- Get Involved
- Connect with Leaders
- Leadership Stories
- Research and Tools
by Alejandra Bravo
“We recognize, value, and tap into the knowledge within communities and organizations. The work we do is a process of uncovering, stimulating, and building on the inherent strengths and knowledge of these groups. We aim not to supplant their capacity but rather enable them to develop and expand it. Public Interest respects the sharing of those skills by creating ‘open source’ tools for social change. We are happy to share the models and methods we develop for use in our projects with others doing similar work. We continually research best practices in social and public policy and promote these models in our work with clients.” – Public Interest
As we originally conceived of a train-the-trainer program for Building Blocks that would reach hundreds across the Greater Toronto Area with a civic literacy curriculum, Public Interest became a natural partner. A consultancy for social good, it has worked on innovative outreach strategies for public sector and non-profit organizations since 2002. Public Interest develops productive partnerships between community members, governments, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations.
Developing talent from within communities is integral to the way it delivers projects. It helps community members create the tools and skills they need to gather information and mobilize others in their efforts to bring about change.
Our relationship with Public Interest is built on shared values. Building Blocks is focused on working with leaders in diverse, low income communities to creatively find solutions to local challenges. Public Interest’s work helps people overcome language, culture and race barriers that have prevented full participation in civic processes and having a voice in decision-making. When Public Interest President Sean Meagher and Program Manager Effie Vlachoyannacos came on board, they quickly became part of the backbone of the Building Blocks program.
They developed a curriculum focused on the perspective of residents looking to influence how governments make decisions. They trained and coached 29 Building Blocks leaders from 15 communities who, in turn, trained others and led action projects in their communities.
Watch Sean describe what it meant to be working with Building Blocks, followed by a Building Blocks leader, Beatriz Alas from the North York Community House, on the impact of his training.
On March 20, 2013 we had a lively learning exchange, showcasing local leadership success stories. Our participants connected with and learned from each other. Participants left with ideas and practical information to build civic literacy and promote engagement and participation in your community.
Thanks to our enthusiastic and interested participants, CollaborAction trended on twitter in Toronto!
It was a fantastic afternoon. (more…)
CollaborAction: Building Blocks Learning Exchange is happening on Wednesday! We couldn’t be happier with the interest and excitement. The conference is full. But there are still ways you can participate.
We’re little more than a week away from our CollaborAction conference and we’re getting excited! I thought I’d give you some more insight into what we’re reading, leading up to the conference.
We’re excited about our upcoming CollaborAction conference and hope you’ll be able to join us. We’ll have lots to share on the day of, and post-event. As we gear up for the day, we wanted to share some of the things we’re following that are relevant to the event.
When we started to think about what project from outside of Toronto might be of interest and inspire the attendees of our upcoming conference, CollaborAction: Building Blocks Learning Exchange, the Living Wage campaign immediately came to mind.
Today, the Green Party of Ontario looks a lot different, thanks to the election of Judith Van Veldhuysen as Deputy Leader and member of the Green “shadow cabinet.” Judith is part of a trend, or a “changing of the guard” in Ontario politics, especially in the Greater Toronto Area.
A panel highlighted the importance of tapping into the pool of Aboriginal talent and forging partnerships with the private sector.
She was initially hesitant about being identified as ‘a leader’ by Building Blocks partner, Centre for Information and Community Services (CICS). Unsure about training others, Pushpmit Bhatia has surpassed all expectations.
PARC and Parkdale Food Network recently partnered to host an event on civic engagement and food security. They brought local community members together with representatives from all three levels of government in Parkdale-HighPark.