CSI Members Awarded First Round Investment Readiness Program Funding

Lisa Amerongen

Lisa Amerongen

Director of Communications

It’s not every day the government announces an $805 million investment in social innovation, but on November 21, 2018 that’s exactly what happened. We were excited then, and we’re just as excited now to share the first cohort of recipients funded through the Toronto Community Foundation thanks to the Canadian Government’s Investment Readiness Program!

Social Finance Fund Backgrounder

In June 2017, the Government of Canada created a Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group. Just over a year later the Group delivered its final report, Inclusive innovation: New Ideas and New Partnerships for Stronger Communities.

One of the report’s key recommendations was to create a Social Finance Fund to help close the financing gap faced by organizations that deliver positive social outcomes, and to help accelerate the growth of the existing social finance market in Canada.

And it happened! In late 2018 the Government made $755 million available on a cash basis over 10 years for a new Social Finance Fund and an additional $50 million over two years for social purpose organizations to improve their ability to successfully participate in the social finance market.

The fund gives charitable, non-profit, and social purpose organizations access to new financing to implement their innovative ideas, and connects them with non-government investors seeking to support projects that will drive positive social change.

Poised for Impact: the Investment Readiness Program

Working closely with the Community Foundations of Canada and the Toronto Foundation, CSI is pleased to have contributed to the local grant review (but not to the final selection process) and provide backbone financial support to help flow dollars to recipient organizations. 

As a part of the Social Finance Fund, the Canadian Government created the Investment Readiness Program (IRP). The IRP supports social purpose organizations (SPOs) as they contribute to solving pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges across Canada. Its goal is to help SPOs build their capacity to participate in Canada’s growing social finance market and prepare for Canada’s broader investment in social finance.

At the start of 2020, the Community Foundations of Canada opened applications for a first round of IRP funding. Organizations were invited to apply for $10,000-$100,000 in non-repayable capital to help launch, design, measure and scale their social enterprise and prepare to access investment in Canada’s growing social finance marketplace.

The Results of Round One: CSI Members Funded

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since the Government’s original funding announcement, and that today we are able to share the results from the first round of IRP funding.

The Investment Readiness Program provided $8.9 million in funding to 257 organizations across the country through its first intake. In Toronto, York and Durham, 23 organizations received funding. The issues the national projects address include poverty, well-being, economic opportunity, equality and climate change.

We are overjoyed to share that CSI members RainStick Recirculating Shower, StopGap Foundation, The Spent Goods Company, CSI alumni the Ontario Nonprofit Network and ZooShare Biogas Co-operative Inc., and community members, the Newcomers Kitchen, were among the organizations to have received IRP funding in round one!

“CSI is pleased to work alongside the Toronto Foundation and others to support the delivery of the Investment Readiness Program in the Toronto, York, and Durham regions. Helping to build the investment readiness of these organizations is so vital (especially in these uncertain COVID-times) to the ability of good ideas many of them with a triple social, economic and environmental bottom line to take root, to scale, and for their implementation,” says CSI’s Chief Operations Officer, Seana Irvine, “This is the work that CSI has been proud to support its members with over the past 16 years, through acceleration, education and connecting. The IRP funds are helping to build the field for this work to flourish.”

The first round of the program was highly competitive with over 200 applications submitted for these three regions alone. Toronto Foundation reviewed all the applications with their regional partners and volunteers. 

For a more interactive view, check out this map of all the first round IRP recipients in Canada.

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CSI is proud to be a part of this historic moment in Canada’s social innovation history and we look forward to supporting the Canadian Government in its efforts to strengthen the social innovation and social finance fields. With this funding we can grow the Next Economy and Build Back Better.

Maybe you’re interested in doing that with us.

Applications for the second and final round of funding for CFC’s IRP program will be accepted starting September 8, 2020 until October 9, 2020. Apply today!

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