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CSI Network News: Why Canada needs employee ownership



Every Sunday, we curate solutions, stories, community events, jobs, and funding opportunities in our weekly newsletter. Here’s this week’s CSI Network News.

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Next Economy


Why Canada Needs Employee Ownership: A Next Economy Conversation with Peter Deitz

Why Canada Needs Employee Ownership: A Next Economy Conversation with Peter Deitz

We sat down with Peter Deitz, Co-Founder of Grantbook and Unwrapit, for our latest Next Economy Conversation.

As Peter explains, due to current Canadian legislation, “there’s no simple answer to what an ESOP is.” Right now, unlike the US and the UK where clear frameworks exist, converting to an ESOP is a bespoke endeavour, making a hard-and-fast definition a little difficult to come by.

In this recap, Peter outlines how Grantbook created their own employee ownership plan — and why more Canadian organizations should consider this tool for redistributing wealth.


Building Toronto’s Food Infrastructure

With the average age of Canadian farmers reaching 60 years old, the global food system responsible for up to one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, and Toronto only having three days of fresh food in case of an emergency, Emma Tamlin felt like urban agriculture was an ideal solution.

After completing our Agents of Change: Sustainable Development Goals program last year, Emma co-founded Raised Roots, an urban agriculture operations and consulting company. Together with her co-founders, they’re bringing edible landscapes to the city.

Stories from
the Network


Diagram of the Food Shed

Innovative Off-Grid, Organic Indoor Farm to be Piloted through City of Brampton’s Backyard Garden Program

CSI Member Phil Fung is the Executive Director of Nature Harmony Foundation. They just partnered with the City of Brampton to bring the Food Shed — a striking example of emerging closed-loop technologies that offer sustainable, year-round agriculture in urban areas — to the city.

This off-grid, organic indoor farm is also waste-free and will offer public education on sustainable and community-based agriculture techniques and approaches to nature therapy through immersive urban farming. Housed in a 160 square-foot space, the produce harvested from the Food Shed will feed families in Brampton through Regeneration Outreach Community.

“Waste to Wardrobe” Venture Closes Pre-seed Round at 1.5M

Short for “alternative textiles,” ALT TEX is creating circular, biodegradable and carbon neutral textiles engineered from one of the world’s largest landfill contributors – food waste. One of our 2021 Earth Tech ventures, ALT TEX just closed its pre-seed round of funding at $1.5M.


CSI Educates


Social Entrepreneurship 101 testimonial from Khalidah Bello of Ogo Tawa Inc.: "Ògo Tàwa Inc., would not have the successes that attract strategic alliances, partners, influencers, and funders towards our organization today without the help of Social Entrepreneurship 101, CSI staff, and my fellow Social Entrepreneurship 101 comrades. The Social Entrepreneurship 101 course is a game changer, a venture booster, the essential preparation and nurturing environment for any intelligent-minded, ambitious social entrepreneur. It is best in class."

Last chance to register! Learn entrepreneurial skills to bring your ideas to life and set you apart in a fast-changing job market. Join the network of change agents participating in our next Social Entrepreneurship 101 cohort. Registration closes May 30 — next Sunday — and classes start June 8!

CSI Connects


Innovator Toast

CSI’s Innovator Toast
Friday, May 28, 4:00 – 4:30 PM ET
It’s been a while since the community has gotten together, and we know a lot has changed over the past year. As we bid goodbye to Spring and welcome the next season, we wanted to share a Community Toast with all of you: members old and new, past and present.

How to Prepare Your Organization for Successful Evaluation

How to Prepare Your Organization for Successful Evaluation
Wednesday, May 26, 12:00 – 1:30 PM ET
Learn how to make your organization’s evaluation work more efficient, make evidence-based decisions, and improve your impact. CSI Members get in free!


How to Create and Implement an Evaluable Impact Strategy

How to Create and Implement an Evaluable Impact Strategy
Thursday, May 27, 12:00 – 1:30 PM ET
Learn how to set a clear direction, determine key performance indicators, and prioritize projects in this Lunch and Learn. CSI Members get in free!



Want to get your events on our events calendar? Find out what membership could look like for you!


