The non-profit sector is vital to Alberta’s social, emotional and economic recovery. When non-profits thrive, they help Alberta build vibrant local communities that attract people to live here and business to relocate here. However, traditional approaches to non-profit fund development are no longer sufficient for ensuring the resiliency of the sector and its ability to continue to deliver vital community services. That’s why we are responding to stakeholders and reimagining how we support the non-profit sector through a new initiative – Creative Partnerships Alberta.
Creative Partnerships Alberta is a bold and innovative way of building a thriving non-profit sector. It will spark private investment in non-profits, grow social enterprises and increase collaboration in finding new solutions to social challenges. The end result will be the strong, sustainable non-profit sector Alberta needs.
Across Alberta, we are seeing a drive toward social innovation. Social innovation is about creating new ideas and approaches to addressing social issues. I believe Creative Partnerships will make Alberta a leader in this area. In our conversations with stakeholders and thought leaders around the development of Creative Partnerships Alberta, we learned there is a growing desire to finance business ventures that achieve a social good. In fact, a 2019 report on Social Finance in Canada from the University of British Columbia identified that more than $1.5 billion has been invested into 285 social ventures across Canada from 2007 to 2018.
Our commitment to growing social innovation and social finance in Alberta begins today with our partnership with the University of Calgary and the United Way Calgary and Area on the UCeed Social Impact Fund. The UCeed Social Impact Fund provides early-stage funding to support the development of social enterprises that use a business approach to addressing a social or environmental need. In addition to the $2.5 million from the United Way Calgary and Area, government is investing $2 million over 4 years in the UCeed Social Impact Fund to help launch up to 100 social enterprises.
I want to reassure non-profits and Albertans that Creative Partnerships Alberta will not replace existing government funding for the sector. Instead, through new funding approaches, mentorship for non-profits, social innovation and continued government funding for existing grant programs and supports, we will create an environment where the non-profit sector can better meet the needs of Albertans.
Social enterprises including non-profits, for-profits, charities and cooperatives can apply to the UCeed Social Impact Fund year-round, and the next intake deadline is December 17, 2021. Please share this information and encourage your contacts in the non-profit sector and business community to apply.
I’m excited about Creative Partnerships Alberta and the many opportunities for innovative collaboration such as UCeed. More partnerships, programs and resources for building the resiliency and sustainability of Alberta’s non-profit sector will be announced in the coming months.