Recently, Violeta Manoukian, Founder and CEO of Collaboration Works International in Nova Scotia, sat down for an interview with Robert Cervelli, Senior Advisor and Co-Founder of the Centre for Local Prosperity, to discuss their new model of economic development and climate readiness as well as the 2023 creation of the Atlantic Food Action Coalition which is working regionally for stronger food systems. Here is transcript from this interview.

Violeta Manoukian: Bob. Could you just briefly talk about the Center for Local Prosperity, what’s its focus or its mandate?

Robert Cervelli: I’m glad to give you some background on Center for Local Prosperity. We’re 10 years old this summer. I’m one of the co-founders along with Gregory Heming, who was a municipal counselor for six years in Annapolis Royal.

We are a charitable organization. Our mandate extends through the four Atlantic Canadian provinces. And if I was to give you an elevator pitch on what we do, we work at the intersection between climate readiness and relocalizing economies for small, rural and local communities.

And we pick the words ‘climate readiness’ specifically because it focuses on adaptation, getting ready for the multiplicity of changes that are coming our way, not just from climate, but from all of the other issues around destabilization of our way of life.

And then that intersects with relocalizing economies, communities being able to do a better job of looking after their basic needs and capturing wealth in their communities.

And when you do one of those, climate readiness or relocalization, they’re perfectly synergistic, one reinforces the other and it builds resilience.

So what the Center does is we convene large regional conferences, we’ve done three of those so far: two around localized economics, one around localizing food systems.

We’ve done two studies on import replacement and government local procurement, and we advise small rural and local communities and municipalities.

VM: Very meaningful work. So could you talk a little bit more about what’s the importance of local economies in your view?

BC: Thank you for asking that. We live in a day and age where there’s a fork in the road for everything that happens.

I refer to this at both the domestic level, the neighborhood level, and the community level, even the provincial level. To focus on the community level, it comes down to the fact that we live in an era of globalization where there’s centralized forces, both corporate and government, that are gaining more control for managing things centrally. This removes our ability to make autonomous choices from the local level. So that’s one fork in the road – dependency on those centralized systems.

The other fork in the road is what builds local empowerment, local engagement, and local agency for the future within those local communities. Municipalities, for example, have that choice. What builds greater dependency on centralized systems? Or, what builds greater local agency for their community?

And that’s really, I think, the choice or the fork in the road these days for most any decision.

Also important is the work that we do, particularly around local economies, to capture wealth, to build on the allegiance of place that people have for their community. People care about their children. They care about their elderly. Everyone wants to look after each other. And there’s ways of capturing that social capital and that financial capital within a community.

There’s five elements I could list. One of them begins with government’s degree of local procurement. There’s usually anchor institutions in many communities, public sector entities that spend a lot of money every year, and they could spend a greater portion of that locally.

There’s, of course, local investment for new business, expansion of existing businesses, and so on. There’s a number of mechanisms that those could be fostered.

There’s deepening the use of local assets. It could be all kinds of things. e.g. public lands for example – how are those being used? Can they be made available for community gardens, for example? Public schools? What activities could take place off hours, and so on.

A fourth element is just labor, well-paid labor, that has allegiance to their employer and builds that sense of community.

And then finally, there’s locally owned businesses. Numerous studies have been done showing that a locally owned business is at least two and a half times of greater economic benefit to the local economy than a non locally owned business.

VM: Thank you for expanding on that. I was wondering if you have some examples of community projects that you’ve been involved in and their impact.

RC: I can give you one regional example and then maybe some more local examples. I’ve mentioned that we’ve done three large regional conferences. And in each of those, we brought in 45 speakers presenting best practices across Atlantic Canada, for either local economy or local food systems.

So these are inspirational stories that can be replicated, can be scaled, or can be leveraged in some way. After those events, we hear quite a few instances where somebody wants to approach a particular speaker, find out how did they do it, how can we do ourselves, and so on.

Another example at the regional level occurred just with our last event focused on local food systems. You can go to, the Dig In Atlantic Regional Food Systems Summit. Coming out of that event, there was a non-profit organization that just recently formed and is getting underway called the Atlantic Food Action Coalition. These are major food system players, all four provinces that are now collaborating, working together to move the needle on greater local food within our region.

VM: Impressive and very necessary.

BC: And at the local level, I can give you one example that I am particularly fond of – the town of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, – an amazing example of galvanizing community engagement around a community garden, a community greenhouse, and support for local people suffering from food insecurity. There has to be, I’m going to wager, about 12 non profit organizations involved, including the municipal government, the local community college, the high school, the local Indigenous band, and on and on it goes.

VM: It’s great to see those kinds of partnerships. So, how do you think the future looks for local economies in our part of Canada?

BC: I am not going to try to forecast anything, but I think everybody knows that we live in increasingly fragile times. We need to keep that in mind. Now is the time, when things are functioning fairly well, to begin to build that local resilience, that local sense of agency at the community level.

There’s work to be done. A lot of communities are recognizing that. I’ve mentioned Shelburne. There’s numerous other ones that are really working to rebuild the strength of their community, the cohesiveness, the caring, and I always like to think that in Atlantic Canada, we have this built-in, I call it “cultural DNA”, that people care for each other.

You’ll see it come out very quickly if there’s a disaster of some kind. Say somebody’s house burns down and right away everybody will help in different ways. Recently there were big forest fires in both Shelburne and Tantallon, Nova Scotia.

VM: Yes, we saw that DNA during the fires.

BC: And right away there’s businesses, non-profits, everybody stepping up to offer support in whatever way they can. So I think it’s that ethic, that cultural caring, that is going to be probably one of the strongest attributes going forward into the years ahead.

VM: Well, this sounds promising. Thank you so much for all the work you’re doing!

Robert Cervelli has been an active volunteer in community building for over 35 years. Robert is the Senior Advisor and Co-Founder of the Centre for Local Prosperity ( He is also Co-Founder and Chair of Transition Bay St Margarets Bay (, one of the first Transition Initiatives in the Maritimes. He advises rural communities on the process of drawing out the skills and projects inherent in local cultures to build resilience and adaptability to global changes. As an experienced botanist and horticulturalist, Robert manages a two-acre ‘teaching centre micro-farm’ at his home in St Margarets Bay. He holds a B.Sc. degree (Forestry) from Purdue University and a M.Sc. (Botany) from the University of Wisconsin.

