Toronto Neighbourhood Centres

Creating a more collaborative and caring economy

Submitted by rob on February 27, 2018

December 2017 article in The Philanthropist written by Rob Howarth, TNC Executive Director

Social service non-profit organizations are uniquely placed to leverage their community relationships and assets in ways that would make a practical and significant contribution to creating systems of economic inclusion and democratic participation. 

We urgently need these contributions in our current context, where traditional economic pathways to opportunity are greatly hampered. Without a strengthened foundation of collective agency in our neighbourhoods, we remain vulnerable to the dynamics of division and despair, and the corrosive scapegoating that flourishes all too easily in such contexts.

At this juncture, I believe it is essential to broaden our efforts to support people’s experience of possibility, through opportunities to work together in ways that practically advance their economic prospects.

...Specifically, our current opportunities include the advancement of community land trusts, expanding local lending and banking programs for individuals and business development, co-designing empowering social service alternatives, deepening opportunities for neighbourhood democratic deliberation and control, and enabling cooperative local enterprise. Such practices are logical extensions of the valuable, but under-appreciated, economic contributions that our non-profit sector is currently making to enhance community wellbeing... read more