Institute to hold Community Conversation in January

Hope you had a wonderful summer on the bay! The Institute’s founding directors, many members, and donors have been busy over the last several months on important initiatives and I would like to share our progress with you and invite you to get involved.

As many of you know, the Institute was formed to harness the power of the 100,000 people who call Southern Georgian Bay home. This is a powerful group that could work collaboratively together to improve quality of life and build social and economic prosperity for all. The Institute facilitates regional collaboration and provides opportunities for the many hard-working and dedicated people and organizations throughout the region to have greater collaborative impact in the areas of:

  • Social Justice
  • Arts, Culture & Entertainment
  • Environment and
  • Business & Entrepreneurship.

The Institute relies upon the many talented residents who recognize the need to contribute to the community and believes that the region is stronger and can accomplish much more when it capitalizes on the unique “power of our place”.

The next 12 months are pivotal for The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay. The website www.tisgb.com is live and provides information on all the Institute’s collaborative initiatives under our community’s four pillars of sustainability.

We are working with the Social Justice sector to further the recommendations of our White Paper on Social Justice, as well as other important pillar topics. Our Institute was fortunate to collaborate with Tamarack Institute on the development of the Social Justice conference and follow-up White Paper, which is available on our website. I invite you to read the paper and to go to the Tamarack Institute website www.tamarackcommunity.ca to learn more about the research and knowledge-sharing relating to the value of collaboration, community engagement, and collective impact.

Many of our residents believe that Arts, Culture, and Entertainment reflect the heart and soul of our communities. Not only do they enhance the quality of our lives, they also fuel economic development, brand the community and set it apart from others. From Meaford to Wasaga, and Collingwood to Creemore, there exists many talented writers, producers, actors and directors, musicians, and artists sharing their talents and enhancing our region. The Institute is exploring the opportunity to transform Southern Georgian Bay into a major, recognized music, theatre, and film hub. To build on the dialogue to date, a working group will develop a discussion paper on the potential of creating our region into “The Chautauqua of the North” for our Community Conversation event.

Institute Board members have also participated in meetings with Georgian College, municipal economic development representatives across the region, and small business funders as part of our Business and Entrepreneurship pillar activities. Through these meetings, innovative approaches to growth and prosperity in Southern Georgian Bay are being explored. The conversations have identified concentrations of similar businesses or “clusters” in areas such as film and video production, digital media, manufacturing, and research. The development of an “entrepreneurial ecosystem”, mentoring programs, financing options, and hub/co-working spaces are being discussed.  The idea of a Southern Georgian Bay Innovation Network which would see individuals, groups, organizations, and existing hubs in a dynamic physical and digital convergence space will be another idea being discussed at our January event.

And the fourth pillar of the Institute, the Environment will also be highlighted. In early conversations hosted by the Institute, residents in the region expressed great concern about our environmental assets, water in particular. A small working group has discussed topics such as water quality, invasive species, waste management and industrial land use. Some key points that have emerged include: the value we place on water, the legacy we are leaving the next generation, and how best to share information and build awareness and action around water issues. Further dialogue will take place at January’s event about how best to celebrate this asset and think strategically about its future.

Having completed a year of operation as a registered not-for-profit corporation, the Institute is now eligible to seek funding to leverage our membership funds from sources such as the Ontario Trillium Foundation to support further research and fund new collaborative community projects.

We hope you will tell your friends to join the Institute, get involved in the events, and participate in creating a more socially and economically prosperous region!

Don May, President

PS. Your renewal/new membership support will provide the Institute with the resources we need to hold this important Community Conversation and to create action plans which will promote and support collaborative impact within Southern Georgian Bay.

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