CommunityWise partners with Innoweave

September 11, 2014

By Erin McFarlane (Community Development Coordinator at the CommunityWise Resource Centre).

CommunityWise Resource Centre (CWRC) is a multi-sector nonprofit centre located in downtown Calgary. CWRC is a collaborative space for over 80 diverse not-for-profit and grassroots groups to pursue their social change missions within the context of inclusive community development and resource sharing.

Owing in significant part to their small sizes, the majority of CWRC’s member organizations bump up against capacity shortfalls. Their budgets are scarce, they have few paid staff, and they typically lack access to the time and financial resources needed to seek out training opportunities that could contribute to enhanced competencies, skills, and knowledge. As an augmentation of its pre-existing role as an “umbrella” organization for members, CWRC has recently embarked on the process of developing a Collaborative Framework to formalize and expand opportunities for member capacity building through collaboration.

Innoweave has played a pivotal role in how our Collaborative Framework project has unfolded over the past year. Our group has participated in webinars and workshops on Collective Impact and Developmental Evaluation. Particularly with the developmental evaluation workshop, we felt an instant connection to the approach being described, as it aligns with how we intuitively approach much of our work anyway. We’re excited to be learning how to more comprehensively integrate evaluation into our project in a dynamic, iterative way and to be encouraged to think more strategically about the project. For instance, we recently completed a theory of change, after being encouraged to do so by Innoweave.

The coaching grant is enabling us to work closely with a community-minded evaluator and kindred spirit who genuinely understands the vision of the Collaborative Framework. We are thrilled to be able to implement an approach to evaluation that is so aligned with our community development lens in order to move toward a bunch of interrelated changes, namely that our member organizations:

  • are more resilient and have adequate financial, material and human resources to support their missions
  • are able to fulfill their diverse social change missions
  • are increasingly able to contribute to social change in a number of diverse and crucial areas

A diverse cross-section of the CommunityWise member community. The Innoweave project for which they received the grant is about increasing the capacities of this community through collaboration.