Beyond donations: How two Canadian organizations are rebuilding community wealth post-COVID

Why It Matters

Since COVID-19 first hit Canada in March 2020, the gap between the rich and poor has grown wider in communities, with nearly 40 percent of Canadians reporting deteriorating finances over the last year. The organizations that typically help them, however, are also suffering, with more than two-thirds of Canadian charities reporting an average 30 percent revenue drop, over the last year. To rebuild after the pandemic, organizations will need to experiment with innovative new ways to mobilize social finance and build community wealth.

This story is in partnership with Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Six years ago, in Guelph, Ontario, 10C cofounder and executive director Julia Grady and her team were making plans to move their shared workspace from a small, leased space to their own property. A coworking space for changemakers, the 10C community had outgrown its space at 10 Carden Street and needed a more permanent home.

As a non-profit, however, 10C didn’t have the funds it needed to purchase property in downtown Guelph. 10C had a business model, partners and growing revenue streams, but a typical commercial mortgage would only provide about half of the funds needed for 10C to purchase their new space. 

As a solution, Grady and her team began exploring com

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