Violeta Manoukian is the Founder and CEO of Collaboration Works International (, a consulting and training firm based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Violeta has three decades of expertise in participatory approaches that bring together a broad spectrum of stakeholder groups including non-profit organizations, communities, donor institutions, federal and municipal local governments, the private sector, and academia. Her M.A thesis “Participatory Development: Paradigm Shift in Theory and Practice” sparked her ongoing passion for creating spaces where she can apply collaborative approaches to bring about systemic change and yield optimal impacts. Community development, public engagement, design/facilitation of collaborative meetings and workshops, participatory projects/programs, participatory research, and participatory monitoring and evaluation are among her specialties.


Check out the Manitoba region newsletter for Summer 2024 here.

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From a 2023 interview with Sara Atnikov (Director of Communications and Employee Assistance at Purpose Construction)

CCEDNet member Purpose Construction provides skilled trades training and long term jobs to people with barriers to employment. Sara Atnikov, Director of Communications and Employee Assistance at Purpose Construction, is a part of the We Want to Work coalition that CCEDNet Manitoba provides support for. This coalition believes that one of the best ways to achieve positive social, economic, and climate outcomes would be for government to consider community benefits in their purchasing. If even a very small portion of this spending supported community benefits, it would have a huge social, economic, and environmental return on investment.

In a 2023 interview, Sara shared about the importance of working together to achieve collective action

Purpose Construction is part of the We Want to Work coalition, a bunch of social enterprises that had been rallying the city for social procurement for a thousand years… I’m half joking and half serious!

I remember giving a presentation to the City of Winnipeg, organized by CCEDNet, to all of the department heads, talking about ways in which we could get folks who have barriers to employment in on city contracts and city projects. I could tell there was a lot of apprehension. 

That was seven or eight years ago. Then, finally, coming back to City Hall [in 2022], standing in council and having them vote in this social procurement policy. Being there with folks who had been working on it for so long. What an experience!

At this point it’s really a lot of potential. What it could mean for folks from Purpose Construction is the opportunity to work for a market construction company and build their skills into something greater.

We now have folks who are champions of us because they have seen that our work is great. It’s quality. And we also provide the social benefit. That’s what social procurement gives us – that opportunity to prove ourselves!”

CCEDNet Manitoba builds connection and power in community organizations, coalitions, and social enterprises through convening stakeholders and leaders and representing sector interests through government relations, moving towards CCEDNet’s vision of sustainable, equitable, and inclusive communities directing their own futures.

Sara Atnikov, Purpose Construction

“I don’t think that we’re necessarily siloed in a negative way, but I do think that we’re all ‘head down doing our own thing.’ So being able to have those opportunities to come together and to chat with other social enterprises and nonprofits around the table is super helpful. If I can just like show up to something and there’s a bunch of people there that are of like-minded views and relevant connections, that’s great!” – Sara Atnikov, Director of Communications and Employee Assistance at Purpose Construction

Participate in the coalitions that CCEDNet Manitoba supports, and advance our vision and collective voice for change through public policy advocacy and government relations!

Thank you Cate Friesen from The Story Source for interviewing Sara!


Together we are truly stronger, and everyone has something to contribute. A milestone like this, our 25th anniversary, is not just an opportunity for reflection on our past but a call to continue to dream into the future. CCEDNet as an organization is now 25 years old, but the network continues to be reborn with every change to our membership.

After several years of work and meetings, the founders of what became the Canadian CED Network rallied around the desired outcome of “enhanced community capacity for revitalization and self-reliance.” To achieve this, the network set out to develop and exchange CED knowledge and skills, market best practices, engage a broad range of partners and sectors in CED work, identify key policy objectives which position CED as a viable option, and increase capacity to deliver technical assistance. 

In many ways this original outcome and the tactics to achieve it, haven’t changed greatly over the years. But our strategies continue to evolve and respond to the challenges of our times, which have changed and in many cases increased. Our particular strengths as a network have been around knowledge sharing and skills learning and acting as a convenor to build strong partnerships and sense of community. We continue to work to build collective power for policy advocacy, but also recognize that impacting policy at the provincial and federal levels is a long and difficult process.

Over the course of the past 25 years CCEDNet has put on many events, starting with the 2001 National Policy Forum in Vancouver and then moving through a series of national CED conferences: in 2001 hosted by the Atlantic CED Institute in Halifax, in 2002 hosted by SEED Winnipeg, in 2004 hosted by ÉCOF-CDÉC in Trois-Rivières, in 2005 hosted by Community Economic and Social Development Program of Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, in 2006 hosted by the BC/Yukon CED Network, in 2007 hosted by FINALY in St. John’s, in 2008 hosted by Quint Development Corporation in Saskatoon, and in 2009 hosted by Ka Ni Kanichihk and SEED Winnipeg. Many of these earlier conferences were co-organized with the CED Technical Assistance Program, which ran from 1997 to 2009.

In 2010 we held the National Summit on a People-Centred Economy, co-organized with the Canadian Co-operative Association (now Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada), le Chantier de l’économie sociale, the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships, Causeway, the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, Enterprising Non-Profits, the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal, the Women’s Economic Council, and the BC-Alberta Research Alliance on the Social Economy. This was a return to the strong policy focus of the 2001 forum and the partners from this event have continued to meet and work together. 

After a prolonged hiatus on national events we then returned in 2016 with the national CED conference, rebranded as EconoUs (or EcoNous). The first EconoUs was co-hosted with CEDEC in Montreal. Then in 2017 it was co-hosted with Momentum, Thrive, the Institute for Community Prosperity, REAP and Calgary Economic Development in Calgary, 2018 with the NB Environmental Network in Moncton, and 2019 with Community Futures Ontario. 

Sustainable Finance Forum, November 1-2, 2023

More recently we’ve partnered with MP Ryan Turnbull to deliver the Sustainable Finance Forum in 2023, with another planned for this fall. 

