Community Bonds buy Social Innovation a new home

CSI

CSI

On Halloween 2014, CSI marked a new milestone: we bought a 64,000 sq. ft. building at 192 Spadina Avenue! It’s the second building we own and our fourth Toronto location. It’s conveniently located across the street from CSI Spadina near Queen and Spadina, and, well, it’s a beauty. Exposed brick, wood floors and beams, oodles of natural light, this building was just screaming for CSI.

Buying a building meant several things for CSI: more space, protection for ourselves and for our members from the rising cost of rent, bigger offices to accommodate larger organizations, and, when the mortgage is eventually paid off, a surplus to reinvest in social innovation. It also meant we’d need to come up with some serious cash on top of our mortgage with Alterna Savings and Citizens Bank. So, we turned to our community with the Community Bond to raise $4.3M to buy the building.

“The investment in a Community Bond solidifies my personal connection to CSI…CSI has become essential to my professional growth, but also in connecting with people to work on a level I hadn’t imagined was out there. It’s created possibilities.” Paul Dore, CSI Member

The Community Bond is an interest-bearing loan that allows a nonprofit to leverage its community of supporters to pursue its mission, build its resiliency, and create more vibrant communities. We launched the campaign in mid October of 2014 to help us transform our new location into a home for social innovation, offering a real estate investment with social impact.

News of our Community Bond spread, and we were featured in InsideToronto, Metro and the Toronto Star. Tonya Surman, Co-founder and CEO of CSI, has started a tradition of doing cartwheels in every new building we buy (that’s two cartwheels so far!). In the end, we raised $4.3M from 227 investors who believe in our mission to support and facilitate social innovation.

Since taking possession of 192 Spadina Ave, we have attracted new tenants, refined our long-term strategy for the financing and development of the building, and made necessary repairs and upgrades. Gradually, we will convert parts of the building to the CSI model, with shared facilities, meeting rooms, event spaces, offices and coworking for changemakers.

Community Bonds allow citizens to invest in the projects they believe will make a difference, all while earning a financial return. Thank you to our incredible investors who believe in what we do, and to all those who helped spread the word about our campaign!

Keep Reading
Canadian Innovation Week Banner
It’s Canadian Innovation Week once again! It's 2022, so we're looking back at 22 of our favourite innovations to come out of CSI over the years, pulling from our founding members (Stephen Lewis Foundation!) programs and accelerators, and our time in New York City, to showcase some of the greatest hits that have emerged from our 18 year old experiment in social innovation. 
Lights and candles
As we continue to live with COVID-19, employers must recognize that people bring their whole selves to work. Maria Vassiliou writes about how organizations are on the cusp of a grief crisis, and how their response can create an economy that is more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous for all.
Sticky notes on a wall.
We don’t have the knowledge or skills to work across multiple complex fields; we have yet to discover what the interconnections are or how the pieces fit together; this work requires building trusting relationships with groups we don’t usually work with, a process that takes significant time and investment. In many spaces policy makers and bureaucrats are actively encouraged to silo their solutions to avoid stepping on toes, or delaying action. It all seems extremely time consuming at a moment when we feel we should be accelerating our efforts. How do we even begin?
Become A Member