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McConnell Blog Launch
With the holiday season upon us and 2015 just around the corner, we naturally begin to reflect upon the year we’ve just had and the new one about to begin. And so, in this spirit of reflection that we find ourselves in, we thought it would be the perfect time to launch the McConnell Blog.
The blog will provide us with a unique opportunity to regularly and openly share learnings and insights about the Foundation’s work and that of our partners and grantees.
Spotlight on
community news
for Uncertain Times
In the blog post Experiencing the shock of the possible in uncertain times, Social Innovation Generation's Tim Draimin and Kelsey Spitz share their reflections on the MaRS Global Leadership talk, Philanthropy for Uncertain Times: Social Innovation and Systemic Change featuring Foundation President and CEO Stephen Huddart.
A video of the talk is also
available here.
Adapting to Change
Adapting to Change, an article from the October issue of Foodservice and Hospitality magazine, discusses how healthfulness, local food, innovation, and value are a few of the factors powerfully influencing the non-traditional foodservice segment today.
The article also highlights the work of the Foundation's Institutional Food Program
Reflections on CKX 
Social Innovation Generation's Kelsey Spitz shares her reflections on the November 19th Community Knowledge Exchange Summit.
Read the post here.
To learn more, visit
Launch of Horizon
Parachute Canada, a Foundation grantee, recently launched Horizon, an online hub that connects Canadians with leading practice solutions for injury prevention.
to learn more.
Introducing the
Cities for People Award 
The new Cities for People Award was recently announced by Culture Days. The award will recognize exceptional leadership and innovation in implementing a collaborative arts or cultural activity (during Culture Days 2014), with the aim of transforming the livability of a neighbourhood, community, or city for fellow citizens.
Winners will be announced at the national congress in May 2015.  
For SOCIAL INNOVATION resources and materials, visit the SiG Knowledge Hub.
For the latest Foundation news,
visit and join the conversation on
Twitter and Facebook.
December News
 In Memoriam
Brenda Zimmerman

On Tuesday, December 16, the field of social innovation in Canada lost a much loved leader with the early and untimely passing of Brenda Zimmerman.
Her friends at Social Innovation Generation, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and the Tamarack Institute, will remember Brenda for her brilliance, her deep humanity, and her infectious sense of humour. For successive cohorts of students in the McGill-McConnell and Waterloo Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation programs, Brenda, along with Frances Westley, provided a transformational learning experience. Who can forget her explaining the difference between simple ('baking a cake'), complicated ('sending a rocket to the moon') and complex (raising a child)? She gave us Edgeware, a fundamental text for understanding complexity, and along with Frances Westley and Michael Quinn Patton, wrote Getting to Maybe, which stands as a seminal volume on social innovation. As well as a valued collaborator, she was a caring mentor and a trusted friend. As one of her close colleagues put it: "the world has lost a beautiful, bright light." 
We are so sad to lose such a vital and generous member of the social innovation field, and our thoughts are with Brenda's family, colleagues and friends at this difficult time.
A web page on the SiG website has been created for people who wish to share memories and tributes to Brenda. Visit it here.
                                                                                                            ~Stephen Huddart
Canada's Ecofiscal Commission
November 4th marked the launch of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission and its inaugural report, Smart, Practical, Possible: Canadian options for greater economic and environmental prosperity, which presents the case for achievable policies and sets out a roadmap for the work the Commission will undertake over the next five years.
Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, a Foundation grantee, was formed by some of Canada’s most prominent economic policy experts with the aim of modernizing fiscal systems across the country to achieve better economic and environmental outcomes for Canada.
To learn more, visit and join the conversation on Twitter @EcofiscalCanada #Ecofiscal.
Official Launch of RECODE
RECODE, an initiative of the Foundation, created in collaboration with thought leaders and partners from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, was officially launched at the Social Finance Forum held in Toronto on November 6.
In the initial phase of this multi-year initiative, 18 colleges and universities from across Canada have been awarded matching grants to encourage students to become social entrepreneurs, while contributing to Canada’s capacity for social innovation. For the full listing of round one recipients and applicants, click here.
To learn more, visit and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @LetsRECODE #LetsRECODE.
RECODE National Challenge: 
The Future of Higher Education Survey
Help us to better understand how the post-secondary system is currently supporting students—what's missing, and what are the levers of change?
By completing this survey, you'll help to create a visual mapping of real experiences and potential levers of change that will shape our understanding of the challenges we face and what we can do about them. 
Launch of Possible Canadas
November 14th marked the launch of Possible Canadas, a project created by Reos Partners, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and a diverse coalition of philanthropic and community organizations, including Community Foundations of Canada, the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, imagiNation 150, the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation, Maytree, Mindset Social Innovation Foundation, the Rideau Hall Foundation, and Tides Canada.
The objective of the project is to provoke conversation about the strategies and approaches that Canada requires at this critical juncture in its history.
In a six-week series of interviews, published by Possible Canadas media partner, The Globe and Mail, Canadians with a variety of experiences discuss the major challenges our country is facing and how best to address them.
Visit The Globe and Mail’s Possible Canadas page to read interviews published to date. For longer versions of these interviews, or to join the conversation, visit the project website at
Youth Collective Impact
On December 2nd in Toronto, the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services launched Youth CI, a new program to support Collective Impact approaches designed to improve outcomes for youth in communities across Ontario. Ms. Lyn Baptist, Chair of the Board of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation shared congratulatory remarks at the event.
Delivered by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s Innoweave initiative in partnership with the Laidlaw Foundation, and with support from the Government of Ontario, Youth CI offers information and engagement sessions, workshops, coaching, and grants to current and potential collaboratives throughout Ontario.
Visit to learn more.
Banking on Change Fund grantees
In June 2014, as part of the Foundation's Banking of Change Program, a Fund was launched to support local food banks in their focus on healthy food procurement and addressing the root causes of hunger.
In response to our request for proposals, we received 94 applications from across Canada, and are pleased to announce our support for 12 organizations, including: North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society, NDG Food Depot, Salvation Army Chilliwack, Food Matters Manitoba, Flemingdon Park Community Food Bank, Project SHARE, Mission Services of Hamilton, Aylmer Food Centre, La Corbeille-Bordeaux Cartierville, Service d’éducation et de Sécurité Alimentaire de Mercier-Est, Food Bank Society of Whitehorse, and Agincourt Community Services Association.
Ontario Tender Fruit Lab Outcomes
In early December, the Ontario Tender Fruit Lab held its last workshop. The Lab, convened by the MaRS Solutions Lab and the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) with support from the Foundation, focused on a central question: how can we create a more resilient tender fruit economy in Ontario, in a way that provides social, economic, and environmental benefits?
The first phase of the lab process gathered ideas, information, and perspectives from the industry and was distilled into a Design Brief. The second phase convened a range of stakeholders over three workshops in the Niagara region, out of which emerged five strong prototypes for interventions in the system, co-created by participants who included producers, processors, retailers, researchers, and governments. Participants are taking on implementation of the prototypes with facilitation support from the MaRS Solutions Lab.
Learn more about the Lab here.
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