Founding Partners

SiG is a collaborative partnership between The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the University of Waterloo, the MaRS Discovery District, and the PLAN Institute. Our ultimate goal is to support whole system change through changing the broader economic, cultural and policy context in Canada to allow social innovations to flourish.

Strategic Focus of SiG@MaRS

Capacity building for social innovation through direct support by means of trainings, workshops, direct customized consultations and lectures and resources. We are actively developing programs to support the launch and growth of social ventures, enhancing the skills and networks of social entrepreneurs, exploring new instruments of social finance, fostering opportunities for technology platforms to help scale social ventures and building the social enterprise community.

MaRS is a non-profit innovation centre connecting science, technology and social entrepreneurs with business skills, networks and capital to stimulate innovation and accelerate the creation and growth of successful Canadian enterprises.

Strategic Focus of SiG@McConnell

Connect, convene and link innovators, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and funders to build effective partnerships and networks around a living laboratory for social innovation. Through its connection to The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, SiG @ McConnell provides the SiG partnership with access to the Foundation’s national granting program and its understanding of and connection to the funding, policy and cultural/communication communities. It draws upon SiG resources to provide strategic and technical support to social entrepreneurs and their organizations across Canada.

The J.W. McConnell Foundation‘s objective is to encourage active citizenship and to create resilient communities. As a national funder we seek initiatives, often innovative in nature, that have the potential for country-wide impact. The Foundation recognizes that money alone seldom, if ever, solves problems. We are committed to systematically learning from our own and others’ experience, and to sharing that knowledge as widely as possible.

Strategic Focus of SiG@PLANInstitute

Transforming systems by embedding social innovation in political, economic and cultural institutions and structures: We are interested in the convergence of social justce and sustainable development for Canadians who have been excluded, labelled or marginalized. Our current priorities are generating social, legal and financial innovations for people with disabilities and family caregivers. SiG@PLAN Institute also contributes to social enterprise, social financing, social networks, public policy and Web 2.0 strategies and resources that benefit the social sector as a whole. SiG@PLAN Institute will provide leadership in the area of system transformation and public policy. Inspired and informed by PLAN’s impact on shaping disability policy and practices, SiG@PLAN Institute will be a resource to social and environmental innovation with the potential for national transformation. These will include actions related to social finance, the caregivers agenda and the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

PLAN Institute on Caring Citizenship‘s intent is to be a primary source of inspiration, perspective, information, innovative ideas and demonstrable solutions related to caring citizenship. To be a caring citizen is to share a commitment to the common good and requires us to be in relationship with others. Caring citizens are the backbone of healthy inclusive communities. Our focus is on connecting people, ideas and actions. We want to inspire shared ownership in new ways of thinking, and nurture corresponding ways of acting. Our core work is cross-sectoral. We provide training, consultation, research, publications and strategic support for improving the lives of people with disabilities, their families and their communities.

Strategic Focus of SiG@Waterloo

Knowledge generation, dissemination and facilitation:Our goal is to generate new knowledge about social innovations and the social innovation process in Canada, in particular the dynamics of learning, adaptation and innovation in the arena of sustainable development and in the mental health domain (identified as one of the most pressing challenges of engaging vulnerable populations). We will seek to disseminate new knowledge through publications and learning events from graduate programs to lecture series developed inside and outside the university research community.

University of Waterloo has long been recognized as the most innovative university in Canada. We are committed to advancing learning and knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarship in our faculties, colleges, and schools.

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