Videos and Webinars

Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres – Toronto, Ontario

In Canada, 70 percent of the Aboriginal population lives in urban centres. Led by Sylvia Maracle, Friendship Centres were created as a way for First Nation, Inuit and Métis people to adjust to an urban environment by maintaining their sense of cultural identity while seeking employment or education. In helping to balance or reconcile different world views they have evolved into innovators of genuine cross-cultural exchange, forging power and confidence among its members to participate in Canadian society while earning respect for their distinct Aboriginal cultures.

The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres is a provincial non-profit organization representing the collective interests of 29 member centres located in towns and cities throughout the province.

Jean Panet-Raymond talks about some of the factors that have contributed to the success of his organization.

Click here for a PDF of slides from the webinar recording from April 3, 2014.

Vivre St. Michel en Santé

St. Michel is one of Montreal’s oldest suburbs. Since 2004, Vivre St. Michel en Santé (for a Healthy St. Michel) has employed an innovative urban and social revitalization strategy that has rebranded a neighbourhood once known for its high crime rates and lack of services into one that is known for its active and unified citizens and coordinated action. Particularly innovative are the processes used build “community” among a transient, diverse and largely immigrant population. Vivre St. Michel en Santé takes an integrated approach involving citizens, community organizations, donors and government offices. Collectively, their efforts have helped residents, with its mix of new immigrants, experience a better quality of life in the areas of art, culture, housing, security, health, sports, leisure, transportation and access to services.

Sylvia Maracle talks about key success factors that helped shape her organization, which she joined in 1974.

Click here for a PDF of slides from the webinar recording from April, 2014.

New Dawn Enterprises – Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

This non-profit community development corporation owns and operates businesses that employ more than 175 people throughout the Cape Breton region of northeastern Nova Scotia. As a founding member of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, and an early innovator in “social enterprise,” New Dawn identifies community opportunities and develops a business or project to address them. It is therefore both a business and a social development organization. Examples of this dual approach include the establishment of dental clinics, meals-on-wheels, housing projects, the Cape Breton School of Crafts and cold-climate greenhouses.

Rankin MacSween talks about some of the factors that have led to the longevity and success of this growing social enterprise.

Ecotrust Canada – British Columbia

Ecotrust Canada is a charitable society whose mission is to build the conservation economy – a model of reliable prosperity in which sustainable financial returns enhance environmental resilience and champion social equity. Ecotrust’s staff of experienced professionals and committed practitioners work in collaboration with communities of place to co-create innovative solutions to some of coastal British Columbia’s most wicked problems. By building examples of resilient ecologies, communities, economies and cultures at a regional scale, they are designing blueprints for others facing similar challenges.

Brenda Reid-Kuecks of EcoTrust Canada explains two critical success factors that have contributed to the impact of her organization in communities along the Pacific Coast region.

Greater Edmonton Alliance – Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton is a city of more than 800,000 people in central Alberta, located in the Canadian Prairies. This city-wide alliance is made up of nearly 40 different institutions, including faith groups, unions, community organizations and local businesses. In recent years it has advocated successfully for affordable housing, positive changes in care for the elderly and the creation of a comprehensive local food strategy. Its members encourage people to engage in the public decision-making process and to hold government and market sector leaders accountable to citizens. The alliance helps strengthen member organizations by providing training at the local, regional and national levels.

Shantu Mano describes the process of building a credible grassroots organization in one of Canada’s largest cities.

A quiet movement: Inuit self-determination

This paper examines the coming together of dispersed Inuit communities in their efforts to achieve self-determination and livelihood security. It highlights one aspect of the movement – the fight against unbridled climate change in the Arctic and its impact on traditional livelihoods. This is a people’s movement that is made highly complex given the dispersed and overall low population, transnational boundaries of Inuit peoples, and petitions/appeals made to national and international bodies that fall outside the boundaries of one or all of the petitioning groups. In less than a single decade, there has been an evolution from petitions that were supported by Inuit hunters and elders living on the land to youth activists who are using social media to connect and share across the huge region they inhabit. Siila Watt-Cloutier, a strong woman leader, has been at the forefront of the climate change movement, and her contribution is examined through the lens of self-determination and livelihoods.