Aside from the pancanadian events, we’ve also delivered and partnered on provincial and regional events. Most notably, the Manitoba Gathering has been going for over 20 years now, moving briefly to a virtual format through the pandemic. This pay-what-you-can event is a true community collaboration, with many members in Manitoba contributing to the programming and social enterprise providing food. 

All of these events have been important opportunities for CCEDNet members and social economy players more broadly to come together, share learnings, and build relationships. 

Over the past 25 years CCEDNet has taken on a number of projects to advance our collective mission to connect people and ideas for action to build local economies that strengthen communities and benefit everyone. I can’t possibly mention them all but here are a few of the significant projects we’ve taken on or were part of that many of you on the call have also contributed to. 

Between 2005 and 2011, CCEDNet partnered with the University of Victoria in the Canadian Social Economy Hub, which acted as a facilitator promoting collaboration among six regional research centres across Canada. Together we undertook research to understand and promote the Social Economy tradition within Canada and as a subject of community-university partnerships. The collaborative effort of the six regional research alliances (Québec, Atlantic Canada, Southern Ontario, the Prairies and Northern Ontario, BC and Alberta, and the North) and the Canadian Social Economy Hub was called The Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships (CSERP). The partnerships were established through a five-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research grant. Altogether, over 300 researchers, drawn from universities and Social Economy organizations, participated in the work that was undertaken creating over 400 research products.

Manitoba Social Enterprise Strategy

Following the 2013 Social Enterprise World Forum in Calgary, CCEDNet – Manitoba convened the Social Enterprise Working Group to consider what it would take to strategically scale up the impact of social enterprise in Manitoba. That meeting resulted in a policy resolution approved by CCEDNet – Manitoba members and then to the co-construction with the Government of Manitoba of the Manitoba Social Enterprise Strategy focussed especially on social enterprises that provide training and employment opportunities for people with barriers to employment. The Strategy lays out policy areas around six pillars: enhancing enterprise skills, ensuring access to capital and investment, expanding market opportunities, promoting and demonstrating the value of social enterprise, regulatory framework, and networks and community engagement.


Our national work experience program, CreateAction, has run, off and on, since 2005. In its most recent iteration, delivered in partnership with the National Association of Friendship Centres with evaluation support from the Social Demonstration & Research Corporation, the focus of CreateAction was on providing paid-work experiences and career-relevant learning opportunities for young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET) and who are facing systemic barriers to employment. The main goals of the program are to promote pathways to meaningful employment and to improve youth wellbeing. A secondary goal of the program is to help employers in the social economy to meet their staffing needs, attract the next generation of youth to the social economy sector, and to create a more welcoming and supportive employment environment. Throughout 5 different iterations of this program we have engaged almost 300 youth.

Established in 2016, the Social Enterprise Ecosystem Project (S4ES) was mandated to address five of the Six Pillars of the Supportive Ecosystem for Social Enterprise Development, created by the Social Enterprise Council of Canada. To achieve this goal, S4ES partners – CCEDNet, Buy Social Canada, Le Chantier de l’économie sociale, the Social Enterprise Institute, and the Social Value Lab – combined forces to optimize co-operation and create a network of partners to support social enterprise leaders. S4ES helped social enterprises start up and grow, sell their products and services, measure their impact, network, and learn best practices in social procurement and social impact measurement. This project ended in late 2021. 


Starting in 2021, CCEDNet partnered with Synergia Institute and Athabasca University to deliver the Synergia Transition and Resilience Climate Action Program (STARCAP). STARCAP’s objective is to mobilize local climate action by providing resources and support to grassroots and community organizations  to navigate the “Toward Co-operative Commonwealth massive open online course (MOOC) and accompanying participatory workshops, actionable frameworks and networking opportunities. 

IRP Understanding Impacts

The last program I’ll mention is the recent Investment Readiness Program, a $100 million grants and contributions program (2 iterations of $50M each) designed to support social purpose organizations as they contribute to solving pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges across Canada. The aim of this program was to help social purpose organizations across Canada build their capacity to participate in the growing social finance market and prepare for the Government of Canada’s broader investment in social finance via the Social Finance Fund. The Social Finance Fund, the IRP and the appointment of the Social Innovation Advisory Council are the first initiatives to result from the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy. CCEDNet was the convener of IRP partners, creating a network of expertise and diverse experience within the program, including partners who raise awareness, develop expert services, consider how diverse demographics can get connected to this field, and the ‘readiness support partners’ who disbursed IRP funding to Social Purpose Organizations.

Finally, an important development of the past five years for CCEDNet was the creation of our Theory of Change. We began work on articulating a Theory of Change in 2019 through board and staff engagement and through a process of iteration we came to the version we have now that was adopted in 2021. This has provided us with a clearer framework for strategy development than we’ve ever had. Now that we’re 3 years into using the Theory of Change and tracking metrics towards the outcomes we are seeking, we’re also seeing some of its limitations.

As we prepare to say goodbye to our current longstanding Executive Director, Michael Toye, and welcome new leadership, CCEDNet will be engaging in a Strategic Review of CCEDNet’s Theory of Change and internal strategic framework. This work feels all the more important following the end of several major projects, which has resulted in new teams and a smaller budget while we all navigate the disruptions of the wider world, particularly since 2020.

Coordinating this process will be Sarah Leeson-Klym in a new “Associate Director” role, who will be providing support to our national programs throughout the transition and the Review. The Review process will be led by a joint board and staff Theory of Change Working Group and will be deeply informed by our members. We are still working through the details but are feeling bold and curious from the start. 

We anticipate this process will tackle three major lines of inquiry. First is the Theory of Change overall – do we really have a shared understanding of the concepts, values, and outcomes outlined here and what needs to change based on what we’ve learned recently? Second is intentionally examining our network to see who is compelled by this approach, who we might be missing, and if we know the real purpose and potential of the network. Third, we need to look at our actions and operations to align with the findings and continue to shape more equitable and impactful strategies as a staff team.

