25 Years of CCEDNet: A View from the Board

April 10, 2024

“I am a prisoner of hope. We are more connected than ever before; we have more knowledge and there are solutions if we work together. We cannot abandon hope, and there is no hope if we do not act.”

Desmond Tutu

After 25 years of tenacity, leadership and solidarity CCEDNet remains a pillar in the Canadian landscape for community economic development. This phenomenal milestone is a testament to the brilliant vision of the founders, and stewards of the mission and vision. I extend my deep gratitude towards the remarkable CCEDNet staff, board and national membership for the privilege to serve alongside you all.

Community economic development and the centering of justice, access, inclusion, diversity, decolonization and equity (JAIDDE) is vital after a quarter of a century’s work. To advance the effectiveness of community economic development we are required to support organizations and individuals to strengthen their communities and create solutions to local needs. It is clear that the future of community economic development is anti-racist, feminist, anti-oppressive and honours mother earth.

Our collective work must be informed and shaped by the unique realities of life in Canada and the intersectional and interconnected worldviews, values systems, ways of knowing, and life-affirming practices that cultivate a healthy relationship with our planet. Essentially, we must promote the language and practice of liberation to serve the relevant, responsive and practical purposes of supporting Canadians in every sphere of struggle.

Our collective work in a coordinated manner must reject, refute and rebut extractive economic models, and colonial ownership frameworks throughout our nation. We must continue to strengthen community capacity and support communities of practice that are rooted in regenerative and sustainable values that are easily utilised and accessible. It is important that the impact of our work generates community interest, builds community investment and a shared commitment to the vision and need for a people-centred economy. Our processes are representative, participatory and inclusive and remain grounded in the best and healthiest traditions and can strengthen national and international movements.

Our call for community action remains the same: to collectively serve others, and establish a Canadian economy in which no one is left behind. As a Board, we strive to enhance outcomes for all Canadians. We facilitate this through honouring our Elders, the community stalwarts who’s shoulders we stand on, the young people advancing the generational struggles that align with our mission and vision, and our membership through consistent communication, and advocacy on behalf of all Canadians, and stewarding strong relationships with government to ensure we are collectively doing our part to transform and in some instances challenge systems to create better outcomes for Canadians on the margins of the economy.

I look forward to working with each of you over the next year and continuing to learn from the talented community economic development professionals that are the backbone of CCEDNet. And please remember, “things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered. we must hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil.” – Adrienne Maree Brown

The time to act is now, join us for another 25 years of community economic development and impact!

Victor Beausoleil

Victor Beausoleil is President of CCEDNet’s Board of Directors, CEO of Intuit Consulting and the founder and Executive Director of SETSI – The Social Economy Through Social Inclusion Coalition.

Victor Beausoleil