Institute without Boundaries

Markham Meet COLAB: How does COLAB Begin?


Start Up : 6 Months
Jul 2012 – Dec 2013

Core Staff : Coordinator
Key Activities: Recruit Board of Directors, incorporate as non-profit; perform community and stakeholder
outreach; lead Markham strategic policy review.

In the first six months of operations, COLAB will focus its energies on recruiting a board of directors and establishing itself as a non-profit organization.

Ten board members will be recruited, with three each representing the citizens, private sector and municipality.

$30,000 in seed money from Markham’s Department of Economic Development will cover start-up staffing costs.

$10,000 grant from the United Way of York Region’s Strength Investment Fund will help cover other costs such as rent and studio facility purchases. The Strength Investment Fund supports emerging collaboratives with a mission to bring different stakeholders together to create new and innovative approaches to tackling community issues.

The Manager will begin formally reaching out to community organizations and striking up working relationships with the private sector.

A review of existing municipal strategic plans and, in particular, Markham’s Green Print will determine areas of strategic focus for COLAB over the following three years.

A multi-stakeholder engagement process will help the Board of Directors establish a vision and mandate.

Year One : 12 Months
Jan 2013 - Dec 2014

Core Staff : Coordinator + Manager
Key Activities: Stakeholder outreach; Main Street greening initiative

In its first year, COLAB will continue reaching out to build relationships with its citizen, private sector and municipal stakeholders.

A Coordinator will join the Manager on the team.

Another installment of $50,000 in seed money from the Department of Economic Development will go towards staff costs and overhead.

The remainder of staffing and overhead costs will be covered by an additional $40,000 grant from the United Way’s Strength Investment Fund.

A $10,000 grant from Evergreen’s Green Grant program, $15,000 grant from TD Bank’s Green Streets and $10,000 from the Markham Village BIA fund will help COLAB initiate its first major project: a Main Street Greening initiative. This project will work with the Markham Village BIA and residents to imagine, design and prototype small-scale greening initiatives for Main Street Markham. These will include tree and native species plantings, community gardens and a green wall prototype.

This project will allow COLAB to demonstrate its value as an expert facilitator and community engager while also helping the town begin to experiment with sustainable design technology in the public realm.

The Project Coordinator will recruit a landscape architecture summer student intern and volunteers to support the project.

Year Two and Three

Core Staff: Coordinator + Manager
Key Activities: Stakeholder outreach; knowledge sharing and capacity building with other change labs; Ontario Centres of Excellence, Social Innovation Partnership Challenge.

In the second and third years of operation, COLAB will focus on building its internal capacity as a change lab.

In fulfillment of this objective, COLAB will initiate a knowledge sharing and capacity building program to connect with other change labs in Ontario and around the world to establish best practices. The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s Partnership Grant Program will provide $210,000 in funding over three years for this project.

COLAB will continue to receive $65,000 annually in start-up financing from the United Way’s Strength Investment Fund.
Over time, COLAB will build the capacity to pursue grants and projects with the private sector.

Demonstrating leadership in social innovation, COLAB will be named a “Regional Innovation Centre” in its third year as part of the Ontario Network of Excellence program.

Building on this, COLAB will establish its first formal project with a private sector partner. HydroOne will match a $50,000 grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Social Innovation Partnership Challenge. Together, COLAB and HydroOne will work with new residents in Markham Centre to develop new products, services or business models that meet social and environmental needs.

This is an article from COLAB, the final project of students from the 2011/2012 academic year. To see all the posts related to the project go here. To see a summary of the project go here.
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About the IWB

The Institute without Boundaries is a Toronto-based studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation. To learn more click here.

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