You can expect to see our regular newsletters and member communiqués slow a little and shift to focus on this process for the next few months. You can look forward to being invited to engagement sessions and other activities that will provide you with opportunities to share your insights. And you’ll hear from us as we hit major milestones along the way. 

Stay tuned for more updates on this process and for opportunities to contribute your passion, ideas, and questions.

Matthew Thompson
Director of Engagement


Matthew Thompson

Matthew has been working with the Canadian CED Network since 2007 in various capacities particularly in the areas of research and knowledge mobilization, event organizing, and the coordination of the national internship program, CreateAction. Matthew also co-authored Assembling Understandings: Findings from the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships, 2005-2011 a thematic summary of close to 400 research products on the Social Economy in Canada.

Matthew Thompson

The State of the Sector reports continue to show the crisis happening within our sector. Grants will always be critical to organizations. However, there is a need for revenue diversification because being dependent on grants or any streams of income that do not cover the entire cost of programs and operations or can be removed based on someone else’s decision or the political will of the moment makes your organization vulnerable.

Think about grants or contracts—when these resources come in, they go out almost immediately. It’s a constant cycle of one hour in, one hour out, with funds being allocated as quickly as they are received. This rapid turnover means that very few resources remain within your organization to support ongoing operations, staff development, or address emerging community needs. 

The pressure to constantly secure new grants and contracts can make it challenging to invest in long-term sustainability and growth, leaving little room for strategic planning or capacity building. Consequently, while these resources are crucial for immediate project funding, they often fall short in providing the financial stability needed to adapt to evolving challenges and seize new opportunities.

On the other hand, when you invest in building assets, those assets grow to the point where they can generate income that your organization can control so you can direct it to where it will have the most benefit, from supporting capacity to achieving long-term financial strength.

Most commonly, we consider assets as those listed on our balance sheets, but many important assets you have within your organization are not likely to appear there. When we take a wider lens of ‘what is an asset,’ we realize our organization has valuable assets we can use. It means we must view assets as something that holds not just economic value. An asset can hold social, cultural, natural, and community value alongside future economic benefit. When we take this wider lens, your organization has a larger set of assets available to generate the resources you need to create community impact and sustainability. 

This shift from reliance on traditional revenue sources, such as grants, to earned income can significantly enhance your organization’s financial stability and reduce vulnerability. It also enables your organization to play a key role in building the local economy and influencing how and where money flows as it directs the flow of resources to organizations that are doing the most critical work in society.

Developing your assets significantly benefits the community in many ways, such as enhancing service delivery to expanding impact-focused programs and services. You can begin to reach more people and address a broader range of needs in the areas you serve. 

Assets such as social purpose real estate generate revenue that is reinvested into the community, fostering sustainable development and growth. This revenue supports the creation of better facilities, providing spaces for community gatherings, educational programs, and essential services. Additionally, it aids in job creation by offering employment opportunities within these facilities and through related projects. 

And the funds are directed towards skill development programs, empowering individuals with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive. By investing in these areas, social purpose real estate helps build vibrant, resilient communities and addresses some of today’s most significant challenges, including food security, unemployment, and social inequality.

If you are interested in figuring out how your organization identifies its existing assets, how to go from underperforming to performing assets, what the sweet spot is when, and how to combine assets in partnerships, know that you can be supported to do this. Join the movement of non-profits and charities across Canada that are tired of existing on a shoestring budget and are shifting their organizations to financial sustainability. Visit Thriving Non-Profits to learn more about this transformational learning opportunity.

Applications are open now for the Thriving Non-Profits fall 2024 Cohort program. It is a 5-month facilitated learning program that will transform your organization with new approaches to grow your programs, support your team, and increase your impact in the community. Learn more and apply here.

You can also drive change by participating in our self-paced program, which is designed for individual learners. Get more information and access here. Use code TRANSFORMATION at checkout for a special discount offered to CCEDNet members. 

Keep up with innovative resources and programs for the non-profit sector by signing up for the Thriving Non-Profits newsletter and follow Thriving Non-Profits on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram  


Kristi Rivait

Co-founder and Director, Partnerships and Programs, Scale Collaborative, and co-founder of Thriving Non-Profits. Scale Collaborative envisions a thriving, connected, and abundant social change sector, and through its Thriving Non-Profits program, platform, and community, works with hundreds of non-profits and charities to transform through capacity-strengthening revenue diversification towards greater impact.

She brings 20+ years of leadership experience in the non-profit sector, including 10+ years as an Executive Director. Kristi is an expert at operational transformation, change management, and diversifying revenue.

Issued: June 19, 2024
Responses due: July 4, 2024


CCEDNet is a values-based, non-profit association committed to connecting people and ideas for action that builds local economies, strengthens communities, and benefits everyone. We have members throughout Canada, including organizations, networks, and individuals who are strengthening sustainable and equitable local economies. Members are active across many sectors such as community development, social enterprise, rural development, co-operative development, employment development, and housing.

We are committed to the values of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Dignity, Self-Determination, Solidarity, and Local Control. Together, we are working towards sustainable and inclusive communities directing their own social, environmental, and economic futures through our Theory of Change.

About the Opportunity

CCEDNet has recently completed the development of a Compensation Philosophy which highlights include creating a transparent salary scale that expresses the value of a role to the organization, as well as attracting, motivating, and retaining talented staff from across the country, through mechanisms that are understood and accountable to employees.

We are now seeking the services of a Canadian consulting firm or individual to complete an organization-wide compensation review using an anti-oppression approach that will bring the philosophy and our practices into alignment.

The consultant(s) will:

  • Review existing job descriptions and organizational structure and make recommendations for job profiles and salary bands that reflect our internal structure, minimize bias, and ensure equitable treatment of all employees.
  • Benchmarking against industry data and relevant market trends, analyze our current compensation levels (including regional variances) of both monetary and non-monetary compensation and make recommendations for improvements.

It is understood that the contracted consultant(s) may need to subcontract other individuals to ensure the audit team includes expertise from Indigenous, Black, and racialized individuals, persons with disabilities, 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, and/or religious minorities perspectives. The consultant(s) will work closely with members of the Leadership Team and staff from a variety of teams and positions in CCEDNet’s organizational structure.

