When our CEO Tonya Surman co-founded CSI in 2004, co-working spaces didn’t exist. Fifteen years later, the organization has a lot to celebrate. Including the ubiquity of the concept Tonya piloted.
“People ask me how I feel about the fact that there are co-working spaces everywhere now,” Surman said. “Honestly, I’m ecstatic. That is social innovation in action.”
But CSI has always been more than a co-working space. We’ve curated membership of individuals, social enterprises, and not-for-profit organizations united by a common purpose: the creation, development, adoption, and integration of new and renewed concepts, systems, and practices that put people and planet first.
On May 31, our community is going to come together for BLOOM. We are going to celebrate the work CSI has done to build the new economy, and help plant the seeds for how that economy can continue to grow across the country.
“There is so much to celebrate,” said Surman. “Our members create solutions to some of hardest social, environmental and economic challenges Canadians face, while generating over $250M a year in revenue, employing thousands of people, and serving millions more.”
The event celebrates the doors opening at the first CSI location, a floor we rented at 215 Spadina. We have since added another three locations: CSI Annex, CSI Regent Park, and CSI New York. The Spadina location has moved across the street into a building CSI bought through community bonds, an unique social finance endeavour that enabled the organization to raise over $4M. The Annex location was purchased the same way.
“If we can figure out how to buy a building together, what else can we do?” mused Surman. “To me it’s proof that we can do things differently when we’re willing to put our social capital first and our financial capital second, and not get caught in old ways of thinking.”
The event will also celebrate the work of the Social Innovation Institute (SII), a new charity that’s partnered with the Centre for Social Innovation to promote social innovation education and reduce poverty. The Social Innovation Institute and the Centre for Social Innovation have collaborated to launch SI Canada, a new national platform to connect innovators across the country and spread great ideas.
BLOOM will capture the energy of the social innovation sector and CSI’s rich history with a blend of interactive installations, live music, and animations. Featuring sounds by Jazz Money, live ambient performances by local circus artists, delicious mocktails by Temperance Cocktails, visual exhibits from CSI’s archives, live drawing by illustrator Josh Rosen, live writing by Natalie Zina Walschots, and tunes by the magical DJ Steph Honey.
A celebration of CSI’s 15 year history & SII’s future
Friday, May 31 • 8pm-2am
192 Spadina Ave, Toronto