The Stronger Together Awards were created in 2019, marking CCEDNet’s 20th anniversary, with the intention of annually recognizing and honouring past and present CCEDNet members who have advanced Community Economic Development by working to strengthen and advance sustainable and equitable local economies or made outstanding contributions to CCEDNet.
The first two years of the Stronger Together Awards celebrated individuals who had received honorary lifetime memberships over the years or had contributed long standing leadership on the Board. Starting in 2021, however, we implemented an open call for nominations from CCEDNet members, which led to five winners being selected in 2021 and another three in 2022.
This year, we followed the same process again, with a call for nominations being issued at the beginning of April. It is a great pleasure to share our winners here. Congrats!
2023 Stronger Together Award Recipients
Quint Development Corporation
Quint has been serving Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods for over 25 years and has been involved in CCEDNet since the beginning. Most recently, they’ve been one of the organizational members contributing to our Government Relations project, working collaboratively to increase our network presence and power with the federal government but way back in 2008, they were also the local host of the National CED Conference.
The work and impact of Quint is a real life example of an ideal community. They say “the CED approach has the potential to build healthier communities – where people regain some measure of control over their day-to-day lives and where human and local needs take precedence over distant and corporate needs”.
This approach that so deeply resonates with CCEDNet’s Theory of Change is proving impactful. In a community managing through deep disparities and inequality, they have housed over 2600 people, created 8 housing co-ops, and built or renovated over 200 community owned housing units. They’ve developed many social enterprises and community organizations, including Build Up Saskatoon, Station 20 West, and the Boxcar Cafe, employing folks facing barriers to good jobs. And they know that a resilient community is more than houses and jobs – it’s also one that is joyful and connected with community events and arts & cultural programming.
Alterna Savings and their Community Impact team are the first financial institution to receive a Stronger Together Award! Alterna was one of the first credit unions in Canada to offer micro-loans through the Community Microfinance Program. The program also offers wrap-around support for underserved entrepreneurs with one-on-one consultations, financial education, tools, and workshops. Since its inception, the program has disbursed millions in loans and helped change the lives of thousands of underrepresented people and their families.
More than a loan, Alterna differentiates our work in the community space by providing the educational support individuals and organizations need to thrive. Through Alterna’s Community Financial Education Program, Alterna develops and delivers financial education programs, resources, and supports tailored to the specific needs of underserved and underrepresented individuals, organizations, and communities.
Alterna’s recognized expertise in the field of microfinancing is what led them to be part of a team tasked with developing the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund with the Federal Government. Alterna was a strong advocate for a microloan pilot, to provide support for Black entrepreneurs looking for loans to be part of the program – because, in Alterna’s experience, this was a key gap for Black entrepreneurs. Working in partnership with the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE) and the Government of Canada, Alterna saw the launch of the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund Microfinance Pilot Program, which will help to break down some of the systemic barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs.
Alterna continues to build on its reputation in microfinance and on long-standing partnerships within the affordable housing and non-profit sectors. Considerable effort has been made to strengthen existing and develop new partnerships and working relationships. The Community Impact Team at Alterna today truly shows how community impact can be significantly strengthened through partnerships and working together with the community to achieve the desired impacts.
Alterna is not just your ordinary financial institution. They have been dedicated to providing innovative financial solutions while prioritizing the well-being of the communities they serve.
Green Action Centre
The Green Action Centre (GAC) is an important community-based non-profit in Manitoba. Their primary areas of work are green commuting, composting and waste reduction, sustainable living, and resource conservation. Their work spans from helping individuals and communities take climate action, all the way through to policy and systems change work.
Compost Winnipeg is a social enterprise of GAC. They saw an opportunity to provide a much-needed service, and generate revenue for the Centre, while preventing waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Compost Winnipeg was launched in 2016 with a single pickup truck for collection, and has now grown to a five truck fleet serving most areas of the city, and diverting over 70,000 kilograms of organic waste from the landfill every month!
Green Action Centre is a long-time CCEDNet member. They have a new ED, and numerous new staff members leading exciting projects. They exemplify new leadership within an established CED organization, bringing in fresh ideas and perspectives.
CCEDNet staff in Manitoba decided to nominate GAC and Compost Winnipeg because of their strong participation across CCEDNet Manitoba’s programming this year:
GAC staff have actively participated in the MB Member Meeting, Policy Summit, member meet ups, and in strategic conversations about the Network’s work in Manitoba. GAC staff frequently attend MB Learns events, have put together workshops at the Gathering in recent years, and have had a staff member on the Gathering Design Team.
Compost Winnipeg has been involved in Social Procurement advocacy work at the City of Winnipeg, and supported in further advocacy work at the City to adopt a curbside composting program. GAC’s impact in Winnipeg and Manitoba on environmental education, action and policy change is immense.