To our members: By the end of February, and will be integrated into the Tamarack website at This is a more accessible platform, where you will easily find more engaging content and resources on poverty reduction and community change.

Questions? Send us a note at

Art of Disruption

Submitted by Community Animator on January 13, 2016 - 7:07pm
Seekers Journal

Dear christie,

"The inescapable truth of wanting to make the world a better place is that we must touch hearts before we can open minds." - Al Etmanski

Disrupting the status quo with celebration, connection, creativity, food, and movement can lead to greater engagement, higher learning and participation, a deeper sense of belonging, and accelerated progress and change. This has been the strongest theme throughout Deepening Community in 2015.

At our Neighbours Gathering in June of 2015, Jim Diers asked, "why have a meeting when you can have a party?" In Paul Born's book, Deepening Community: Finding Joy in Chaotic Times, he discusses how finding creative ways to connect can lead to deeper joy and connection. In Shani Graham's Tedx Talk, she explores how when people play together they build community, and Al Etmanski states that, "when our hearts and imagination are engaged the intellect becomes tender and bold."

With all that in mind, in 2016 we are keeping the creative juices flowing and integrating even more of this energy into our learning series! In 2015 we kicked off the first four sessions of the world's first six-part Bookinar Series on Al Etmanski's new book IMPACT: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation and this will continue on throughout the winter. Please have a listen to the first four sessions and join us on January 26th for our fifth session, Create a Container for Your Content, with Jason Mogus, Principal Strategist with Communicopia. Our Neighbourhood Strategy Leaders Community of Practice is continuing to grow with 16 municipalities from across the country regularly joining the call. We are also excited to be working with Peterborough, Ontario and Kamloops, B.C. on Local Deepening Community Initiatives. We promise to share stories and resources from these projects in our future Seekers Journals. 

We always love to hear from you! Tell us about your neighbourhood project or strategy. How are you making your meetings fun and creative?  Let us know.  Visit our website to read more stories, gather resources, and share your insights with us.

Happy reading!

The Good Life is Built with Good Relationships


By: Christie Nash

"What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life?"

This is the first question that Robert Waldinger, fourth director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, asks us in his TEDx Talk in November 2015.

In this era of rapid movement and high-speed communication, we often look to outside sources for happiness and fulfillment, such as increased wealth or status. However, the results of this 75 year-long study might be a wake up call to rethink these priorities and the sources we seek for happiness.

Read the full post and watch the video

Denver Dialogues Promote Conversation about Wellbeing of Children and Families


By: Hanna Nichols, The Civic Canopy

The Civic Canopy, in partnership with Denver’s Early Childhood Council, and with support from Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, hosted the Denver Dialogues for Young Children last spring (spoiler alert: this great work will continue). This series of dialogues capitalized on the release of The Raising of America documentary series and engaged a diverse range of family and community members in Denver to consider the healthy development and school readiness of young children.

Read the full article

Learn more about The Civic Canopy

A Story of Neighbourhood Civic Action


By: Sylvia Cheuy

The Power of Civic Action is a beautiful publication by the Metcalf Foundation that tells the inspiring story of the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee whose leadership is credited with achieving improvements to a neighbourhood green space and fostering grassroot economic activity.

In the summer of 2008, a group of women who met by chance in the local park came to discover they shared a desire to strengthen their neighbourhood and their community.  As the report notes, “Despite having little money, no political clout, and no business connections, the group — who would come to call themselves the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee — persevered. Their willingness to forge partnerships, their commitment to volunteering, and their ability to harness their collective power to get things done proved to be an extraordinary example of the power of civic action.”

Download The Power of Civic Action

Do you lead a neighbourhood strategy? Join our Neighbourhood Leaders' Community of Practice

Advocating with Empathy


By: Al Etmanski and Sean Moore

Advocating with empathy proposes that we stop poisoning the political ecosystem, put aside tactics of blame and criticism and become solution-based advocates. These advocates have two mutually supportive objectives: they propose solutions and at the same time improve governments’ capacity to innovate. Regardless of their political stripe, today’s governments have shorter attention spans and are more risk-averse. It’s no wonder new policy ideas fight for a foothold. If we want government to have empathy for our issues, we must develop empathy for its issues as well.

 In the third part of this six-part bookinar series, Al Etmanski interviewed Founder and Principle of Advocacy School, Sean Moore. The pattern discussed was 'Advocating with Empathy' and explored the importance of building strategic inquiry into our work to truly understand and build partnerships with those we are working with in our advocacy efforts.

Listen to the bookinar

Learn more about the bookinar series

Upcoming Events


Evaluating Community Impact: Capturing and Making Sense of Community Outcomes

February 9-11, 2016 in Vancouver, BC

This three-day workshop will be led by Mark Cabaj and Liz Weaver. Mark is Canada's foremost expert on developmental evaluation and has worked in community change his entire life. Liz runs Canada's largest Collective Impact initiative and consults across North America on issues related to community change. Together, they have designed this workshop to incorporate their practical experiences in developing and measuring community impact initiatives, as well as the challenges they have faced in doing so.

Register here


Community Engagment: The Next Generation

March 8-10, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario

Learn the latest engagement techniques and interact with the technology that will transform how you engage your clients, customers, funders and partners. Through dialogue with leaders in the field of engagement and social change, you will enhance your capacity to effectively hear the voices of those you serve and learn key strategies to mobilize them toward a collective impact.

Registration is now open.


Cities Reducing Poverty: When Mayors Lead

April 5-7, 2016 in Edmonton, AB

This dynamic gathering will bring together mayors, provincial and territorial representatives, poverty reduction roundtable members, and interested individuals across the country in an effort to:

  • Raise awareness about the issue of urban poverty;
  • Present solutions and examples from cities that are addressing urban poverty effectively; and
  • Develop recommendations for provinces and the federal government to help cities tackle poverty.

Register today.

Patterns in Community and Social IMPACT

Free Bookinar Series

January 26 | February 2

Why do some social innovations take hold while others fail to spread as far and wide as they should?

Join Al Etmanski for the world's first six-part Bookinar learning series that invites you to explore patterns of social innovation in depth and consider how it might shape your own community change work.

Register today! Click here for more information.


Disrupt Cities

A Tamarack Webinar

February 11, 2016

Join Ben Hecht, CEO, Living Cities and Mark Holmgren, Director, Vibrant Communities as they discuss how to build cities that are resilient, engaging and proactively achieving dramatically better results for low income residents. Ben will share examples where Living Cities partners have shifted the traditional paradigms to harness impact investing and are re-building civic infrastructure using technology and innovation. He will also share his perspective on how the innovation economy can play a role in disrupting inequality in cities.

Register here!