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CSI Network News: How to create inclusive local economies



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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Community wealth creation is a way of developing local economies by strengthening community infrastructure. One of CSI’s focus areas, this community-centred approach to economic development aims to place control and ownership into the hands of local residents and in doing so, build neighbourhood economic autonomy, sustainability, and wealth. 

It’s also a key component of what CSI calls the Next Economy: one that is equitable, sustainable, and prosperous for all. In this issue, our Senior Program Manager Denise Souedian-O’Leary describes community wealth in action, we look at community ownership as an affordable housing solution, and we explore private equity as a way to return power to folks in marginalized communities.

Next Economy Solutions:

Community Wealth

Denise Souedian-O'Leary, our Senior Program Manager, Community Strategy, Projects and Partnerships speaking to Annamie Paul, Green Party Leader.

Local Economic Development and Community Wealth
Denise Souedian-O’Leary, our Senior Program Manager, Community Strategy, Projects and Partnerships, sat down with Annamie Paul, Green Party Leader, to speak about CSI’s community wealth strategy and our Every One Every Day program.

“Ownership [is] part of the process,” says Denise. “Community wealth has embedded in it this idea of shared ownership and cooperative governance of community spaces, community assets. We’re tearing this idea that [ownership is] held up above. We want to pull that back down into the community.”

Big News: Community Land Trusts are Taking Ownership of 643 Affordable Housing Properties from the City of Toronto 

In early 2022, the City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing Corporation will transfer 643 properties across the city to The Neighbourhood Land Trust and The Circle Community LandTrust, ensuring they will be held in non-profit community ownership in perpetuity. In part, this initiative will provide affordable housing opportunities to existing tenants and women-led families (who often face barriers to safe and affordable housing).

Why is this important?

Canada is in the midst of a housing crisis: as large corporations buy up properties, rent is increasing, and many folks who have put down roots and built lives in their communities are getting priced out.

One promising solution is community ownership — a key component of the Next Economy. By placing power back into the hands of the people who make up the fabric of these communities, we can foster inclusive, prosperous local economies. And it works! To see this in action, you need to look no further than the Parkdale Neighbourhood and Kensington Market Land Trusts here in Toronto.

This solution continues to gain traction among big players in the housing sector. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently announced a new $2 million funding initiative supporting these community-based solutions. If you are working on a Community Land Trust or Land Assembly solution for affordable housing, you can apply for grants of $100,000 – $250,000 to support your project.

Democratizing Capital: Make People in Marginalized Communities Equity Investors
When Barack Obama was President, he passed a law that transformed the way the public invests and who gets to participate. The individual, private investor is now able to invest in whichever businesses or ideas they want to support.

But on their own, this law is not enough to reduce the racial wealth gap or repair the harm of privatized marketplaces on communities of colour, writes Angie Kim. As this new market continues to grow and take its shape, we need to ensure infrastructure is built so that underrepresented communities are able to participate fully.

Stories from
the Network

Kingston Social Value Fund forms partnership with United Way Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
CSI’s Social Innovation Specialist, Jo Reynolds, sits on the Investment Committee for this new youth-run impact investment fund. They aim to raise local capital and invest it into local small businesses and nonprofits that are generating meaningful, intentional social impact for the Kingston community.

CSI Solves

Every One Every Day: Toronto

The Our Neighbourhood Project was the Covid pivot-iteration of the Every One Every Day: Toronto Participatory Cities model. The intention was to introduce and build inclusive participation by providing many different entry points for residents to participate, and opportunities to build the social ecosystem.

During our pilot, we hosted 30 workshops with 130 participants in the Regent Park neighbourhood. We summarized our successes, challenges, learnings and next steps in this report.

CSI Connects

Earth Tech Pitch Night
Wednesday, June 30, 7:00 – 9:00 PM ET
What do you get when you combine live pitches, impact entrepreneurship, and Canadian cleantech? Our Earth Tech Pitch Night! Hear pitches from Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs helping to address the climate crisis. You get to vote on which three ventures will walk away with cash prizes totalling $10,000.

Earth Tech is our cleantech accelerator made possible by the RBC Foundation, Bullfrog Power and the Peter Gilgan Foundation. Pitch Night cash prizes are supported in part by Fiix.


