EndPovertyEdmonton visits Hamilton for the Cities Reducing Poverty Conference

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The EndPovertyEdmonton team visited Hamilton recently for the “Cities Reducing Poverty: When Business is Engaged” summit, hosted by the Tamarack Institute’s Vibrant Communities Canada.

We were joined by over 300 colleagues tackling poverty at the municipal, provincial, federal and non-governmental levels across the country. However, the main emphasis of the conference was about engaging business effectively.  This included a keynote speech by Michael McCain on a new initiative to reduce food waste and another address by Hamilton businessman Mark Chamberlain, who is the past chair of Hamilton’s Poverty Reduction Roundtable.  Referencing major strides made towards public health over the years, he asked the audience “Are we trying to solve the right problem?” when it comes to poverty. He and others at the conference implied that incremental change may be slow and frustrating but sometimes it may be the most effective way to have an impact on poverty.  

Hamilton was a fitting host city, given that its mayor, Fred Eisenberger, had just spearheaded a $50 million plan to tackle housing and poverty over 10 years. Other cities making major strides included Victoria, B.C. with its new Social Procurement Plan and St. Catherines, ON, which is now in the process of adopting a “compassionate city” strategy.

Topics at the summit included how to encourage businesses to pay a living wage, promoting universal basic income and engaging those with lived experience through innovative programs such as Hamilton’s “Speakers’ Bureau”.

The Hamilton conference followed up on last year’s poverty reduction summit in Edmonton, which included a keynote by Mayor Don Iveson.  This year, the Edmonton contingent was busy sharing the EndPovertyEdmonton story.  The EPE team held a workshop session on the EndPovertyEdmonton journey, with a special emphasis on the human rights & reconciliation approach that grounds our work while Bishop Jane Alexander provided consultation on the National Poverty Strategy with Member of Parliament Adam Vaughan, the Parliamentary Secretary for Housing and Urban Affairs.  Sandra Huculak shared how Alberta Treasury Branch is working with Boyle Street Services to engage women in financial empowerment with its pioneering EmpowerU initiative while the Edmonton Community Foundation shared its strategy for creating a Community Development Corporation.

The team left Hamilton recharged and inspired by the stories of colleagues across the country engaged in the same work, while happy to share the emerging EndPovertyEdmonton story.

End Poverty Community Publications Video Launch

On February 9th, EndPovertyEdmonton kicked off its first year as a community driven collective for change! more than 100 members of the public, including members of the Task Force, the 5 Community Tables and others who helped shape a progressive, inclusive and visionary Strategy to end poverty in a generation assembled at the Anglican Diocese in downtown Edmonton. Representatives from Edmonton’s Indigenous, faith and non-profit sectors came together with municipal and provincial government officials to mark the launch of two community publications: the Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Profile of Poverty in Edmonton 2017 Update and the Action Guide for Edmonton Religious and Spiritual Communities, produced in partnership by the Anglican Foundation, the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative and EndPovertyEdmonton. Both publications underlined the launch of the Five Year Plan: a set of 35 concrete, tangible actions designed to lift 10,000 people out of poverty.

Design Thinking to Help Edmonton Community Organizations End Poverty

Barnraise is coming to Edmonton! BarnRaise is a two-day “maker” conference pioneered by the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design in Chicago. It brings together community organizations, design firms, and participants to tackle social issues embedded in the local community: this year’s design challenge is improving early childhood development for a poverty-free future in Edmonton, which very much aligns with End Poverty Edmonton’s goals. Local non-profit organization Media Architecture Design Edmonton (MADE) is hosting BarnRaise at the Robbins Health Learning Centre at MacEwan University on March 17-19, 2017. 

Barnraise is a new kind of think-and-do event, where participants will hear from leading experts in the field of design and social innovation and work in interdisciplinary teams to build a human-centered understanding of the challenges in early childhood development and poverty, and in turn, prototype viable solutions for Edmonton-based community organizations. These organizations include the Bissell Centre, E4C, The Family Centre, Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre, and ABC Head Start.  In total, 10 teams will be working together, using a human-centered design approach to social innovation.

Gary St. Amand, the CEO of the Bissell Centre says Barnraise represents a new opportunity for social innovation in Edmonton: “If we are going to see real change in the social issues facing our communities, we need to find new ways to address old problems. BarnRaise creates the opportunity for just that to happen. This is an innovative approach to arriving at innovative solutions.”

Other organizations and speakers include the Winnipeg Boldness Project, who’s project director Dianne Roussin will start the conference off with an exploration of the indigenous context of urban childhood development, Anijo Mathew from IIT Institute of Design exploring design for social impact, Aleeya Velji from ABSI Connect; Tricia Lirette, the Chair of Human Services and Childhood Development at MacEwan University highlighting the importance of early childhood development for future success; Janice Wong, the Senior Design & Insights Lead at Doblin; and Kelly Costello, the Founder of design firm Panorama.

BarnRaise is predicated on an innovative cross-cultural team approach     to solving problems.  This will be the first BarnRaise event in Canada and the fourth in total after Chicago (twice) and San Francisco.The IIT Institute of Design (ID) is a world-renowned design school in Chicago, Illinois, who’s long-time dean Patrick Whitney, is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s design program.  