Community Wealth Building Wednesdays: a social procurement webinar series

Community Wealth Building through Social Procurement in Ontario
Wednesdays, May 26 to June 23, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET
CSI Alumni Ontario Nonprofit Network has partnered with Buy Social Canada and others to host this webinar series on social procurement as a means to create community wealth and community capital.

Race and Nature in the City

Race and Nature in the City
Wednesday, May 26, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
CSI Member Sustainability Network has partnered with Nature Canada to discuss a new report exploring the barriers to urban nature experienced by young racialized people.


Person in plaid shirt holding a white box that says "Donate"

Churches Charities Not-For-Profits: Knowledge Hub 2021
Thursdays, May 27 to June 10, 7:00 PM ET
Cultural organizations will be discussing best practices for fundraising, the Ontario Trillium Foundation will discuss the Logic Model, and lawyer Taras Kulish will speak to the legal perspectives of fundraising during the pandemic.


Elevate and Amplify

Elevate & Amplify Conference
Thursday, June 3, 1:00 – 5:00 PM ET
A virtual conference centred on BIPOC voices within design and social change. With an all-BIPOC panel, this is an opportunity to hear valuable perspectives and experiences that aren’t always given the spotlight in our society.


Venture Summit / Virtual Connect

Venture Summit / Virtual Connect
July 6-8
Three days of investor panels, workshops, and pitching! Get an extra 20% off early bird rates with code “CSIVIP” and apply to be a Top Innovator to pitch live and access one-on-one investor meetings.



Job Board

Want to post your opportunities to our job board? Find out what membership could look like for you!

Chief Operating Officer | CSI (that’s us!)
Deadline: May 24 (tomorrow)
The Chief Operating Officer will play a pivotal leadership role in leading the next chapter of CSI’s evolution and helping to make the Next Economy a reality.

Volunteer Services Officer | CESO
Deadline: May 30
You will will work closely with Program staff, CESO Advisors and In-Country Teams in the day-to-day delivery of assignments.

Bilingual Communications and Engagement Specialist | Social Innovation Canada
Deadline: May 31
Join a fledgling team and help bring together Canada’s network of social innovators! You will play an essential role in the building of this national initiative, working to broaden their reach and deepen engagement with stakeholders.

Engagement Coordinator, Communications Lead | Project Neutral
Deadline: Rolling
We’ve been lucky enough to see Project Neutral grow through our Earth Tech accelerator and as a CSI Member — don’t miss this chance to join their team!

Digital Community Manager, Web Developer, Marketplace Developer | The Spent Goods Company
Deadline: Rolling
This CSI Alumni is also growing their team! They’re looking for digitally-minded folks to grow their online presence, streamline their ecommerce platform, and build an online marketplace.


It’s Up To Us


We are at a pivotal moment for our sector. Together, we can gather data to inform solutions, supports, and advocacy.

As Ontario moves into pandemic recovery and rebuilding, the sector needs responsive public policy solutions and supports to meet the immediate and long-term needs of our organizations and the communities we serve. Data is key! This is a crucial time to gather evidence to plan and to advocate to government and other funders for a more equitable and sustainable recovery.

CSI alumni Ontario Nonprofit Network, in collaboration with l’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario, is conducting a survey about how COVID-19 has affected nonprofits in Ontario (including charities, nonprofit co-operatives and grassroots groups). Deadline: June 4

(P.S. All form respondents will be entered to win two free tickets to ONN’s Nonprofit Driven 2021!)

Go For It


Waashayshkwun grant fund

Indigenous, Black, racialized, LGBTQ2S+, and disabled independent service providers based in Canada can apply to the Waashayshkwun fund. These grants are intended to provide the recipients with financial relief and with the opportunity to invest in their business development. Deadline: June 30

As Seen At CSI


Inner Circle podcast, episode 25: The End of Branded Swag?

In our conversation with Peter Deitz, he spoke a bit about his newest venture: Unwrapit. CSI Member Erin Andrews of Impact Zero Foundation sat down with Peter’s co-founder, Linsay Moran, to talk about Unwrapit’s virtual gifting platform and the end of branded swag.

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