Community Wealth Building: Information and resources

Community Wealth Building: Information and resources

Not sure what Community Wealth Building is, or how your nonprofit can begin to build community wealth? That’s okay, this page has information and resources to help nonprofits get started on their journey!

What is Community Wealth Building (CWB)?

Community wealth building: doing community economic development in a way that is sustainable, and permanently keeps resources within the community through enterprises that are local, democratic, and inclusive.

Many nonprofits are on the frontlines of addressing the harms of our current economic systems:

  1. Financialization of assets required to meet human needs – this includes the financialization of housing, care, and food systems to a point that makes these essential goods inaccessible to many, particularly racialized and Indigenous communities, individuals with disabilities, among other underserved communities.
  2. Extreme concentration of wealth. The extreme concentration of wealth (which is also racialized, gendered, and rooted in colonialism) is both the result and perpetuator of unjust systems.
  3. Extractive business resulting in environmental destruction. The logic of our current system incentivizes endless extraction and decouples those who benefit and those who live with the most immediate and dangerous effects of the resulting environmental destruction

Instead of seeking to treat the symptoms of a broken economic system after they occur, Community Wealth Building aims to tackle the root cause by changing the nature and operations of the local economy so that it produces better outcomes, working in service of people, place and planet rather than the extraction of profit.

In addition, nonprofits are major players in the economy: we are employers, purchasers, advocates, landlords, and goods and services providers. Nonprofits have the ability and the responsibility to create a more equitable, inclusive, and caring economy that also centers anti-racism and reconciliation.

  1. Progressive procurement
  2. Locally rooted finance
  3. Just use of land and property
  4. Inclusive and democratic enterprise 
  5. Fair work 
  • Social procurement: a practice to leverage the purchasing power of organizations, governments and the broader public sector, to create positive social, economic, cultural and environmental impact.
  • Social enterprise: organizations that sell goods and services, embed a social, cultural or environmental purpose into the business, AND reinvest the majority of revenues into their social mission. Social enterprises can be for profits or not-for-profit.
  • Social finance: the practice of lending/ investing to create social and environmental impact in addition to financial returns. Examples include community bonds and low interest patient loans. 
  • Community Benefits Agreement: A Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) is an agreement on infrastructure and development projects to achieve social value outcomes such as inclusive hiring, skills training, local procurement, and social procurement.
  • Community land trusts: A community land trust (CLT) is a community-led, non-profit organization that owns land and puts it to use for community benefit. CLTs are committed to the long-term stewardship and permanent affordability of land, housing and other assets that contribute to a thriving community. 
  • Social purpose real estate: the availability, accessibility, and affordability of real estate for mission-driven organizations (nonprofits) and communities, owned and operated by mission-driven organizations or community groups for the purpose of community benefit, such as affordable housing, community land trusts, community gardens, nonprofit child care and long term care.

Social finance programs in Ontario

  • Tapestry Community Capital provides services and resources around Community Bonds.
  • Bloom Local Food Fund: a place-based social impact fund designed to build sustainable and inclusive rural communities. 
  • The Fair Finance Fund: supports food and farming local enterprises and co-operatives in Ontario with loans and mentoring/business support services.
  • 10C Harvest Impact Fund: a new community finance intermediary that provides social finance loans between $2,500 to $50,000 to organizations/projects/individuals in Southern Ontario.
  • Community Forward Fund: Financing the needs of nonprofits, charities and nonprofit social enterprises.
  • Verge Capital: supports local economies and communities across Southwestern Ontario by investing in social enterprises that put people and the planet first.

Blog posts from ONN:

Utilize the resources below to explore the various ways to build community wealth.