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New funding awarded to four B.C. innovations

Grassroots partnerships all advancing inclusion
Tuesday March 6,  2012 — Michelle Strutzenberger

In a courtroom-style setting of the Vancouver Art Gallery, four B.C.-based collaborations made pitches to a panel of judges last Thursday night.

Just like on the now-renowned TV show Dragons’ Den, they were looking for funding to accelerate and amplify their innovations. Every one of these innovations is dedicated to advancing the inclusion of people who have a disability.

The panel for The Pitch in 2012.

Unlike Dragons’ Den, where some lose and some win, all four presenters walked away with a cut of the $100,000 available in new funding from the organization behind this event, the Community Living Innovation Venture.

All four are somewhat established, so the goal is to learn from them going forward with the setup of what is being called The Venture Learning Lab.

While future collaborations that receive funding from the Venture may be more fledgling, the notion with these first four is to understand how they evolved from the seed of an idea to full-scale implementation and what others might take away from those experiences, notes the Venture staffer Maggie Vivlang.

“We’re really excited about the fact that they’re going to become partners with us and we get to share their learning with everyone else, and in so doing, I think, strengthen their initiatives as well,” she tells the BACI Blast.

The four initiatives chosen include the Can You Dig It? social enterprise of posAbilities, a community gardening initiative that is fostering inclusion and belonging by offering space and support for people to create gardens together. The initiative currently has 208 plots in 23 community gardens around the Lower Mainland. Can You Dig It? received $40,000 in new funding.

The Powell River Association for Community Living in partnership with the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network is looking to develop a new way of connecting people who have disability with others in the community through employment processes, as well as discovering what people want to do, and how they want to spend their time. They were awarded $25,000. 

A band called Inclusion from Campbell River provided the night's entertainment.

Inclusion Works in Victoria is a group of families, some of whom receive individualized funding and some of whom are waiting to do so. They have pooled that money to create individualized lifestyles for their sons and daughters, garnering “huge support” from the community, universities, high schools, local business and recreation centres.

Their vision is that, after five years, all participants will lead fully inclusive lives.

This group was awarded $15,000 from The Venture to create what they’re calling pods in other communities, so that other families can come together and do the same sort of thing.

The final recipient of the award money is a partnership of the Family Support Institute (FSI) and Family Works of the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion. These two entities are looking to build and expand the Family Works chapters through FSI’s established base across the province. All of this is centred on the economic inclusion of young men and women who have a disability.

This group was awarded $20,000, with one stipulation, that they look at partnering with Inclusion Works, given its similar theme.

Maggie notes this makes sense as collaboration is such a key point for social innovation strategies and it’s an absolute criteria for being part of the Venture Learning Lab.

“The idea of having three like-minded organizations all bringing different skills to the table, all at different stages of their journey, all coming together to collaborate to try and advance their missions, is going to provide some really great learning through the Learning Lab over the next year, so we’re quite excited about that,” she says.

Four open sessions with each of these initiatives will be held over the next year. In those sessions, updates on their progress and stories of their success and struggle, both in infancy and now as their journeys continue will be shared.

— More to Come on the Community Living Innovation Venture.

To view a photo album from the Feb. 29 event, click here.

Also to learn more, visit The Venture page.

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article please contact Michelle at 800-294-0051, ext. 27, or e-mail michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.

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  1. New venture formed to advance inclusion « BACI Blast - March 8, 2012

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