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Our common thread: nurturing communication, trust and action

June 10, 2019 by Jackie Cefola0

Recently I was very fortunate to tag along with a delegation of incredible community and student leaders from the Boston area who participate in the Solidarity Economy Initiative and Center for Economic Democracy and Tufts New Economy. Together we visited Montreal to learn from practitioners about local efforts to build the social or solidarity economy.

Speaking with local practitioners, we learned about an available apartment designated specifically “for someone who will never earn income again;” a seasonal, manufactured, beach front – designed on land used to store snow in winter – that boosts social engagement and enjoyment of the coast; and a flourishing farmer’s marketplace that offers community lunch and movie nights.

Our visit included time spent with:

  • Milton Park Community, a cooperative of social organizations that preserve affordable housing in city center, support nearly a dozen commercial enterprises and house a community center with co-located charitable/nonprofit organizations
  • La Pépinière, a charitable organization leading the placemaking movement in Quebec with more than 30 projects dedicated to building more participative cities through the creation of collective spaces
  • CDC Centre-Sud, a community development organization that operates a nonprofit center and facilitates connections and programming among dozens of organizations serving Montreal’s Centre-Sud neighborhood.

While these organizations have different missions, each strives to build communication, trust and action among participating organizations and individuals, not only for effectiveness or efficiency but for broader positive benefits to entire communities.

This idea resonated strongly with my work at the Nonprofit Centers Network and the work of our members.

While we all focus on different missions, as a network we are strengthening shared space and social purpose real estate and growing shared back office services. We are sharing collaborative resources, strategies and lessons learned. And together, we are guided by a hope of doing things in a new way, one that is better for our stakeholders, our organizations and our society as a whole.

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About Our Blogger:

Jackie Cefola

Jackie Cefola manages the consulting services and shared service offerings of The Nonprofit Centers Network (NCN). Since 2011, she has consulted with NCN clients to achieve meaningful impact through collaboration, co-working, and shared administrative services. Previously, as program manager for the NonProfit Center, a 110,000 square foot multi-sector center in Boston, she helped to develop the center’s many co-working spaces and collaborative programs. She also co-authored NCN’s Guide to Shared Services and facilitated numerous training sessions. She holds an MBA and a Masters degree in Environmental Management from Yale University, where she first learned about industrial ecology and strategies for organizations to intentionally co-locate and share resources. In spare time Jackie volunteers to help collect and distribute clothing and furniture to newly housed families.


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