Our Goals:

  • To ensure that our compensation packages are fair and equitable for all employees, regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, geographic location and conviction for which a pardon has been granted as set out by the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  • To align our policies and practices with our Compensation Philosophy. 

Scope: Deliverables and Desired Outcomes

  1. Written report detailing anti-oppression recommendations and including an analysis of the gaps and disconnect between our current policies and practices and our new compensation philosophy.
  2. Recommendations for salary bands and job profiles that reflect our structure and market benchmarking.
  3. Recommendations for changes to employee benefits or other elements of total compensation in order to better reflect our structure, considering market benchmarking. 
  4. Recommended process to evaluate ongoing and new positions and corresponding compensation.
  5. Recommended strategies to increase and/or improve retention and attraction of employees
  6. Assemble all findings into a final report and present (virtual) the findings and recommendations to the Compensation Working Group, and potentially, the Board of Directors.

Budget and Timeline

Our current budget for the project is $10,000 plus applicable taxes. Our desired timeline is a completed project by September 2024.

Proposal Requirements

  1. Company name (including GST number and incorporation number if applicable), and contact information (address, email, phone number, and website).
  2. Name and position of individual who will oversee the project, as well as project team members (if applicable) including brief professional biographies and an explanation of interest in this work.
  3. Outline of previous experience:
    1. Providing consulting services, including organizational compensation audits or assessments to diversity, equity and inclusion.
    2. Working with organizations in the non-profit sector.
    3. Utilizing a variety of online techniques and platforms to meet deliverables.
  4. Sample list of past and current clients including any relevant commentary on outcomes and impact of this work.
  5. Description of your approach to this work:
    1. Identification of which deliverables you can address.
    2. Your consultation approach to centering the experiences of Indigenous, Black, and racialized individuals, persons with disabilities, 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, and religious minorities.
    3. Work plan describing methodologies, approaches, timelines, and roles and responsibilities for how the work will be accomplished.
    4. Description of anticipated risks and difficulties, and proposed strategies to address them.
    5. Confirmation of willingness to work alongside other consulting firms or individuals to achieve the deliverables, if applicable.
  6. Expected compensation and other estimated costs including a breakdown of the proposed budget by deliverable.

Please submit proposals by July 4, 2024 to with “Compensation Review RFP Response” in the subject line.

We thank all interested parties and look forward to reviewing your proposal.


Mike Toye
Executive Director


In 2023, CCEDNet partnered with Good Futures Collective to undertake a community-centred Developmental Evaluation (DE) of the Synergia Transition and Resilience Climate Action Program (STARCAP).

The purpose of undertaking this evaluation was to both summarize learnings from the program and develop a framework for employing a reciprocal, iterative, and transparent approach to evaluating complex and emergent community programs. 

Uniquely, the evaluation utilized rapid ethnography, speculative fiction, art-making and somatic practices and aimed to surface the precursors for community engagement in climate action across diverse communities in Canada.

Findings describe the challenges across differing levels of community diversity and resources, the impact of privilege, trauma and perceived self-agency, and the opportunity to centre health, social connection and transcendence to imagine new futures and establish a foundation on which to build community resilience.

Finally, this report reveals opportunities for CCEDNet and other industry organizations to improve program outcomes and engagement with community stakeholders by implementing more intentional co-design and collaborative processes at all stages of program development and delivery as a way of centring trust, reciprocity and social well-being.

Questions can be directed to Amanda San Filippo, Director of Learning & Innovation – .

View the report


Note: this piece was originally published on Shareable.

We stand at a historic moment—a crossroads in the history of humanity and Mother Earth. Rarely has there been a convergence of so many crises, from climate catastrophes to fascism.

These are scary times, but crises also create opportunity. The last two major economic crises, the Great Depression and the stagflation of the late 1970s, resulted in fundamental shifts in the dominant capitalist economic model. Today, people’s faith in the status quo is shaken. There’s a growing openness to new narratives, new models, and new paradigms: the solidarity economy offers a transformative pathway to a new system beyond capitalism.


What is the Solidarity Economy?
What are the key elements of the Solidarity Economy?
What are “imaginal cells” of the Solidarity Economy?
What are examples of the Solidarity Economy in the United States?
What are examples of the Solidarity Economy internationally?
How is the Solidarity Economy different from the Sharing Economy?

What is the Solidarity Economy?

The solidarity economy (SE) is a global movement to build a world that centers people and the planet rather than maximizing private profit and endless growth. It is not a blueprint theorized by academics in ivory towers, but is grounded in concrete practices that exist all around us. Some practices are old, while others are emergent innovations. Some would be considered alternative, while others are quite mainstream. There is a large foundation upon which to build. The trick is to connect these currently atomized practices so they work together to transform our whole economic system (and indeed world). 

The image below lays out a definition of the solidarity economy that draws on both the US Solidarity Economy Network (USSEN) as well as RIPESS, the international solidarity economy network, which led a two-year international consultation process to build a shared understanding of the SE.

Photo credit: US Solidarity Economy Network and RIPESS

What are the key elements of the Solidarity Economy?

While there is a tremendous latitude within the solidarity economy to encompass a wide range of approaches—grounded in the local realities of culture, language, history, political-social-economic contexts, and the environment—there are elements of the solidarity economy definition that apply across these specificities:

1. The solidarity economy is a framework

2. This framework connects solidarity economy practices (see below for examples)

3. Solidarity economy practices are aligned with solidarity economy values:

  • Solidarity
  • Participatory democracy
  • Equity in all dimensions: race, class, gender, abilities, etc. 
  • Sustainability
  • Pluralism (meaning that this is not a one-size-fits-all approach, or as the Zapatista say, “A world in which many worlds fit.)

4. The solidarity economy is post-capitalist

  • All of the values above articulate a post-capitalist vision. The solidarity economy holds that we cannot achieve the just, sustainable, democratic, and cooperative world that we seek by reforming capitalism. We don’t reject reforms, but it’s imperative to see them as part of a longer-term process of fundamental system change. In the absence of this, reforms alone can end up strengthening capitalism. 

