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

Exploring the Inner Landscape

Submitted by Christie Nash on February 10, 2016 - 4:58am
Seekers Journal

Dear learner,

"How do we access our own hearts and wisdom so that we can create an alternative future?" Darcy Riddell

In the sixth and final session of the powerful IMPACT bookinar series, Al Etmanski and Darcy Riddell dive into an inspiring conversation about the power of self-awareness when enacting social change, maintaining perspective during the journey, and finding empowerment for actualizing change.

The idea of exploring the inner landscape has been a growing theme at Tamarack. At a recent team meeting, our new Director of Vibrant Communities, Mark Holmgren, asked us to shift our thinking about our approach to evaluation. Rather than ask what learners have gotten out of an experience, ask them what they brought with them to the experience. Self-reflection can help us to become aware of our impact on others and allow us to connect with people from a deeper place.

We had such a wonderful time working with Al Etmanski on this bookinar series and are excited to continue working with him and Vickie Cammack on a thought-provoking learning series we are developing in 2016 to explore the notion of caring as a foundation to healthy communities. Stay tuned for more details!

We are also delighted that Al and Vickie will be joining us in Edmonton, Alberta for our annual Deepening Community national gathering from June 7-9, 2016 as keynote speakers along with John McKnight, Paul Born and Sylvia Cheuy. This workshop is designed to inspire and rejuvenate! We want to revive your hope in the power of residents and community- connecting, engaging and mobilizing residents in your community and beyond to generate a shared vision and action plan requires great leadership. This gathering will provide you with the inspiration, connections, knowledge and practical tools required to build and maintain that leadership, and in turn, develop programs and policies for change in your community. We hope you will join us!

We always love to hear from you! Connect with us and tell us about how you use self-reflection to deepen your social change efforts and relationships. Visit our website to read more stories, gather resources, and share your insights with us.

Happy reading!

Feature     Learn    Conversations    Neighbours    Insights    Events

I Had To Be Hurt Into Becoming Better...


By: Al Etmanski

I’m lucky that the fractures, failures and cracks of my life have been good for me. Good for my character, good for my relationships, good for my change-making.

However, I had to be hurt into becoming a better person and in turn, a better change-maker.

By better I simply mean less righteous, less certain, less hard.

All of the hurts are of course deeply felt as they are for you.

Many of those that aren’t, show up in my latest book, Impact. In it I describe the toll my warrior mentality took and how I became the very dragon I had set out to slay. The result was a trail of busted relationships with government, colleagues and friends. And a realization that my ‘chip on shoulder’ style may remove one set of obstacles or challenges but wasn’t sufficient to address the next set and the ones after that.

Read the full post

Learn from the Community


Mobilizing Your Economic Power

By: Christie Nash

Read the Post>



Create A Container For Your Content

By: Al Etmanski and Jason Mogus

Listen to the bookinar >


Entering the Paradox of Community

By: Derek Alton

Read the post >



A Journey "In Community"

By: Joe Schaeffer

Read the post >

Mapping Assets: You, Your Community and Your Neighbourhood


By: Peterborough Local Deepening Community Initiative

If the purpose of the Local Deepening Community Initiative is to build engagement and strong connections between residents, then our Peterborough, Ontario project is already a success- despite it only being in the incubation phase.

Launched in late August of 2015, a strong leadership team of ten residents have been working closely together to create a unique capacity-building project that is designed to engage community members through conversations to both identify and map assets in our neighbourhoods and also dream about what our community might look like in our future and envision what role each person might play in creating that vision.

Read the full post

Read Synergy and Serendipity: The Peterborough Neighbourhood Story

Evaluating Hamilton's Neighbourhood Action Strategy: Looking Deeper



By: Sienna Taylor

On Thursday November 26, 2015, Tamarack hosted a webinar with guest Sarah Wakefield, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. Sarah shared lessons learned while evaluating large-scale, multi-stakeholder interventions that bundle together multiple projects, working with a variety of diverse stakeholders and communicating the findings to decision-makers. Using the work with Hamilton, Ontario’s Neighbourhood Action Strategy as a case example, this webinar discussed ways of evaluating the planning, implementation, and ultimate outcomes of these kinds of interventions.

Read the full post

Listen to the webinar

Sustaining Our 'Moral Oxygen' as Social Innovators


By: Michelle Struzenberger

If we’re not careful while doing the important work of creating the conditions for social change, we can find our hearts closing rather than opening. So what’s the antidote?

Canadian social innovator and author Al Etmanski and consultant and activist Darcy Riddell offered a few starting points in answer to this question in a broadcast hosted by Tamarack — An Institute for Community Engagement earlier this week.

“Social change can be harsh and unyielding,” Al says. “It can breed distrust, frustration, cynicism. It can cause you to lose faith in people, in yourself. It can infect your emotions, your spirit, your relationships.

The essence of Al and Darcy’s conversation was that tending to a spiritual dimension in our lives is vital if we’re not only to continue the work but thrive.

Read the article

Listen to the bookinar

Upcoming Events


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!


Neighbors As Citizens Making Democracy Work

An Abundant Community Webinar

February 16, 2016

Join John McKnight, Peter Block and David Mathews for a conversation about the role of citizens in making democracy work as it should. This conversation will be followed by an opportunity for questions and comments.

Learn more 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.


Champions for Change

April 19-21, 2016 in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Join together with the Tamarack Institute, the Collective Impact Forum, and Backbone organizations from across North America and internationally to enhance your collective impact. This years' agenda will provide you with inspiration, information and tools to offer the essential leadership and support required for your community's collective impact initiative to maximize its impact.

Register here!


Deepening Communities: Resilient Neighbourhoods ♦ When People Care

June 7-9, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta

Join together with neighbourhood leaders, community builders, civic leaders, academics, municipal leaders, and other passionate learners to explore ideas that will accelerate the communities agenda.

This gathering will provide you with inspiration, connections, knowledge and specific tools to offer the leadership required to connect, engage and mobilize residents in your community and beyond to generate a shared vision and action plan; in turn, developing programs and policies for change.

Register here!

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