New program explores economic tools to create social change

Economics of Social Change is a new certificate program that explores how to use economic tools to create social change. It’s the latest collaboration by Thrive and the Institute for Community Prosperity at Mount Royal University.

“We wanted to work with Thrive on this because Thrive has an amazing network of practitioners and organizations that are interested in community prosperity. We’re also both interested in how people learn about aspects of building prosperity in a community-centric way,” says James Stauch, Director at the Institute for Community Prosperity.

The first of five workshops in this community learning series, The Solutions Economy, is on May 23 at the Riddell Library and Learning Centre at Mount Royal University from 2-5 p.m.

“There are other learnings that examine social issues through movements, poverty, or politics as a lens,” Stauch explains. “What Economics of Social Change focusses on is what role the economy has in social change and if there is a connection between economic empowerment and ability to affect social and community change.”

Topics covered will include Indigenous perspectives on community economic development, financial models that support social-change initiatives, the role of co-ops and social economy business models, and policy opportunities that build an inclusive economy.

The idea for Economics of Social Change was sparked by Momentum’s Jeff Loomis, who envisioned a “lighter-touch, financially accessible learning opportunity” in a non-degree setting for individuals passionate about community change – according to Stauch.

“We thought, how could we make the University into an ecosystem of learning for a variety of people, including those who may face financial barriers?” he says.

Each workshop costs $50 to attend, and $200 to register for all five at once. It was important to both Thrive and the Institute that registration costs were accessible to all. Bursaries are also available for those with financial or transportation barriers.

“Many people who work in the non-profit or public sectors who work on community issues generally have a small budget for professional development.” Economics of Social Change is targeted primarily at those in social work and related public-facing industries.

Economics of Social Change will also bring in storytellers for some of the workshops to provide perspective on creating social change through their own lived experiences. The second workshop, ‘The changing nature of business’ will bring in speakers including Hannah Cree, co-founder of CMNGD – a laundry company that hires Calgary’s disenfranchised at a living wage. The fourth workshop, ‘Reconciliation and an inclusive economy’ will bring in Roy Bear Chief, Tribal Manager of the Siksika Nation – in addition to being taught by Tash Calf Robe, Youth Chief of the Blood Nation.

“We’re hoping that this adds one additional layer of skills and knowledge to look at impact through an economic lens as one more arrow in the quiver.”

Take Action:
Click here to register for up to five courses in Economics of Social Change. Those who register for all five will receive a certificate of completion.
• Want to attend the workshops but are facing financial or travel barriers? Apply for a bursary by emailing info@thrivecalgary.org with BURSARY in the subject line, explain your interest in the program, how the program will support your community change efforts and your reason for applying for a bursary.
• Connect with the Institute for Community Prosperity on Twitter