Messages from the President and Executive Director

diana_jedigON BEHALF OF THE CCEDNet BOARD, we say thanks to you, our members, for 15 years of meaningful community engagement across Canada and internationally.  As our 15th anniversary blog series revealed, there have been many changes since CCEDNet was founded 15 years ago.  But the need for local leaders to connect, learn from each other and be part of a shared movement is as strong as ever. Together, we have evolved and adapted to changing times, and reinforced each other’s efforts to build sustainable and inclusive communities.

CCEDNet’s expanding use of technology demonstrates leadership in communicating the diverse activities of our members, in connecting people to the right resources, and in cultivating policy dialogues that are firmly rooted in community needs and priorities. 

We extend special acknowledgement to two individuals who made huge contributions to shape the field of CED practice and our organization’s role in mobilizing the movement: Caroline Lachance, who retired from the CCEDNet Board after 12 years and Brendan Reimer, Manitoba Regional Director who moved to a new role with Assiniboine Credit Union.  We are grateful for their dedication and leadership, and that both continue as active members providing their guidance to the staff and Board.

Thanks to Executive Director Mike Toye for his tireless efforts in leading the CCEDNet staff team, for collaborating with emerging partners, and for supporting the Board’s strategic priorities.  Thanks also to the dedicated staff and the many members whose active engagement keeps CCEDNet on course.  As we sail ahead on the winds of change, we look forward to regional and national gatherings to maintain the personal connections that underlie your important work.

– Diana Jedig,
President

michael_toye_smJUST AFTER CCEDNET WAS FOUNDED in 1999, the first National Policy Summit focused on three types of capital essential for the growth of community economic development:  social, human, and financial. 

As it turns out, those three lenses are not just useful when thinking about what local CED efforts need to scale up – they’re also relevant for how we build a national movement.  Strengthening the social capital, human capital and financial capital of our members and the network will go a long way to growing our collective momentum for change. 

CCEDNet provides and connects community leaders with opportunities to develop human capital through our webinars, workshops, the Spark service in Winnipeg and the over 500 events listed in our website calendar in 2014.   

Financial support for CED is probably our biggest challenge.  To strengthen the case for CED funding, we have gathered evidence of the impact of CED, and helped members improve their impact measurement and social return on investment metrics.  In order to explore evolving funding and financing opportunities, we have held webinars on crowdfunding, CED tax credits, and charitable status for CED.  Thanks to the fine work of our Finance Committee, Board leadership and staff, CCEDNet’s financial position has improved as well and the sustainability fund targets set in the reserve policy that was adopted just over two years ago have now been met. 

That brings us to the ephemeral social capital; the tapestry of relationships that can be challenging to weave in a big and diverse country like Canada.  In recent years, CCEDNet has focused on virtual connections, extending the quantity and quality of information and opportunities available online, through our website and many communication channels.  We have succeeded in increasing our reach tremendously.  In 2014, our new online membership system allowed us to create a member map and searchable member directory so that other members and the public can find and get to know each other better.  Our website blog also provides a forum for people to share ideas, perspectives and experiences.

But technology will never replace real human contact, and it never ceases to surprise me how often I am asked: “When is the next CCEDNet national conference?”  Well, we are excited to say that you can start planning now to join us in Montréal in 2016.  Dates and program details will come soon.

Bottom line?  Our social, human and financial capitals are growing in ways that would have been hard to imagine 15 years ago.  That’s a milestone worth celebrating.

– Michael Toye,
Executive Director