For more information and to register, please visit the BarnRaise Edmonton website at https://www.id.iit.edu/barnraiseedm17/ or MADE, http://www.joinmade.org/.

EndPovertyEdmonton is hiring!

We are hiring! One of the most important EndPovertyEdmonton steps for this inaugural year is to find someone to head up the EPE Secretariat as the Executive Director. With significant funding committed by Edmonton City Council to the Road Map and EndPovertyEdmonton in December, the move to implementation and action is underway. The search is on for someone special to work with EPE's Stewardship Round Table, all Edmontonians and partners to steward and grow the Road Map and movement to end poverty in Edmonton in a generation.

Think about your circles of influence and individuals who you believe are bridge builders, movement makers and collaborators, and encourage them to apply! This position will be a critical step to activating EndPovertyEdmonton as a community entity. 

Here is the recently posted link to the EndPovertyEdmonton Executive Director position. It's on the City web site and has been posted on LinkedIn, the United Way Web site shortly as well, and we hope you will help share it broadly. It is open until March 8. Thanks to the City of Edmonton HR team and to our United Way partners for support in getting this out. Once the Executive Director position is filled, check back for updates on other positions for the Secretariat!

Moving to Action! February 9th Community Publication Launch

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On February 9th, EndPovertyEdmonton kicked off its first year as a community driven collective for change!

In what felt like a reunion of old friends and colleagues, more than 100 members of the public, including members of the Task Force, the 5 Community Tables, the Count Me In Network and others who shaped a progressive, inclusive and visionary Strategy to end poverty in a generation assembled at the Anglican Diocese in downtown Edmonton. Representatives from Edmonton’s Indigenous, faith and non-profit sectors came together with municipal and provincial government officials to mark the launch of two community publications: the Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Profile of Poverty in Edmonton 2017 Update and the Action Guide for Edmonton

Religious and Spiritual Communities, produced in partnership by the Anglican Foundation, the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative and EndPovertyEdmonton.

Jodi Stonehouse brings Treaty 6 Territorial Greetings on behalf of Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild.

Jodi Stonehouse brings Treaty 6 Territorial Greetings on behalf of Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild.

EndPovertyEdmonton Co-Chair Bishop Jane Alexander and EPE Strategic Planner Sameer Singh

EndPovertyEdmonton Co-Chair Bishop Jane Alexander and EPE Strategic Planner Sameer Singh

Edmonton City Councillors Ben Henderson & Michael Walters alongside CRIHI's Batya Friedman

Edmonton City Councillors Ben Henderson & Michael Walters alongside CRIHI's Batya Friedman

Both publications underlined the launch of the Five Year Plan: a set of 35 concrete, tangible actions designed to lift 10,000 people out of poverty. However, ending poverty is about more than just numbers and economics. It requires a holistic approach, based on human rights, eliminating racism and shifting perceptions.  As Mayor Don Iveson stated, ending poverty is a profound step towards reconciliation, so in honouring the treaty spirit, we acknowledge that we are all of us treaty people.

Thematically, EndPovertyEdmonton is powered by groundbreaking research and best practices. This includes the Collective Impact approach: a robust, collaborative strategy to achieve large-scale social change and 6 foundational actions that we call Game Changers. EndPovertyEdmonton co-chair Bishop Jane Alexander summarized the holistic nature of these key features of the Road Map, and how it evolved from the Strategy.

Edmonton Social Planning Council's Executive Director Susan Morrissey introduces the Profile in Poverty 2017 Update

Edmonton Social Planning Council's Executive Director Susan Morrissey introduces the Profile in Poverty 2017 Update

MLA for Edmonton-Centre David Sheppard speaks on behalf of the provincial government

MLA for Edmonton-Centre David Sheppard speaks on behalf of the provincial government

When the Task Force was first convened in 2014, Alberta’s economy was in much different shape than it is today.  So it is only natural that the question of whether ending poverty has gotten harder since then. Well, even though the provincial economy has suffered, the Profile showed that progressive measures such as the new Canada Child Benefit, the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC) and the Alberta Child Benefit (ACB) are having a direct impact on lifting people out of poverty.

More than 40 organizations are strategically aligned with EndPovertyEdmonton including school boards, community leagues, foundations like the Stollery and community organizations like the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. A major partner for EPE has been the interfaith community, so we were happy to celebrate the launch of the Action Guide for Edmonton Religious and Spiritual Communities.

Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative's Housing Coordinator Batya Friedman introduces the Action Guide

Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative's Housing Coordinator Batya Friedman introduces the Action Guide

Batya Friedman, the Coordinator of the Capital Region Interfaith Housing, Margaret Glidden, the director of Communications of the Diocese and Zahra Somani of the Pirani Group and a member of the Stewardship Roundtable shared some real-life stories about how Edmonton’s different faith groups are working towards eradicating poverty in ways both great and small, from daily to long term solutions.

Finally, Indigenous Cultural Knowledge Keeper Lloyd Cardinal and his friends got us all on our feet with an honour song to mark this special day of moving to action.

Hope Mission: Giving Care and Dignity to Their Guests

The Hope Mission just recently opened their doors 24 hours per day, which is a new and important asset to our community. Round-the-clock access to services was something we heard was needed, loud and clear, in the development of our End Poverty Edmonton Implementation Road Map. Learn more about learn more about the organization and how they support their guests.