5. The solidarity economy is an international movement

  • The solidarity economy is an international movement. The movement includes RIPESS, an international solidarity economy network of continental networks, the International Labor Organization (ILO), which runs an annual Social Solidarity Academy, and the United Nations which has a solidarity economy task force. Bolivia and Ecuador also include the solidarity economy in their constitutions, and several countries have national policy frameworks supporting the solidarity economy. 

What are “imaginal cells” of the Solidarity Economy?

Awakening to a different vision

When a caterpillar spins its chrysalis, a magical process begins. Its body starts to break down into a nutrient-rich goop. Within this goop are imaginal cells, and these imaginal cells have a different vision of what they can become. They are so different, they are attacked and killed by what remains of the caterpillar’s immune system.

Yet, surviving imaginal cells begin to recognize each other as having a common purpose and vision of becoming. They begin to cluster together and can survive the immune system attacks. As they continue to come together, they start to specialize—some become an eye, some a leg, some the body, and some the wing—until what emerges from the chrysalis is an entirely different creature—a butterfly.

The solidarity economy is currently akin to isolated imaginal cells. The vast foundation of solidarity economy practices don’t yet recognize each other as holding a common vision, so the clustering and specialization—equivalent to forming an ecosystem—is not yet realized. The solidarity economy provides a framework for these imaginal cells to recognize their common vision, to come together and operate as a wholly different, post-capitalist system and world!

Photo credit: US Solidarity Economy Network and RIPESS

What are examples of the Solidarity Economy in the United States? 

Defunding the police and participatory budgeting

In Seattle, Washington, the city allocated $30 million to a participatory budgeting process that gave community members a say in how the money should be used. Twelve million dollars was directly diverted from the Seattle Police Department, while the remaining $18 million came from the Mayor’s Communities Initiative Fund.

Community land trusts

Community land trusts (CLT) are nonprofits that hold “land on behalf of a place-based community while serving as the long-term steward for affordable housing, community gardens, civic buildings, commercial spaces, and other community assets…” according to the International Center for Community Land Trusts. Among the many strategies to develop CLTs, municipal public sector support for community land trusts can significantly increase the supply of permanently affordable housing. A recent report on CLT-municipal partnerships cites three dozen examples of cities providing support through funding, technical assistance, donation of property, staffing, helping with regulatory hurdles, and more.

Local solidarity economy ecosystems

The imaginal cells of the solidarity economy are already clustering, but what will it take to go to the next stage of building and creating connections between existing and emergent solidarity economy elements to give birth to a new post-capitalist system? In the U.S., there are nascent efforts to build local solidarity economy ecosystems. 

Cooperation Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi has built a Community Production Center, with cutting-edge technology such as 3D printers and other forms of digital fabrication; they have formed a community land trust, holding a considerable amount of land for affordable housing and farming, as well as to preserve important historical sites of civil rights and Black liberation struggles. The group has a community center that provides a space for gathering, community education and training, and childcare and purchased a shopping plaza for a food co-op and other co-op businesses. 

There are statewide solidarity economy networks that seek to connect the ecosystem, including the Massachusetts Solidarity Economy Network (MASEN), the first statewide SE network in the U.S., the Virginia Solidarity Economy Network (VASEN), and others. 

There are also local ecosystem enablers like the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Inspired by the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, the Arizmendi Association is a worker cooperative that runs a chain of bakeries and a construction business in the Bay Area. The model emphasizes democratic governance, shared ownership, and equitable work conditions.

What are examples of the Solidarity Economy internationally?


In Brazil, the term “economia solidária” gained prominence as various social movements and community organizations sought alternatives to the neoliberal economic policies of the 1980s and 1990s. These initiatives were focused on creating economic systems based on solidarity, cooperation, and social welfare, rather than purely on profit and market competition. Brazil now has one of the most extensive networks of solidarity economy enterprises in the world, supported by strong government and social movements. The Brazilian Forum of Solidarity Economy facilitates numerous initiatives, including worker cooperatives, community banks, and fair trade organizations. The government has also implemented supportive policies and national programs to promote the solidarity economy.


In Quebec, various initiatives including community economic development financial institutions (CEDIFs), cooperative housing, and social enterprises have grown into a major sector of the economy. The region has a supportive ecosystem that includes government policies and a network of support organizations dedicated to fostering the solidarity economy.


Italy has a rich tradition of cooperative businesses, particularly in the Emilia-Romagna region. These cooperatives span across sectors such as agriculture, retail, manufacturing, and services and produce a third of the region’s GDP. 


Japan’s solidarity economy features consumer cooperatives, which are particularly strong in several food sectors. These cooperatives are known for promoting local and organic produce and for their role in disaster resilience, providing support and resources to communities affected by events like the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In the past 100 years, Japan’s cooperative movement has grown from its humble start to become an economic powerhouse with over 65 million members and over $135 billion in annual revenue.


In Kenya, informal savings and loan groups known as “Chamas,” a form of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs), have become widespread throughout the country. These groups play a critical role in providing financial services to communities often underserved by traditional banks. Additionally, Kenya has seen growth in cooperative movements in agriculture and housing, empowering small-scale farmers and low-income families.

How is the Solidarity Economy different from the Sharing Economy?

The sharing economy, as it was initially conceptualized, focuses on the sharing of access to goods and services, often facilitated by digital platforms. While it includes community-driven sharing practices like car-sharing, tool libraries, and community gardens (which we love at Shareable), it has unfortunately become associated with extractive commercial platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and Lyft. Although sharing resources often leads to more efficient use of assets and reduced consumption, many commercial sharing platforms have been rightfully critiqued for prioritizing profit without necessarily fostering genuine communal sharing or ensuring fair labor practices.

