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ReCity Network is a bold venture, serving as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration among non-profits, mission-driven businesses, and faith-based organizations. As Durham's hub for social impact, we leverage our facility and network to unite the work of these programs by eliminating silos and creating collaboration that results in meaningful, systemic, and transforming change for Durham's community. The collaborative, community-based solutions that arise will leave the Bull City poised for a new generation of shared success.


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Saul Ettlin
09/Apr/2018

The physical spaces nonprofits utilize play a key supporting role in the success of organizations, from specialized program space anchored in their communities to having quality, affordable administrative space that promotes collaboration and attracts and retains talent. However, many nonprofits face a myriad of challenges when it comes to having the program and/or office space that best meets their needs.  Nonprofits can face: Acquisition Challenges. Generally, the commercial real estate market, and its capital, moves fast. In contrast, nonprofits take time to assemble resources Development Challenges. When nonprofits do acquire space, the leader of the organization often becomes an accidental developer, slowing down projects and possibly adding costs. Leasing Challenges. When rents are on a fast-paced rise, nonprofits can find themselves vulnerable. Ownership Challenges. Owning a building can be like running a program. It has a budget, needs dedicated staff and has financial and other metrics to be measured by. Nonprofit Real Estate Holding Entity as a Solution Traditionally, a real estate holding entity mitigates risk associated with the ownership of real estate assets. Here, the goal it is to bring expertise to the development and operation of nonprofit space that caters its design for and welcomes the types of uses the sector provides. These holding entities can:


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Chelsea Donohoe
26/Mar/2018

We’re so excited…and we don’t have to hide it! NCN has received a $55,000 grant from Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative. It will fund the research and publication of Rethinking Overhead: Daring to Share Resources and Strengthening the Safety Net: Human Services Under One Roof. This project will combine qualitative research focused on Human Services centers and Shared Services organizations to establish best practices for creating, maintaining, and growing these unique capacity building programs. Our current research shows shared space and services create environments for collective impact, increase nonprofit effectiveness, and spur innovation. We know collaborative organizations work together differently and develop cutting-edge solutions for their clients that would be otherwise impossible if they remained siloed. While our 2010 Shared Services Guide remains relevant (and popular), we think it’s time for an update. This research project will further evaluate the efficiency of current shared spaces and let us continue to serve as a thought leader for you--our community. We’re taking your feedback into consideration and making this type of resource even better. The nonprofit sector has changed so much over the past eight years, and we want to take advantage of this opportunity to lead the evolution of nonprofit shared space.


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Paul Evensen
12/Mar/2018

Donors and co-locating agencies create projects in pursuit of more than one of six benefits. Typical combinations include the desire to both enhance access and to strengthen partnering agencies. The hope: to strengthen agencies that have a shared mission. The goal: simultaneously promoting sustainability and innovation. These are only the most common combinations. When done well, all real estate and location decisions are made with the intention of building community. However, the attempt to aid neighborhood development alone without careful consideration of the "mission benefit" of colocation first can have a profoundly negative consequence for non-profit organizations. At the inducement of neighborhood leaders, non-profits can feel compelled to move to locations that do not enhance their ability to deliver on mission. To borrow a phrase from the movie Field of Dreams - if we build a new community services center they will indeed come. Unfortunately, they may come for the wrong reasons and the project is likely to be unsustainable.


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Nada Zohdy
07/Mar/2018

A catalyst is something or someone that sparks, stimulates or accelerates a transformative change. And despite the many different roles we all play everyday in running nonprofit centers - from onboarding new members, to managing leases, to moderating public events and so much more - I believe our #1 job should be catalyzing community and collaboration. As catalysts, we should be constantly connecting people and resources to have outsized social impact working together than any one organization or party could working alone. So how can we get there?


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Through collaboration and the development of formal and informal partnerships within the greater community, Heartwood House serves the residents of Ottawa who are marginalized, living in poverty, and/or in need of educational, mental health, emotional, physical, economic, employment, training or recreational support – Heartwood House provides an affordable, accessible workplace for small non-profit and charitable organizations to enable them to maximize their services through a mutually supportive hospitable and empowering environment for their clients and participants.

