New partnerships support local economic development

Aerial view of Plattsville, Ontario, Canada on a sunny day

Through its Partnership Investments program, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is supporting two pilot projects that will build knowledge on the effectiveness of Community Wealth Building in different sized communities.

To build and sustain strong local economies, support is needed for social purpose organizations (non-profits, charities, co-operatives, social enterprises, for-profits with a social mission) that generate and reinvest wealth locally and participate in collective decision making for local economic development.

Creating a local economy that’s inclusive of the people who live within it supports long term community stability, local decision making, and local jobs. An inclusive local economy is essential for Community Wealth Building. It develops opportunities to connect knowledge, ideas, and investments that can generate wealth in and for the community. 

For example, when a purchase is made from a locally owned co-operative, the income generated contributes to a group with a social purpose and would continue to be spent locally – ensuring wealth gets reinvested and circulated back into the community.

Effective collaboration between residents, social purpose organizations, and local governments is also key to Community Wealth Building. Economic decisions that affect the community are more likely to be locally led, creating inclusive and equitable places to live, work, and play.

OTF is pleased to be supporting two pilot projects aimed at learning more about Community Wealth Building in different sized communities:

Mid-size Cities Inclusive Economies Pilot

This pilot focuses on conducting research and sharing findings to learn more about the mechanisms that drive inclusive economies for mid-sized cities, while also better understanding the connections between emerging community wealth initiatives. It is being led by the Inclusive Economies for Mid-Sized Cities Network (IEN).

Partners include: Centre for Social Innovation Institute, SI Canada, University of Guelph, Mitacs.


Shorefast Community Economics Pilot 

Five communities across Canada will share their experiences, approaches and tools used for community wealth building initiatives in their regions. This pilot project will help develop a strong knowledge base and identify best practices for future work. OTF will join other funders in sharing insights with these communities on how local economic development can create stronger, more resilient communities. This pilot will take place in London, ON, Hamilton, ON, Prince Edward County, ON, South Vancouver Island, BC, Fogo Island, Newfoundland.

Partners include: Shorefast Foundation, Ottawa Community FoundationCommunity Foundations of Canada.


“Supporting these pilot projects will play a vital role in deepening the collective understanding of how to create and sustain prosperity at the local level – because community is at the centre of our work.” Said Tracey Robertson, Lead, Partnership Investments - Impact. “We are pleased to be learning from and partnering with social purpose organizations that want to build equitable and sustainable community-driven economies.”


Quick facts

  • The Ontario Trillium Foundation's (OTF) Partnership Investments program connects the non-profit, public, and private sectors to build a stronger non-profit sector in Ontario. 
  • Partnership Investments has a mission to mobilize relationships and resources in communities to build the capacity of the non-profit sector to innovate and deliver better outcomes for Ontarians.