Resilient Neighbourhood Economies: A Foundation’s strategic learning from a three-year investment in local economies

Metcalf Foundation

Author +
Adriana Beemans

Year: 2016

As the changing labour market forces more people into precarious employment and low-income work, the Metcalf Foundation is committed to supporting the individuals, organizations, and ideas that can strengthen our communities’ economic wellbeing.

The Resilient Neighbourhood Economies (RNE) project was a three-year pilot that ran from 2012-2015. It was designed to help create economic opportunities for low-income residents of Thorncliffe Park and Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park.

Working alongside community partners that were already active in economic development in these two neighbourhoods—East Scarborough Storefront, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee, and the Centre for City Ecology—the Metcalf Foundation designed a program framework that allowed them to shift their goals and alter activities based on what was being tested and learnt by their partners on the ground.

Download Resilient Neighbourhood Economies

The Metcalf Foundation is pleased to share their findings from the project in Resilient Neighbourhood Economies: A Foundation’s strategic learning from a three-year investment in local economies. Charting the origins of the pilot project, its undertakings, and the lessons they learned along the way, the report is intended to inform others interested in undertaking local economic place-based work and forging community-foundation partnerships.

Table of Contents

PART I Introduction
PART II Community Partners and Resources

Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park
Thorncliffe Park
The Intermediary: Centre for City Ecology
PART III Resilient Neighbourhood Economies Framework  
Theory of change
Conditions for lasting impact
Framework evolution
PART IV Project Undertakings
PART V Insights and Learning
Applying a local economies lens
The unique position of foundations
Recognizing the necessary conditions for success
Real-time feedback of developmental evaluation
Disrupting hierarchies to build leadership
The informal economy
Local hiring and social procurement
PART VI Conclusions
An ambitious undertaking
An emergent strategy
Not a linear process
PART VII Related Reading