Toronto Neighbourhood Centres

What is the TNC Community development (Cd) Renewal Initiative & How Might it Support Your Work?

Some Questions to Prompt Discussions In Community Agencies
& to Introduce this Work

The TNC Cd-Renewal project will contribute to building our city's "connective tissue" by supporting nonprofit organizations to realize more of their Community development (CD) vision, increase their CD capacity in communities, support other constituencies engaged in CD work (institutions, community groups and networks), and become lead champions of the need to expand community development practice in our city.

We seek to strengthen nonprofits' capacity to facilitate CD work, and in turn strengthen communities by increasing equitable opportunities for collective action to promote social justice.

Here are some questions that help frame this work.

  1. Do you think that your organization's day-to-day programs have a positive impact on the broader conditions in your community?

  2. Do you feel that your organization is being successful in assisting people to identify common challenges and work together for positive change, instead of struggling as isolated individuals?

  3. Do you think that your organization can achieve more of its vision if the growing inequality, racism and exclusion are reduced? Is this a question for your Board of Directors? Have they discussed it recently?

  4. Are you sometimes uncertain about whether any real change can happen? Do you talk about what the most effective role might be for your organization in the context of promoting social change?

  5. Are there kinds of organizational structures, program models & relationships with funders that you have achieved that make community development possible? Can you share any tips about how to keep social change work alive "in tough times"?

  6. Do you have a sense of what's needed to make more progress in addressing issues like poverty, racism, homophobia, violence, homelessness, and improving responses to community needs? Is it about mobilizing community residents, education, supporting leadership, creating campaigns, developing new ideas, new policies, collaboration across silos, political actions? Do you think these approaches are effective? Do you get time to participate in or link with such strategies as part of your work?

  7. Are there positive specific ways that we can support other organizations and community groups without getting into struggles for resources? How can your services and programs help to increase local leadership and community members' capacity to organize and act in their own interest?

  8. Do you have an opportunity to discuss these and other important questions for you and your agency? How might your agency engage you and your colleagues in exploring these questions? How do you involve staff who don't have dedicated time to do group work, health promotion or community development as part of their job? How might their connections with individuals, and unique position to pick up on community trends and opportunities be tapped into?

  9. Want to talk more about these issues within your workplace or network? That's precisely what the CD-Renewal Initiative is for! We can help with ideas, making connections, sharing strategies, facilitating discussions with staff or board members, and more. Contact Rob Howarth at for more information.