Here are some key differences between the sharing economy and the solidarity economy:

  1. Profit orientation: While the solidarity economy actively seeks to downplay or redistribute profits to stakeholders and community members, the sharing economy, particularly in its commercial form, often centers on profit maximization for platform owners and investors.
  2. Community engagement: The solidarity economy is deeply rooted in community engagement and empowerment, aiming to improve local resilience and economic democracy. The sharing economy does involve community members but often as consumers or service providers within a profit-oriented framework.
  3. Governance: Solidarity economy initiatives typically involve democratic or participatory governance, with stakeholders involved in decision-making. In contrast, many sharing economy platforms are governed by private entities with centralized decision-making.
  4. Sustainability and equity goals: The solidarity economy explicitly aims for social and environmental sustainability and equity. While sharing economy platforms might contribute to resource efficiency, these outcomes are not always the primary goal, and the effects on equity can be mixed.


The convergence crises has created a rare opportunity to push for a new system beyond capitalism. There is a huge foundation of imaginal cells that already exist within the current system and new ones are emerging all the time. Many of these imaginal cells already see themselves as part of a transformational process. While there is still much to be done, we can see the emergence of a metamorphosis into the solidarity economy.   

Additional contributors to this explainer include Steve Dubb, Mike Strode, Paige Kelly, and Tom Llewellyn


Emily Kawano

Emily Kawano is a founder and co-coordinator of the US Solidarity Economy Network and has served on the board of RIPESS (the Intercontinental Network for the Social Solidarity Economy) for almost a decade. She is codirector of the Wellspring Cooperative, which is developing a network of worker cooperatives and solidarity economy initiatives in Springfield, MA. Previously, Kawano was director of the Center for Popular Economics, has taught economics at Smith College, and has worked as the national economic justice representative for the American Friends Service Committee.

In March 2024 we wrapped up our fifth cohort of CreateAction placements after over 3 years of funding from the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Skills Strategy. The CreateAction program was delivered in partnership with the National Association of Friendship Centres and the Social Demonstration and Research Corporation with the purpose of helping youth overcome barriers to employment and develop a broad range of skills and knowledge to improve their labour market participation.

The project involved five cohorts (159 youth in total) and included four main project components:

  • Work placements with organizations working in community economic development and social economy typically six months in length
  • peer learning program facilitated by CreateAction partners for and between youth that included community meetups, youth circles, and a Slack workspace
  • An employer support program based on research, resources, and training. Activities included peer learning drop-ins, capacity building workshops, individual check-ins, and ongoing tailored support
  • Youth support activities including individual check-ins and access to counselling through Inkblot Therapy

This program was unable, in its scope, to address broader systemic issues that can lead to chronic unemployment and underemployment for youth. Instead, we focussed on what can be done with and for youth to address and overcome barriers to employment and what can be done by employers to make their places of work more welcoming and adaptive to the unique needs of their employees.

Click on the link above or below to read the full report on promising practices developed through the CreateAction program.

Quick Glimpse at the Lessons Learned

  1. Cultivating empathy in the workplace is key to providing a supportive and empowering experience for youth.
  2. Clear communication of program objectives and expectations are essential for both program practitioners and employers throughout all phases of the program.
  3. One-on-one meetings with employer applicants can provide valuable insights into their organizational capacity and help ensure alignment with program goals.
  4. Accessible job postings and outreach strategies are crucial for reaching youth who may face barriers to employment.
  5. Discussing and providing available wraparound supports for youth during onboarding and early placement stages can help set them up for success in the workplace.
  6. Regular communication and check-ins between program staff, employers, and youth throughout the placement are essential for addressing challenges and providing tailored support.
  7. Creating a transitioning out of placement plan helps support youth as they move on from the program, facilitating their continued career development and wellbeing.

Introduction: The Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) is seeking proposals from qualified recruiting firms to assist in the identification and recruitment of a new Executive Director.

Background: CCEDNet is a values-based, non-profit association committed to connecting people and ideas for action that builds local economies, strengthens communities, and benefits everyone. We have members throughout Canada, including organizations, networks, and individuals who are strengthening sustainable and equitable local economies. Members are active across many sectors such as community development, social enterprise, rural development, co-operative development, employment development, and housing.

We are committed to the values of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Dignity, Self-Determination, Solidarity, and Local Control. Together, we are working towards sustainable and inclusive communities directing their own social, environmental, and economic futures through our Theory of Change.

Scope of Work: The selected recruiting firm will be responsible for the following.

  • Conducting a comprehensive search for qualified candidates for the position of Executive Director.
  • Developing and implementing a recruitment strategy to attract diverse and highly skilled candidates.
  • Establishing criteria for potential candidates through a stakeholder consultation process, including the development of a job posting and evaluation and assessment criteria.
  • Screening and assessing candidate applications based on defined criteria.
  • Supporting the interview and selection process, including coordinating interviews with the CCEDNet hiring committee.
  • Providing guidance and support to the hiring committee throughout the selection process.

Requirements: The ideal recruiting firm will possess:

  • Experience in executive search and recruitment, preferably within the non-profit sector.
  • Demonstrated expertise in sourcing and attracting top-tier talent.
  • A commitment to justice, access, inclusion, diversity, decolonization and equity in the recruitment process.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills in English and French.
  • Knowledge of community economic development principles and practices is an asset.
  • Demonstrated relationships and meaningful connections to grassroots and community-based organizations is considered an asset.

Proposal Requirements:

  • Company name (including GST number and incorporation number if applicable), and contact information (address, email, phone number, and website).
  • Name and position of individual who will oversee the project, as well as project team members (if applicable) including brief professional biographies and an explanation of interest in this work.
  • Outline of previous experience:
  • Providing consulting services, including Executive Director recruitment processes.
  • Working with organizations in the non-profit sector.
  • Utilizing a variety of online techniques and platforms to meet deliverables.
  • Sample list of past and current clients including any relevant commentary on outcomes and impact of this work.
  • Description of your approach to this work:
  • Identification of which deliverables you can address.
  • Your consultation approach to centering the experiences of Indigenous, Black, and racialized individuals, persons with disabilities, 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, and religious minorities.
  • Work plan describing methodologies, approaches, timelines, and roles and responsibilities for how the work will be accomplished.
  • Description of anticipated risks and difficulties, and proposed strategies to address them.
  • Confirmation of willingness to work alongside internal board and staff members to achieve the deliverables, if applicable.
  • Expected compensation and other estimated costs including a breakdown of the proposed budget by deliverable.

