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Community Bonds buy Social Innovation a new home

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On Halloween 2014, CSI marked a new milestone: we bought a 64,000 sq. ft. building at 192 Spadina Avenue! It’s the second building we own and our fourth Toronto location. It’s conveniently located across the street from CSI Spadina near Queen and Spadina, and, well, it’s a beauty. Exposed brick, wood floors and beams, oodles of natural light, this building was just screaming for CSI.

Buying a building meant several things for CSI: more space, protection for ourselves and for our members from the rising cost of rent, bigger offices to accommodate larger organizations, and, when the mortgage is eventually paid off, a surplus to reinvest in social innovation. It also meant we’d need to come up with some serious cash on top of our mortgage with Alterna Savings and Citizens Bank. So, we turned to our community with the Community Bond to raise $4.3M to buy the building.

“The investment in a Community Bond solidifies my personal connection to CSI…CSI has become essential to my professional growth, but also in connecting with people to work on a level I hadn’t imagined was out there. It’s created possibilities.” Paul Dore, CSI Member

The Community Bond is an interest-bearing loan that allows a nonprofit to leverage its community of supporters to pursue its mission, build its resiliency, and create more vibrant communities. We launched the campaign in mid October of 2014 to help us transform our new location into a home for social innovation, offering a real estate investment with social impact.

News of our Community Bond spread, and we were featured in InsideToronto, Metro and the Toronto Star. Tonya Surman, Co-founder and CEO of CSI, has started a tradition of doing cartwheels in every new building we buy (that’s two cartwheels so far!). In the end, we raised $4.3M from 227 investors who believe in our mission to support and facilitate social innovation.

Since taking possession of 192 Spadina Ave, we have attracted new tenants, refined our long-term strategy for the financing and development of the building, and made necessary repairs and upgrades. Gradually, we will convert parts of the building to the CSI model, with shared facilities, meeting rooms, event spaces, offices and coworking for changemakers.

Community Bonds allow citizens to invest in the projects they believe will make a difference, all while earning a financial return. Thank you to our incredible investors who believe in what we do, and to all those who helped spread the word about our campaign!

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