Friday, September 24, 2004

BC Technology Social Venture Partners Event - Sept 28th

BC Technology Social Venture Partners (BCTSVP) is presenting "Discover the Potential of Social Enterprise" and you're invited. BCTSVP is a charitable foundation created by individuals in B.C.'s technology industries to go beyond cheque book charity and "contribute [...] time, expertise and entrepreneurial acumen to the not for profit world".

BCTSVP is inviting interested parties to the Four Corners Business & Employment Centre to get to know the organization and to hear about their work with two Vancouver social enterprises, the Potluck Café and Fast Track to Employment(FTE).

Tuesday, September 28th, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Four Corners Business & Employment Centre
390 Main St – NE corner of Main & Hastings


“Lead Partners” Jessica Hotz and George Brown will tell you about shepherding
a new SVP project from grant proposal through funding, planning and execution.

Liz Lougheed Green, Executive Director, Potluck Cafe Society and David LePage,
CEO, FTE, will explain their organizations and the impact they are having in Vancouver.

Invest 90 minutes of your time. The return on your investment to Vancouver’s social fabric could be unlimited.

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Regulatory Reform for Canadian Charities

In October, Volunteer Vancouver will offer a workshop, Understanding the CRA: Regulatory Reform for Canadian Charities, for board members of local non-profits.

The session will be presented by Terry De March, Director of Policy and Communications, Charities Directorate, Canada Revenue Agency.

Recently there has been substantial regulatory reform relating to charities in Canada. Understanding these changes will ensure organizations are functioning well and within the law.

This session will:

* Clarify these reforms
* Investigate new approaches to policy development and consultation with the sector
* Discuss the new political activities guidelines

Thursday, October 21, 2004
9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: The University Women’s Club of Vancouver, 1489 McRae Avenue, Vancouver

Look here for more information on Volunteer Vancouver.

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Friday, September 17, 2004

Social Capital Market Roundtable - Over the Horizon

Tides Canada Foundation and Social Capital Partners convened a Social Capital Market Roundtable today in Vancouver. The event followed on the heels of the Social Venture Institute Hollyhock retreat.

The morning session was framed by presentations from Bill Young, Dominique Collin, and David Berge.

Bill Young, President of Social Capital Partners. Prior to founding SCP in 2001, Bill spent twenty years in the private sector where he gained significant experience leading high growth, entrepreneurial organizations. He was CEO of Hamilton Computers, a publicly traded computer company, which grew from $15 million in revenue to $250 million under his leadership and was consistently ranked in the top ten percent of the Financial Post 500 companies in both return on assets and return on equity. Hamilton Computers was sold to GE Capital. Bill was also the CEO and subsequently the chairman of Optel Communications Corp (later Axxent) which was a leading CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) in the Canadian telecommunications market when he left in 2000.

Dominique Collin is a member of the Philia think team and is interested in the social and community aspects of sustainable development. A steady collaborator of the Agora magazine, his articles reflect his training as a psychologist and his vast philosophical culture. He has recently attended an important symposium in Bologna, Italy on the Emilia-Romagna cooperatives that remain thriving despite globalization.

The discussion was captured for later distribution by Coro Strandberg and will be available via the Tides Canada Foundation website, or from roundtable attendees.

The roundtable looked at the following questions
    What are the obstacles to growing capital markets and devising new capital market instruments?
    What important innovations, new models and approaches have taken place in the past several years?
    What can Canada learn from the experience of the United States?
    What role does government play in creating an enabling environment for development of new pools of capital for social risk initiatives?
    What strategies could help move Canada to a more robust capital market infrastructure?

The intention of the morning was to review Canada's expanding interest in new forms of "social" capital markets that can support the growing field of social purpose initiatives led by non-profit/charitable or hybrid entities.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

VanCity Award Finalists

Between September 6th and October 15th, members of the VanCity Credit Union are invited to vote for the 2004 recipient of the $1,000,000 VanCity Award. Members will receive ballots with their account statements, or can visit VanCity Award.

The VanCity Award is an annual grant to a local non-profit organization that allows VanCity to make significant impact in the community. Since 2001, members have had the opportunity to express their sentiments.

The candidate organizations this year are:

Interestingly ... all the proposed non-profits will use the funds for building.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Building a Better Board - October 1

The Canadian Association of Management Consultants will be in Vancouver for a conference at the beginning of October. Dr. Richard Leblanc's luncheon presentation 'Building a Better Board', may appeal to those interested in Board dynamics.

Dr. Richard Leblanc, an award-winning teacher, a management consultant, professor, lawyer, independent advisor, and specialist in boards of directors and effective corporate governance will present Building a Better Board: A Top 10 List

Leblanc believes there is a correlation between good board efficacy and corporate performance, his examination of boards-in-action suggests improvement should not only be directed at creating board autonomy, but also towards its internal processes. How the directors work together, the recruitment of highly effective members, and guiding principles add value to the board and make it highly effective.

