About This Cause
At CommunityWise, we offer more than just subsidized office space. As a nonprofit hub, we build the capacity of grassroots and small nonprofit organizations by creating opportunities and facilitating resource-sharing that enables increased knowledge, effectiveness, connection, and community for our 60+ nonprofit member groups. We also engage with the broader community through nonprofit sector development work with a current focus on anti-racism and equity. CommunityWise has stewarded the historic "Old YWCA Building" as a nonprofit hub since 1979.
Our overarching GOALS are to 1) support our members so that they are better able to achieve their own organizational goals and 2) contribute to making Calgary's grassroots and nonprofit sector more equitable.
Among the diverse areas CommunityWise members work in and represent, our focus areas are: groups that are by-and-for Black, Indigenous, and racialized populations; 2SLGBTQ+ groups; addiction recovery groups; and small arts groups. According to our 2019 member survey, 61% of members reported having annual budgets of less than $50,000. This statistic obscures the fact that a large portion actually have annual budgets of less than $15,000 and are entirely run by volunteer support.
5 values 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.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
-Below-market office and community spaces.
-Shared backbone infrastructure: shared internet, mailboxes, office equipment
-Collaborative learning opportunities with community partners on such topics as: governance, fund development, financial management, first-aid, self-care, community mental health, peer support.
-Internship and practicum placements: since 2010, we have hosted over 25 students who support the work of our members.
-Anti-Racist Organizational Change (AROC): since 2016, we have led an AROC process. The goals of AROC are to address organizational racism and create greater racial equity and inclusion within CommunityWise while also sharing lessons learned with other nonprofits.
“The benefits of being housed at CommunityWise have been immeasurable. We have been able to expand our services and vision from the offering of counselling services to the facilitation of client groups, the hosting of a platform of therapists from all over Calgary, and the organization of workshops with instructors from the city as well as abroad.” - Calgary Narrative Collective
"This organization is a gem. When you walk through the doors of the old building, you feel distinctly like you’ve left Calgary. Officially, they provide affordable office and community space to grassroots efforts. But also...They are unwaveringly committed to community and equity in all they do. They care about each human who walks in the building, regardless of how or why they ended up there. They do A LOT with not a lot of money...personally, they inspire me to try harder and be more thoughtful. Your dollars couldn’t be going to a better cause." - CommunityWise Supporter