Proposals should be submitted to our Hiring Committee at .


  • Proposal Submission Deadline: June 10, 2024
  • Selection of Firm: June 17, 2024
  • Project Commencement: June 21, 2024

Budget: The budget for this project is $10,000 – 15,000 CAD.

Evaluation Criteria: Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated understanding of the project requirements.
  • Experience and qualifications of the firm and its team members.
  • Proposed approach and methodology.
  • Cost-effectiveness of the proposal.
  • Ability to meet proposed timelines.

Contact Information: For inquiries or additional information, please contact our Hiring Committee.

Attn: Hiring Committee


Conclusion: CCEDNet is committed to selecting a recruiting firm that shares our values and vision for community economic development. We look forward to receiving proposals from qualified firms that can help us identify an exceptional candidate to lead our organization into the future.


A Message from the Board

Dear CCEDNet Community,

Mike Toye presenting at EconoUs2017 while wearing a white cowboy hat

We write to you today with a rich tapestry of emotions as we announce the departure of Michael Toye, after 16 years as Executive Director and over 20 years of involvement in CCEDNet. During his tenure, Mike has been instrumental in shaping the direction and evolution of the Network. He has led with vision, integrity, and unwavering commitment, guiding us through both triumphs and challenges with grace and resilience.

Under his leadership, CCEDNet has achieved significant milestones, and has become a respected source for community-led economic innovations, advocacy, and solidarity. Michael’s passion for CCEDNet’s mission and values has inspired us all to strive for excellence and to make a positive impact in our communities.

While we are feeling a sense of nostalgia, we are also grateful for the indelible mark Mike has left. His leadership has laid a strong foundation upon which we will continue to build and grow.

As we embark on this transition, we are committed to ensuring a smooth and seamless handover of responsibilities. Mike will be working closely with the Board and staff in the coming months to facilitate this transition process.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to Mike for his invaluable contributions and remarkable leadership with CCEDNet. His legacy will continue to inspire us as we embark on the next chapter for the Network.

Mike remains as committed as ever to the vision and values of CCEDNet and is looking forward to continuing to be an active member and contribute to our movement for economic justice.  While Mike is moving on from the Executive Director role, he will always remain an integral part of the CCEDNet family.

A hiring process is underway and a posting is expected this summer.  More details will be shared when they are available, and questions for the Board in the meantime can be sent to .

In gratitude for Mike’s leadership, we look forward to building the next era of CCEDNet’s impact with you. 

The Board of Directors

A Season for Review and Renewal

CCEDNet is celebrating 25 years of collective action towards local economies that strengthen communities! 

We are also moving through a season of transition. Over the past 6 months, we’ve noted several changes and milestones pointing us towards a need for intentional review and adjustment. 

It’s been five years since work commenced to create our Theory of Change and as we wrapped up the tracking and analysis of our performance this year we now have three years of data collection to help guide our work. We can celebrate successes and also clearly see areas where we need to evolve in service of our vision and mission. Not to mention, much has changed around us in those 5 years! 

This spring, four significant projects were completed. With this came the departures of several project-based team members. We also want to acknowledge the upcoming departure of other staff members that have contributed to our work over the years. We are so grateful for their contributions! And, of course, we echo the sentiments of the board in their message announcing Mike’s departure and offer gratitude for his contributions over many years of work at CCEDNet!

Seasons of change mark key moments for review and renewal. As we move our work forward, we are aiming for a more sustainable and collaborative organizational model that leverages the power of the Network to build our team and programs together.

All in all, we believe this is a timely opportunity to take stock of our progress and lessons learned, and reassess how we can best achieve our vision a quarter century after the Network was founded.

So, we warmly invite you to join us at the AGM on June 13 (only one staff member per member organization is eligible to vote). After the formal portion of the AGM, we will be breaking from the tradition of presenting the Stronger Together awards to celebrate the incredible collective progress made by our Network of members, partners, and stakeholders over the last 25 years, and to officially launch a CCEDNet Strategic Review process.

In Solidarity,
Sarah Leeson-Klym on behalf of the CCEDNet team

Do you have a story to share about successes or impacts across the CED field or CCEDNet over the past 25 years? Maybe you made an important connection at a CCEDNet event, or recall a policy change that was influenced by member advocacy, or you learned something that really shifted your practice in a positive direction. SHARE YOUR STORY HERE. We’ll share these at the AGM and your insights will help ground the Strategic Review in our Network’s collective story. 


CCEDNet mourns the passing of David LePage. 

David got involved in CCEDNet not long after his arrival in Canada from the US.  He helped organize CCEDNet’s first major event, the National Policy Forum in Vancouver in 2001.  His subsequent roles at enterprising nonprofits, the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, the Social Enterprise World Forum and Buy Social Canada placed him at the forefront of actions to strengthen social enterprises and social procurement. He drew together his many insights into a book – Marketplace Revolution.

David was a longtime member of CCEDNet’s Policy Council, including as Chair and representative on the Board of Directors.  He also was key in sustaining the People-Centred Economy Group after the National Summit on a People-Centred Economy in 2010, and was a partner in the Social Enterprise Ecosystem Project that CCEDNet administered. 

He was appointed to the federal co-creation steering group that produced the Inclusive Innovation report, which became a blueprint for the government of Canada’s Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy. 

In Manitoba, CCEDNet became the local enterprising nonprofits affiliate, launching our dedicated social enterprise programming with David facilitating the first events and workshops. His kind mentorship and advice often supported our local advocacy for a social enterprise strategy and for social procurement, eventually achieving a policy and action plan at the City of Winnipeg. Together, CCEDNet and the Social Enterprise Council of Canada (with David at the helm), hosted memorable Canadian Conferences on Social Enterprise in 2017 and 2019.

David travelled a lot (the Air Canada lounge was a second home), and joined many early remote meetings from the Pacific time zone. We will remember fondly his unique mixture of seriousness and laughter, his constructive criticism, and quick phone calls while he walked to his office in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

We offer his family and friends our deep condolences.  In lieu of flowers, donations to the Social Enterprise Policy Fund which David established are encouraged. 

More about David