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Friday, September 10, 2004

Check-Box Governance

At a recent board meeting, the humdrum call to order was followed by a presentation by an officer of the corporation described as the VP, Mission, Spirituality & Ethics. The VP, M, S & E started the meeting with an examination of the corporate mission and values. Great stuff that 'grounded' the room. Given that meetings are held six times a year, it's a handy process.

The presentation became more interesting when the officer referenced the 'Corporate Calling' and closed with 'Our Legacy'. It was the first time a board meeting left me feeling ennobled.

The VP closed quoting Margaret Mead
"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Maybe it's a case of right message/right time but it was an awesome meeting.

So it is no wonder this item,Corporate Governance by the Numbers: It Doesn't Work, from the Knowledge @ Wharton newsletter caught my attention. The item phrases the concern about structural guide lines and governance metrics. If you have the link for a copy of the paper, "Does Corporate Governance Really Matter?" ...


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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Social Economy in BC Roundtable (pt ii)

Just received the follow up report to the The Social Economy in BC roundtable facilitated by IMPACS (Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society). The VSEF wrote about the session here.

A six page summary of the morning discussion is accompanied by copies of the presentations made by Tim Beachy, Elisabeth Geller, and Rupert Downing.

The report does offer these "key themes for follow up":

    a. BC has enormous talent and capacity in this area;
    b. we need to map our existing resources accurately;
    c. case studies of successes would be valuable;
    d. it is worthwhile to develop a "Made in BC" position and strategy on the social economy, and to take the lead in western Canada;
    e. attention must be paid to existing collaborations and leadership, including the credit union movement, the voluntary sector (VOCBC, VSF), the CED community (CEDNet) and the cooperative movement (BCCA);
    f. there is no single answer, but hundreds of opportunities and potential approaches;
    g. the group participating in the Roundtable can serve as a reference group in shaping a position and strategy;
    h. there are others not present who could add value to this effort, so the circle needs to be broadened, and to include the rest of BC;
    i. dialogues in other parts of the province are key;
    j. there is a history and expertise in community grant allocation processes that could inform how social economy funds are spent in B.C.; there needs to further exploration of this;
    k. participation from the corporate world may be helpful;
    l. while dialogue is important, we should focus on local action-oriented activities;
    m. we should each canvass the thoughts of our neighbours and networks and stimulate debate on the social economy

The group that convened the roundtable met on September 2nd to consider how best to follow-up the dialogue. They'll meet again on September 8th to clarify an action plan. I hope to keep you posted.

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Social Purchasing – Buying Locally, Helping Locally

David LePage, CEO of Fast Track to Employment - a partner in the Social Purchasing Portal (SPP), wrote Social Purchasing – Buying Locally, Helping Locally for The Caledon Institute of Social Policy.

David's monograph describes an innovative internet gateway that is allowing businesses in Vancouver to make purchases on the basis of price, value, quality and social value. The SPP seeks to blend corporate social responsibility with community economic development.

The Caledon Institute is a social policy think tank established in 1992, as a private, nonprofit organization with charitable status. It is supported primarily by the Maytree Foundation.

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Monday, September 06, 2004

Stronger Together Forum

This past March, Vancouver Agreement Partners and the Vancouver Economic Development Commission co-hosted the Downtown Eastside (DTES) economic revitalization forum titled "Stronger Together".

The Stronger Together Forum:
broadly sought to engage business and the community in a discussion of a draft Plan for Economic Revitalization in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The plan strives for "economic revitalization without displacement".

The document highlights three key strategies
    Increase demand for local goods and services
    Strengthen supplier capabilities in the DTES
    Increase employment opportunities for local residents

On page 18, Milton Wong's "Stepping Stones to the Revitalization of the Downtown Eastside" provides an interesting context, and what he calls the first principles for revitalizing the DTES.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

News: Atira Property Management Ltd.

In the August 28th issue of The Vancouver Sun, columnist Daphne Bramham wrote "Do-gooders turn to cutthroat capitalism". [I'd give you the link but the electronic version of the paper is for subscribers only. Pity] In the article, Bramham rightly points to Atira as a leading social enterprise in British Columbia, if not Canada.

The best part of the article is the public recognition of Atira and its continued development as a social enterprise. In this case, profitability.

Atira's story is inspiring. With profitability, and an acquisition in the bag, Atira may get mythic. In September, the board is expected to declare how Atira will manage its well deserved gains.

Bramham writes
What social entrepreneurship means is that non-profit organizations set up for-profit companies that make use of their talents, resources, and expertise. The profits are then plowed back into programs run by the non-profit.

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