York Region covers 1,776 sq km and encompasses nine municipalities north of Toronto, Canada and had a total population of 983,100 in 2007. With a five year growth rate of 22% (2001-6) and with new Canadians making up 43% of the population (almost twice that of Ontario), York Region is one of Canada’s fastest growing and most diverse communities. It has elements of inner city (i.e. downtown Markham), high wealth creation (i.e. Vaughn), an Aboriginal reserve (in Georgina), rural agriculture (i.e. East Gwillimbury) and environmentally protected areas such as the Oakridges Moraine. This diverse region has diverse opportunities for collaboration with university researchers to co-produce and mobilize knowledge for social innovation.
Facilitating this co-production and knowledge mobilization, York’s KM Unit is pleased to work closely with partners in York Region such as illustrated in our recent publication with the United Way of York Region (read it here). One strong supporter of community development in York Region is Brent MacKinnon. York’s KM Unit first met Brent when we brokered a relationship between him (then at Street Kids International) and Uzo Anucha (School of Social Work, York University). You can see them talk about their collaboration here. Brent recently launched his consulting company, Social Media Tools for Work and Learning. Brent provides consulting services to nonprofit organizations interested in harnessing the power of the social web to meet their Vision, Mission and Values. Brent’s focus is to support staff in developing their social media strategy and using the right tools to engage supporters and stakeholders. His first issue of his newsletter, MacKinnon’s Cloud was launched this week and features services as well as stories from York Region including a story on the York Region data symposium, which was also featured on Mobilize This! (read it here).
Brent will also be featured at a workshop on social media for knowledge transfer and exchange downtown Toronto on October 5 “What’s the point of 2.0”. Kudos to Brent for being a leader in social media for York Region community organizations and a champion for knowledge mobilization. You can contact Brent at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @brentmack.
One more item for all York Region not for profits is the non profit stream of the federal government’s stimulus package “Creating Jobs, Building Communities”. Released by Infrastructure Canada, this program will fund infrastructure projects in the following areas: temporary housing shelters; community centres; community services and cultural institutions. “Projects must be for the substantial renovation or rehabilitation of existing infrastructure or new capital infrastructure”. Applications are due August 18, 2009.