SIX Wayfinder – World 2020

Hey Everyone!

We just wanted to check in with some updates on what’s going on with us and some information about events that might interest you!

Peter participated in an event organized by SIX Wayfinder. In 2020, SIX Wayfinder is “tuning into the social innovation happening now” by “tuning in to how we are renewing our relationships with each other and the earth: in our lives, in work, in production, in our social contracts and safety nets, in governance and in the local and global spheres of thinking, behaving and relating.”

What an exciting journey! Please consider joining the other events that they have planned for their World 2020 visioning series. The next event is a discussion: How to Support Community Innovation Through Bridging Across Sectors on Oct 27, 10 am GMT (6 am EDT)

In this Open Duet, we are bringing together two global thinkers/doers from Malaysia and Greece — Amalia Zepou (Greece) and Hamdan Majeed (Malaysia), to reflect on community innovation through bridging across sectors.

From Six waywinders website

Upcoming SIX Wayfinder events include:

To learn more about SIX Wayfinder’s past projects, check out Wayfinder London 2017 and Wayfinder Istanbul 2018, and subscribe to the Wayfinder newsletter.

World 2020 is sponsored by McConnell Foundation, Saputo FoundationSuncor Energy Foundation, and Imece


We are not having a Gathering this month, but stayed tuned for news about next month’s Gathering. Hope to see everyone there!

In Community,

Carla, Peter, and Sarah

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