Saturday, July 29, 2006

[Recommended Read] In Plain Sight: Reflections on Life in Downtown Eastside Vancouver

Congratulations to the editors of In Plain Sight, Leslie A. Robertson and Dara Culhane, for winning the George Ryga Award.

The CBC quotes Dara Culhane:
The book came out of a research project that started in 1999 called the Health and Home project.

We were interviewing women and talking to women about the relationship between health and housing for women in the Downtown Eastside, and as we moved into that project and got to know some of the women, they talked often about wanting to publish their stories.

From the publisher's website describing In Plain Sight:
In compiling this collection of seven life stories from Vancouver’s “Downtown Eastside,” the editors set out to create a space for the voices of women who are seldom heard on their own terms—the words of people who are publicly visible yet who, due to the blur of preconceptions that surround Vancouver’s inner city, remain unseen. To many, the women who offer their stories here are “people without history,” defined only by belonging to a neighbourhood branded by layers of stigma. Their diverse histories are rarely included in the cacophony of media depictions of urban poverty: the “drug problem,” “prostitution” or statistics on crime and violence. These women share the stories of their complex pathways from childhood into and out of the “Downtown Eastside,” through periods of addiction and recovery, strength and illness, affluence and poverty. They confront and challenge the familiar stereotypes applied to drug users, to “wayward women,” and to those who live with disease and/or mental illness.


Interested in learning more about social enterprise? Take a browse through the Vancouver Social Enterprise Book Store (Vancouver | United Kingdom | United States) and see what other social enterpreneurs recommend reading. Tags for information about: for:vsef, DTES


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Friday, July 28, 2006

Skoll Foundation | Guidelines for Skoll Awards Now Available

Applications are now being accepted for the 2007 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, which support social entrepreneurs whose work has the potential for large-scale influence on critical challenges of our time: environmental sustainability, health, tolerance and human rights, institutional responsibility, social and economic equality, and peace and security.

Initial letters of inquiries may be submitted through September 18. To read the guidelines and view a list of frequently asked questions about the awards, click here.

The awards will be presented at the 2007 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University in England.

You can link here to read about each of the 2006 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship recipients. The list inlcudes:

Room to Read
Riders for Health
Child Savings International

--------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneur, SocialEntrepreneurship, Skoll



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Thursday, July 27, 2006

VanCity - Supports "Change Everything"

First, this isn't a plug for VanCity. Nothing against 'em, good people. Some of our friends work there.

Do want to give a heads up to the creation of a VanCity sponsored on-line community Change Everything.

What's that you say?

Just ignore that a VanCity advertising slogan is "Change Everything" (see image), the site intends to build a community of change makers. Kind of like 30 Days of Sustainability, or maybe One Day Vancouver.

Here's a sample:
Welcome to, the site for people who want to change themselves, their communities or their world. We're still putting the finishing touches on our design and making sure all the lights and buzzers work, but we're glad you're here — and we hope you'll jump right in.

In their own words, they are:
... an online community of changemakers. Some of us are longtime activists; some of us are community leaders; and a lot of us are just regular people with a few ideas for how we'd like to change things. We're focused in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and Victoria, but we welcome people from anywhere in the world. All you need are positive ideas for change.


If Change Everything does anything ... it may breathe some life into VanCity.

From the Change Everything Terms of Use:
Although this site is hosted by Vancity, the site does not provide a method of communicating with Vancity. To contact us directly, visit, call us at 1-888-Vancity (826-2489) or drop by your neighbourhood branch.

Keep hope alive!!


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Friday, July 21, 2006

Capture what you do, to say who you are

On Tuesday afternoon, enjoyed an hour with the Steve Williams, Business Objects, to discuss their offering on TechSoup Stock and how non-profits can apply business intelligence.

The VSEF approached Business Objects to learn how best our non-profit members can apply the product offering via TechSoup. It's a great deal.

We think that better (read, "clear" and encorporating anecdotal information), reporting leads to better relationships with various stakeholders.

Coming away from the meeting with Steve, there's a clear sense the product suite can be used by most non-profits with annual revenue under 5 million dollars, without onerous staffing commitments.

More to follow ... stay tuned.

--------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit, TechSoup, Business Objects, Business Intelligence


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Friday, July 14, 2006

Youth Environmental Entrepreneurship Program

A few weeks ago the VSEF received an e-mail announcing the Environmental Youth Alliance was seeking eligible youth to participate in a skill enhancement program focused on "self employment and starting your own business".

They were looking for youth between 16 - 29, experiencing barriers to employment. The programme offered $8/hr with 30 hours of skill training/week.

Here's the e-mail:
The Environmental Entrepreneurship Program:

Is a new fabulous and funded opportunity for young people to get paid support to start up their own environmental business or reveune generating project.

The aspiring entrepreneur will receive 10 monthes of skills enhancement, mentorship, contacts and support from the Environmental Youth Alliance in partnership with local business and consultants.

Participants will:

- receive skill enhancement workshops in which they learn how to set-up and run a business.
- work directly with experts in the field and gain important contacts in the environmental business community.
- gain direct business application experience through a two-week on-site business experience with a local environmental business owner; providing participants with critical insight and hands-on experience in an area related to their self-employment interests.

They must be ages: 16 - 29. Youth with barriers to employment will have preference.

Help us to connect young people to sustainable livelihood by circulating this posting.

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure "self-employment" is necessarily a profound idea for those 'experiencing barriers to employment'.

Maybe it's me.
--------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit, EYA


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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Who's Your Daddy?

Thanks to Kevin Ohannessian, Fast Company Now, for pointing to this Michael Forsythe, Bloomberg, story.

Kevin asks,
... what do you think when it turns out these non-profit lobby groups are backed by corporations? One could view it as social responsibility gone bad, non-profits funded by corporations and secretly acting as their mouthpieces.

Only in the US? Not so much.

As ever the issue is disclosure. What are you disclosing, or not?
--------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit


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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Better Partners: Credit Unions or Banks?

The current issue of the financial service newspaper Investment Executive, looks at emerging changes in the credit union movement.

The article, Big changes for CUs, looks at how this sector is preparing to play a key role in filling traditional banking services.

Art Chamberlain, Credit Union Central of Canada, says:
"We offer a different way of banking and a different relationship with our customers"

And John Chomard, Sobey School of Business, is quoted saying:
"Credit unions can't take the banks on pricing, but they can in things such as services and attachment to the community. ... If the credit unions end up working just like the banks, why bother?"

Finding a financial partner - "who will dance with me?" It's a question that keeps many a VSEF chat going long after the chairs have been turned on the tables.

Usually, those coming from an enterprise background favour leveraging existing banking relationships. Civil society organizations find comfort with credit union relationships.

All of this makes sense from the relationship angle. But are you being boxed in, 'defined' even, by the financial relationships you've forged?

--------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, SocialEntrepreneurship


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