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

Addressing Systemic Discrimination in Housing: Claiming the right to housing in the GTA

Addressing Systemic Discrimination in Housing: Claiming the right to housing in the GTA
Tuesday, July 6, 5:00 – 7:00 PM ET
Hear first-hand accounts from lived experts who have experienced discrimination in housing, then work in small groups to identify types of systemic discrimination in housing and propose concrete solutions to address these issues. This workshop is hosted by CSI Member Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation and the Right to Housing Toronto network.

Our Community Builders

Communities Moving Beyond Crisis
Tuesday, June 29, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET
CSI CEO Tonya Surman is a keynote speaker at this summit where brands and experts convene to find ways to come out the other side of the COVID-19 crisis stronger and better connected, hosted by CSI Alumni DYPB.

Policy Matters: Grassroots Mobilization in the Digital Age

Policy Matters: Grassroots Mobilization in the Digital Age
Tuesday, June 29, 6:00 – 7:00 PM ET
CSI Member OCIC is hosting a series of training sessions to support youth in recognizing the value and insight they can bring to policy and advocacy spaces, build skills, and take action.

Respecting First Nations Data Sovereignty: What It Means and Why It Matters
Wednesday, June 30, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Learn about First Nations data sovereignty and why it matters in today’s context from the Common Approach to Impact Measurement and First Nations Information Governance Centre.

Capturing Information in the Cloud

Capturing Information in the Cloud
Wednesday, July 7, 12:00 PM ET
Being able to capture data online can not only save you time, but also ensures accurate information enters your systems and flows through integrations correctly. Get valuable tips for ensuring any form you create will collect the right information.

It’s Up To Us

Rays of Hope: Youth United for Safety

CSI Member BAM Collective is launching Rays of Hope, a project for BIPOC youth (19-29) in Scarborough and Regent Park to come together to address youth safety issues through healing, resiliency, recovery and community capacity building workshops. This project will also provide a safe space for youth to heal through art therapy and creative activities and access to mental health support and resources.


Job Board

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

Program Coordinator, Climate Ventures | CSI (that’s us!)
Deadline: June 27 (TODAY)
We’re looking for a Program Coordinator to support our Accelerate from Anywhere program! If you’re organized, detail-oriented, and passionate about climate solutions, make sure you apply today!

Digital Marketing and Communications Coordinator | CSI (that’s us!)
Deadline: Rolling
Are you a great visual storyteller? A sharp copywriter? A data nerd? We’re looking for a Digital Marketing and Communications Coordinator to help us manage our online channels and support our marketing campaigns.

Communications and Content Specialist | Ontario Council for International Cooperation
Deadline: July 5
CSI Member OCIC is looking for someone to develop, implement, and evaluate their communications strategy.

Facilitator, Open Workshop for Comics Creators | Canadian Comics Open Library
Deadline: August 15
This CSI Member (now based out of our Annex location) is looking for 8-10 Ontario comics creators to facilitate professional development workshops covering a variety of skills and topics.

Chief Technology Officer | Inwit
Deadline: Rolling
Inwit was co-founded by Erika Reyes and Adrianna Couto, two members of the CSI community. Now, they’re looking for an experienced software engineer with a green heart who is serious about climate action to join their leadership team!


Go For It

The League of Innovators’ Labs virtual accelerator for youth-led startups includes workshops, AMAs, resources, coaching, mentorship, and a world-class community of experts and peers. Deadline: July 5

The Amani Institute’s Social Innovation Management certificate is a 5-month intensive program where you will learn skills in leadership, innovation, communication, and entrepreneurship; receive personalized coaching sessions; and practice your learning through apprenticeship or in your own job. Deadline: July 5

DigiZine is a series of five online workshops for 2SLGBTQ+ BIPoC youth, where they’ll learn how to make digital zines. Participants will get a $50 honorarium for participating in each workshop, a food stipend, access to Canva Pro for the duration of the program, and 25 glossy copies of their final zine! Deadline: July 10

Good Investing Founder and longtime CSI Member Tim Nash is launching an Introduction to Sustainable Investing course.

As Seen At CSI

Graphic recording from a panel on disrupting inequitable access to justice in Canada

A graphic recording from a panel on disrupting inequitable access to justice in Canada, hosted by CSI Member Level Justice. This currently hangs in the halls of CSI Annex!

Photo credit: Karyn Rowe, RMT and fellow CSI Annex Member!

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