Sandhills Family Heritage Association – North Carolina

Among the first African American organizations in the U.S.A. to undertake land conservation and community development, Sandhills FHA began as a personal quest by its founder to rediscover her cultural roots in the area. This quest inspired the return of African Americans who had lost their land during the last century because of segregation laws and other discriminatory practices. Championing a revitalization of African American connection to the land through ownership and control, the association provides programs and services to build economic self-sufficiency and to preserve the natural and cultural resources of African American families in the region. Community members work together to list the positive attributes that could set the stage for future growth, including natural, cultural, historical and resource-based assets. It is an inclusive process that helps develop an environmental management plan and other initiatives to promote sustainable development.

Ammie Jenkins, Executive Director of the Sandhills Family Heritage Association, credits the elders of her community for the organization’s success.

Click here for a transcript from the May 1 webinar (33K PDF).

Rural Action, Ohio

Rural Action’s roots are in citizen action resisting the devastating consequences of the coal mining industry in Rural Appalachia during the 1980s. Since its formalization in 1991, Rural Action has been a champion of a different kind of economic development: locally owned, environmentally sustainable, contributing to resilient and “robust” communities. Spanning several decades, this case tells the story of Rural Action’s evolution as a member-based non-profit promoting local community decision-making for rural revitalization to its more recent alignment with the idea of different types of “wealth creation” for sustainable development, in partnership with the Ford Foundation. Rural Action has inspired innovations in the development of local food production systems, sustainable forestry, watershed restoration, environmental education, recycling and waste management, and education and advocacy on local energy issues. It has moved from the fringes to a position of influence, integral to a network of local initiatives that are weaving a revitalized and sustainable economy.

CEO Michelle Decker talks about the success of the organization after 20 years, and how it is showing results at scale.

Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, San Diego, CA

The Jacobs Center is part of a unique partnership involving neighborhood residents and a large network of local and national investors. A local family foundation has spawned a network of engaged residents, community associations, and other investors to convert 60 acres of abandoned industrial land into a thriving (and still expanding) commercial and cultural center known as The Village at Market Creek; and in the process has enabled residents to own 20 percent, and a new neighborhood foundation another 20 percent; while pledging to go out of business and turn over all remaining assets to community in 20 years. This case is an extraordinary example of innovative practice by a philanthropic foundation, and innovative principles of local organizing and financing for local ownership and control.

Roque Barros talks about The Village at Market Creek Project, and what led to its success as a unique partnership of local residents and a large network of local and national investors.

PUSH Buffalo

People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo is a local membership-based community organization fighting to make affordable housing a reality on Buffalo’s west side. Founded in 2005, it was established to create strong neighborhoods with quality affordable housing, to redevelop empty homes for occupancy by low-income residents, and to empower neighborhood leaders so they can exert influence on future community development. These citizen-led strategic actions to secure public investment offer innovative solutions for an inclusive local green economy.

Lonnie Barlow, Communications Director with PUSH Buffalo, talks about sustainable housing and job creation.

The Deep South Wealth Creation Network

The Deep South Wealth Creation Network works to develop vegetable and livestock value chains for the purpose of sustaining the natural resources and improving the livelihoods of rural families in Alabama and Mississippi. The Network is made up of seven organizations. Since 2011, members of the Network have worked in partnership with the Ford Foundation’s Wealth Creation and Rural Livelihoods Initiative. Through initial research, the Network identified and assessed the existing components of the value chain, defined a set of investment and capacity needs for growing the value chain, and uncovered the opportunities and challenges related to value chain development in the region. Motivated by the results of this research, the Network is building on this knowledge to construct strong, effective agricultural value chains in low-wealth rural areas of Mississippi and Alabama.

Cheryl Peterson, Co-Manager of the Deep South Wealth Creation Network, talks about the success factors that were critical to the growth of the 12-member network, which addresses issues of agricultural value chains.