Our Member groups provide a wide range of services, information, networking and skill development opportunities to low income adults and families, new immigrants, people with differing abilities, people improving literacy or spoken English skills, people needing health and mental health supports, and people developing new employment, personal, or artistic skills.

What is one interesting fact about your space?

We strive to achieve positive community outcomes and earn revenues to support sustainability.
Heartwood House and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa enjoy a highly successful partnership in the ownership of the property at 400-412 McArthur Avenue. Heartwood owns 87.5% and the Unitarians 12.5% of the building.

Heartwood House is also home to two other successful partnerships: the OC Transpo Lost & Found and the Everybody Wins! Electronics Recycling Program. Income generated is used to help support the work of the Heartwood community.

What are your favorite resources that you would recommend to others?

Our greatest resource is our Member groups. We are constantly looking for opportunities to share knowledge and expertise between one another so that we can learn from experience while being invested in sharing ideas.

We have learned that it takes intentional effort to build trust and community and that it takes time. By investing the time and energy there seems to be greater levels of engagement to share these resources and expertise. We are better together!

Center Name: Heartwood House

Location: Ontario, Canada

Center Website: www.heartwoodhouse.ca

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Paul Evensen
12/Feb/2018

As we worked to create a regional framework for Social Purpose Real Estate and non-profit colocation in St Louis we looked to the considerable experience of the 400+ non-profit centers in the U.S. and Canada that have preceded us. Our review of this experience suggests that we could gain six specific benefits (Table 1) from creating non-profit centers. 1. Co-locating non-profits can enhance access to services by integrating services and putting them together in one shared location. The measurable outcomes might be increased use of services, easier access for constituents, and the establishment of a continuum of care. 2. Co-locating non-profits can lower costs by sharing “back of house” supports such as accounting, human resources, and risk management. Further, reduced turnover and the benefit from being near other organizational directors and program administrators could contribute to the bottom line. The measurable outcomes could be increased operational strength and efficiency, lower costs, and better managed organizations. These benefits may be particularly valued by smaller non-profit organizations or by newer ones seeking to establish effective systems.


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Paul Evensen
22/Jan/2018

On April 18, 2017 more than 100 community leaders gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis to advance a regional strategy for social purpose real estate (SPRE). Representatives from banking, community development, philanthropy, non-profit administration, government, and academia listened to national thought leaders, studied case examples, and reviewed the emerging landscape of projects in the St Louis region. Principles to guide SPRE and non-profit center development were identified through facilitated small group discussion. A consensus process across six teams resulted in adoption of the values and descriptions provided here. We share them with our peers across the nation in hopes of gaining feedback and to learn more about how other regions are holding themselves accountable to shared values as they implement social purpose real estate and non-profit colocation strategies.


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Jenny Camhi
12/Jan/2018

The Hive is a coworking and events center where we build a stronger, more connected community. Inspired by Jewish wisdom and our natural and farmy surroundings, we provide a thriving environment for social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and local community organizations to work, meet, and grow in a unique environment. Our goal is to become a model for community collaboration and to promote creative Jewish expression, both at home in Encinitas, San Diego, California, and around the world. The Hive offers robust monthly professional development programs to service our local nonprofit community from a range of topics including: board management, public speaking, emotional intelligence, strengths based leadership, fundraising, and grant writing to name a few! In addition, The Hive offers arts and cultural programming for creative Jewish expression and exploration. These programs include: theatre performances, meditation workshop, art galleries, and holiday celebrations. Collaboration, connection, and learning all with an ocean view!


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Summer Hess
11/Dec/2017

Type the word “innovation” into Google, and you’ll get nearly 7 million search results; it seems that all companies and entrepreneurs are striving to make it a part of their brands. And while new technologies are important, the unchecked stampede for innovation may be draining energy from the full application of existing innovation strategies—some of which come with 3.8 billion years of intelligence and design practice. Biomimicry distills life-sustaining patterns and strategies into a lens that can be applied to a diverse array of design challenges. Importantly, its primary requirement/constraint is that solutions be conducive to life. That means it cannot hide or mask externalities that actually drive up the true cost for pocket books, people, and the planet. Instead, it provides a framework for systems-level thinking that emphasizes interdependence and the emulation organizing principles that support the integrity whole system.


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