Who Are We?
Vision: A community cultivated by and for everyone.
Mission: To be a nonprofit hub, providing inclusive and affordable space and community development programs to support and strengthen diverse grassroots and nonprofit members.
CommunityWise is driven by 5 values that guide everything we do:
- Mutuality:We cultivate relationships, connection and collaboration because of their shared benefits and because together we can withstand individual and shared challenges.
- Inclusion: We respect and elevate diverse voices, practices and cultures, individual uniqueness and collective wisdom.
- Accountability:We are responsible to our shared space, to each other, to the larger community, and to the planet.
- Trust: We have confidence in the knowledge, experience, and ability of our members and partners, and actively work to keep their trust in us.
- Equity: We recognize and redress historical and current-day inequities experienced by certain equity-seeking groups and strive for their barrier-free participation.
Why Do We Exist?
CommunityWise is a story of collective achievement, community resilience, and hope for the future. When the YWCA moved out of the building in the early 1970s, the City of Calgary took possession and began renting space to grassroots organizations and various community groups. In 1979, when the organizations who inhabited the building banded together to create a Tenants Association to save the building from demolition, they created the beginnings of collaborative shared space where initiatives, agendas, and dreams come together.
Today, CommunityWise is a unique, centrally-located hub for nonprofit, charitable, and grassroots organizations in Calgary. We provide inclusive, affordable, and collaborative office and meeting spaces and other shared backbone infrastructure (internet, mailboxes, office and event equipment, kitchen access), as well as capacity-building programming, to over 85 member organizations, most of whom have small budgets or lack access to market rate office space. Among the diverse focus areas our members work in and represent, our priority areas include: ethnocultural, racialized, and Indigenous community groups; 2LGBTQ+ groups; addictions and recovery groups; and arts groups.
Our focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity stems from our acknowledgement that there are a number of historically disadvantaged groups that confront barriers to full participation[i]in Calgary’s nonprofit sector. Our own research, through our Collaborative Framework development, showed us that participation in our internal collaborative processes differed between groups, often along racial lines[ii]. We also know that nonprofit boards do not reflect the diversity that is found in Canadian society. Most boards lack working definitions of “diversity” let alone significant progress towards racial minority representation[iii]. As a result, we work to strengthen our capacity and increase our support for member organizations to address organizational racism and create greater equity, diversity and inclusion.
[i]Toronto Arts Council, Equity Priority Groups, retrieved September 25, 2018. https://torontoartscouncil.org/reports-and-resources/toronto-arts-council-equity-framework/equity-priority-groups
[ii]Collaborative Framework Outcome Harvest, CW
[iii]A Call to Action: Diversity on Canada’s Not-For-Profit Boards, 2009. Schulich School of Business, http://www.yorku.ca/mediar/special/diversityreportjune2009.pdf