Since its inception, SCP has operated under the premise of ‘connecting the dots’ between private business and not-for-profit organizations, with an objective to help people secure good jobs and create career pathways. Although our strategies to accomplish this have evolved over the years – see Our Evolution – our vision has always had a broader objective: to serve as a catalyst in promoting the spread of innovative practices that address key barriers related to supporting the growth of businesses that balance their financial and social objectives. This objective led to the development of an operating approach that we call our Catalyst Strategy.
Our Catalyst Strategy acknowledges that although our core activities should be focused on program related work, we also consciously try to dedicate 20% of our time to some alternative ideas that address these structural barriers. While these areas may fall outside of our day-to-day programs, they are an integral component if we are to influence the broader social ecosystem and greater collaboration among the business, nonprofit and government sectors. Our two key Catalyst areas have been our work on Social Capital Markets and the evolution of our Corporate Community Hiring Pilot project.
Social Capital Markets
The first catalyst area we focused on was how to create a more dynamic social capital marketplace in Canada – a market for investors to inject capital into organizations that seek to generate both financial and social returns. Our belief is that there is a under-development of financial instruments for this purpose – for instance, non-profits primarily view one financing tool (grants), while they are only “allowed” to present a limited value proposition for "investors".
In 2003, we undertook a study to explore innovative approaches to funding social initiatives in Canada. With the help of RBC Capital Markets, we studied the parallels between private sector capital markets and the market for social investments. 7 years later, the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance (TFSF) was assembled by Social Innovation Generation, a national project partnered with the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, including SCP founder and president, Bill Young. In the fall of 2010, the TFSF released a report highlighting 7 recommended actions for the Canadian federal and provincial governments, institutional investors and philanthropists, to ignite the development of an investment marketplace dedicated to addressing Canada’s social and environmental challenges. It is our hope that the launch of this report serves as a further catalyst to the development of a robust social capital market in Canada.
Corporate Community Hiring:
Based on our learning from the success of our Active Green + Ross partnership and our Community Hiring Franchise Program, we began asking ourselves - how can we transform the way Canadian companies think about and organize their HR functions? In particular, how can we create more effective channels for connecting large employers with community agencies that are serving people that have overcome barriers to employment?
We knew we needed to sufficiently study this opportunity in order to know how to address it. For this, we turned to our partner, the Monitor Group. In fall 2008, Monitor tasked a consulting team with helping us understand and frame the scope of this opportunity. This led SCP to begin to look at the feasibility of testing some of the Monitor research findings. As a result, in spring 2010, we launched our Corporate Community Hiring pilot, in which we are testing the feasibility of integrating community hiring practices with 3 of Canada’s largest employers. Read more about the Corporate Community Hiring pilot.