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Social Innovation Blog

Don’t just say you’re making a difference, show it: Evaluation 101

By Cameron Norman

When we say we’re making a difference, changing the world, and inspiring innovation: what do we mean and how do we know it? When you’re speaking to partners, investors, clients, or community members, you need a better answer than “We just are.” Frankly, a good answer to that question helps you out just as much as everyone else. Evaluation provides a means to help you articulate what you’re doing, how well you’re doing it, and what to do next.

Two Toronto orgs using creativity to help those with mental health challenges

By Beatrice Paez, CSI Reporter

The city can be an alienating place for people with mental illness.

It's hard to talk about, it's heavily stigmatized, and for those learning to cope, it can often be overwhelming.

But, as two organizations in Toronto are proving, sometimes something as simple as a paintbrush and a safe space to use it can make a big difference.

Past collisions: Jane Jacobs’ legacy lives on at CSI

A column looking back at civic action to inspire us today.

By Jamie Bradburn

“Stupid.” “Insane.” “Anarchy.” Jane Jacobs didn’t mince words while fighting the development of urban expressways in the cities where she resided, New York and Toronto. Wielding sharp language and a mix of political and media savvy, Jacobs demonstrated that communities committed to a cause could defeat titans like New York urban planning czar Robert Moses.

Pop up markets creating more community retail opportunities

By Jordan Phoenix, CSI Reporter

New York City - For aspiring entrepreneurs and local business owners in the retail industry, opening up a brick and mortar store brings with it a considerable amount of risk. The need to accumulate a significant amount of funding and sign a long-term lease agreement can be a major barrier of entry for individuals who have an interest in testing out an idea for market feasibility. At the same time, many urban storefronts continue to sit vacant.

Equity crowdfunding prepares to disrupt U.S. markets

By Jordan Phoenix, CSI Reporter

New York City - Crowdfunding has become somewhat of a revelation for creative and business-savvy types all around the globe over the past few years. The amount of collective funds raised worldwide via crowdfunding platforms has nearly doubled year over year recently; jumping from an estimated $1.5 billion in 2011, to $2.7 billion in 2012, all the way up to $5.1 billion in 2013.

Collaborating for success. New open source tool kits from Creative Trust

By Jini Stolk, Chair of ONN and Creative Trust Research Fellow at the Toronto Arts Foundation

Tech Trends and Best Practices: Nonprofit Edition

Techsoup CanadaBy Joyce Hsu, Communications Coordinator, TechSoup Canada

Technology advances at such a rapid pace that it becomes hard for you, the hardworking nonprofit, to determine which tools are good, long lasting solutions - especially when you already don’t have the time to keep up with the latest technologies.

Turnout Toronto - a civic engagement fair at CSI

By Jodie Shupac, CSI Reporter

The room buzzing with energy and curiosity, last month’s Turnout Toronto event felt somewhat reminiscent of a middle school science fair. Held January 14 in the CSI Annex Lounge, Turnout Toronto—aptly named, with over 500 people in attendance—was indeed intended as a kind of civic engagement fair, an innovative opportunity for CSI members and non-members alike to get acquainted with a diverse range of local advocacy and civic engagement groups.

Events at CSI: uncover opportunities for collaboration

Our Toronto and New York City Events Coordinators share some highlights from the past year...

By Erin Kang, Events Coordinator at CSI in Toronto

Toronto - Events at CSI exemplify the very spirit that sets us apart, showcasing the diversity and connectivity of the people in our community.

Introducing CSI’s Emeritus Council

On March 22nd, CSI will officially be 10 years old! It’ll be 10 years from the date we incorporated the Centre for Social Innovation. As you likely know, it’s been one heck of a ride since, and we have many of you to thank for that!

Building the pipeline for social entrepreneurship

In May 2013, the Centre for Social Innovation announced the launch of the Ontario Catapult Microloan Program enabling us to provide microloans ranging from $5K - $25K to members of our community.

Community building through public art

By Rudayna Bahubeshi

Bell murals It can be as big as a 250-foot mural, as small as a painting on a nondescript utility box, and as ephemeral as a mob of “gangsters” descending on a subway car to play ukuleles for unsuspecting morning commuters.