2011 Year in Review: The Story of our Changing Map

Written by Thrive

We launched our first strategic map in 2011 (which influenced the design of our new website, too!) and what a year it was! The map intentionally has an orienteering feel to emphasize that we are on a journey, learning as we go, filling out the details of the map as we walk along the paths and discover the finer details. “We make the road by walking” (Myles Horton and Paulo Freire).

With our new map comes new language, as we found ourselves using new metaphors and words when talking about our work.

  • Magnetic Attractor – This is our vision: A thriving local economy for all, forever!
  • Network Pathways – These are our four areas of work that Thrive believes will help us achieve our vision
  • Catalyst Opportunities – These are all the projects, initiatives, actions that have the potential for highest impact and are therefore where we choose to invest our time and other resources (within the four network pathways)
  • Constellations – These are self-organizing teams – all of you – working on a particular issue that contributes to our shared vision

In February 2011, we launched our strategic map and it looked like the map you see above. Some work was happening in each of our identified pathways (social enterprise and workforce development amongst others). Through our collaborative work in 2011, we’ve considerably added to the map.

A significant amount of work was done to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of Thrive (the blue centre of the map).

  • We made huge strides when it comes to technology by launching a new website and blog. This now connects to our new email service provider (this was huge for us and we celebrate it often!)
  • We welcomed new member organizations (Mountain Equipment Coop, Respect for the Earth and All People and McMan Youth, Family & Community Services) to our steering committee. We were also thrilled to have Bob Miller join us as Chair of the committee.
  • We focused on being a catalyst for learning, connecting, convening & action by hosting 4 learning events and partnering on 7 other events.
  • We worked hard to introduce community economic development to new people and saw a big increase in the use of social media. We now have 1,023 followers on Twitter and 492 Facebook fans.
  • We strive to influence policy & systems change and contributed to this by distributing CED and The City of Calgary to the Office of Sustainability and all Council members, participating in the development of the Cost of Poverty report (led by Action to End Poverty in Alberta and Vibrant Communities Calgary; released in early 2012), and co-wrote Calgary’s Plan for Resiliency with Calgary Economic Development to demonstrate community economic development as a viable strategy for strengthening our local economy.

Meaningful Employment

From October 2010 to March 2011, Thrive hosted a intern through the Canadian Community Economic Development Network to support our Green Collar Jobs initiative. Sofiat did a fantastic job designing a green trades training program. The Green Building Program, a partnership between Momentum, SAIT and several local employers launches in February 2012!

Neighbourhood Revitalization

Thrive continued to strengthen our connection to FCSS’ Social Sustainability Framework, which explicitly mentions community economic development as an approach to positive community change. In September, we hosted a CED capacity building workshop with 32 Community and Neighbourhood Services staff, and held a public event on resident-led planning using a CED approach.

Local Business Development

As mentioned in our policy and systems change work, we co-wrote a paper with Calgary Economic Development which was presented to their Board and then to a public audience in 2 subsequent events. This has resulted in a new Community Commerce Roundtable which is convened by Calgary Economic Development and will work to further advance community economic development in Calgary.

In partnership with Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta, we began exploring the creation of social enterprise mentorship circle. This initiative requires some renewed focus, but we hope to pilot this in 2012.

We have been participating on the steering committee that is organizing events in Calgary for the International Year of Cooperatives. The official launch is January 12, 2012 at the Calgary Farmer’s Market. You can RSVP by January 9th to cdixon@acca.coop.

Innovative Social Finance

We were thrilled to be invited by REAP, to join First Calgary Financial, Make It Good and Conscious Brands in hosting Community Capital Networks a monthly Meetup to learn about promising practices for mobilizing local money for local social purpose initiatives.

Green Calgary and Conscious Brands invited Thrive to co-host an event on Slow Money that brought Wood Tasch to Calgary in February. You can watch Woody Tasch here. Months later, we heard from the owners of Greens, Eggs and Ham which launched Slow Money Alberta. They are currently looking for investors who are looking to contribute to investing in Alberta’s local food system.

Our October learning event Money for Good: Social Finance Opportunities for Calgary enabled us to partner with Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta, Social Venture Partners and Dexterity Consulting to have a conversation about how to advance social finance in our city. This resulted in a six item action plan that will help guide our work in 2012 and beyond.

A busy year no doubt and we look forward to our continued work together as we strive to build a thriving local economy that works for all, forever!

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