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Principles for Community Financing in Ontario

When the Ontario Social Economy Roundtable (OSER) first came into being a few years ago, it was to dream about the creation of a trust that would loan money to nonprofits and social enterprises. Today, the Community Forward Fund does just that. Having gathered experts from community finance groups, co-operatives and other individuals working in the social economy, the collective recognized the power of collaborating in provincial policy issues.

A steering committee keeps OSER moving forward but the strength and direction of their work comes from the individual organizations that participate as OSER members and contributors. Last month, over twenty five people attended the OSER Working Group Session. Gathered at Victoria Chapel, the group strategized about priorities for the coming year.

Rosalind Lockyer from the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, a steering committee member, shared, “As a collective of individual organizations, we seek to establish collaborative relationships with economic influencers and political leaders so that we can improve and grow the social economy.”

One of OSER’s priorities has been to publish the Principles for Community Financing in Ontario [Download PDF] which are currently in draft form waiting for input from around the province. The social finance field is starting to take shape in Ontario and we are seeing new opportunities for building assets for the common good. As nonprofit organizations look to offer investment opportunities, such as community bonds, OSER saw a need to establish Principles that would be essential in helping the field advance with integrity and flexibility.

The attendees contributed comments and suggestions for improving the draft Principles. Feedback to the Principles is also being collected online through the website above. Anyone connected to the social economy is invited to provide their input to the creation of these Principles.

Stay tuned for more updates on OSER. When they are ready to share the priorities for the coming year, we’ll be sure to let you know. Are you interested in connecting with OSER or joining the OSER constellation? If so, you can contact Heather Laird at the Ontario Nonprofit Network.

For more about OSER, and social enterprise and the social economy in Ontario, see the new community-driven website SEontario.org.

Reprinted from socialfinance.ca.


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