Make a Plan

Make a Plan

The planning stage might be the most complex and arguably most critical, it includes everything from forming strong relationships and partnerships, to securing financial support and acquiring assets to make it happen.

The following are common components of the planning stage:

Develop partnerships, and build relationships – The most effective hubs develop strong networks within their communities, and beyond, underpinned by shared values and buy-in to the vision.

Develop your strategic objectives – Develop a set of clear objectives that set out what you will actually do in order to achieve your mission.

Develop a business model for your hub – While grant funding may be hugely important in helping hubs get going, overreliance on grants will make your community hub vulnerable. Community hubs often have quite complex business models, relying on a range of income sources to cover their costs.

Acquire required assets — Community hubs commonly are acquired through asset transfer, purchased directly, or built from scratch.

Establish an appropriate governance structure – Before formally taking over the management of a building, employing any staff, or securing funding, an organisation will need to be formally set up.

Use these resources to navigate this complex and critical stage on your path to a successful and vibrant community hub.

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Ontario’s Surplus Property Transition Initiative

On June 29, 2017, Ontario announced the Surplus Property Transition Initiative. The new initiative aims to support and maintain a number of publicly owned surplus properties that have the potential to be redeveloped as community hubs. Community proponents can request additional time to support planning for the creation of community hubs at surplus provincial, school board or hospital properties. The last day to submit an application was October 16, 2017 at 5:00pm.


Wychwood Barns Feasibility Study

This book is a manual for those planning or operating a shared space. It reveals the accumulated knowledge of six years of experience and offers a ton of tips, lessons and tools for developing a strong financially viable organization and vibrant community.

Tour Wychwood barns


Wilfrid Laurier University / Waterloo Collegiate Institute Feasibility Study

The WLU/WCI Feasibility Study was conducted in 2016 to identify opportunities to pursue the re-development of the WLU/WCI Northdale Lands in Waterloo and to potentially establish a Community Hub.

Includes topics such as the history of the site, neighbourhood character, goals, approach, capital fundraising potential and operational sustainability.


Emergence: The Story of the Centre for Social innovation

This book provides an overview of the early beginnings and development of the Centre for Social Innovation, from concept to operation to scale.


Templates & Tools

The Collaboration Project: final report

Non Profit Networks (2016)

The Collaboration Project was a peer learning community designed to establish practice standards for nonprofit collaboration in shared space centers. The report includes worksheets and case studies to build collaboration in a shared space.


Creating and Maintaining Partnerships

Community Tool Box, University of Kansas (2016)

This toolkit provides guidance for creating a partnership among different organizations to address a common goal.


Shared Platform Guidebook

Ontario Nonprofit Network (2016)

The purpose of the guidebook is to assist charities and nonprofit organizations to integrate emergent and innovative community projects into their operational framework and governance. The shared platform approach supports collaboration, leadership, governance and project development for a diverse range of sector-specific work, neighbourhood work, networks and time-limited initiatives. The approach fosters social innovation, providing the opportunity for experimentation and the testing of new ideas.


Financing and Funding

The Ontario Trillium Foundation

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

The OTF has adopted an Investment Strategy that includes six different action areas as well four granting streams.

Grow Grants are grants that support the evidence-based development of activities.

View the Grow Grant Package


Community Hubs Capital Funding: Minor Retrofits and Accessibility Ontario Ministry of Education

As a response to recommendations in Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan, the province committed to supporting the use of schools as community hubs.

In May, 2016, the Province announced a $90 million investment to further enable the development of community hubs by expanding child care and child and family support programs in schools and create spaces in schools for community use.

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Community Health Capital Planning (CHCP) – Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

The CHCP — which provides a unified approach for the funding of community health care infrastructure projects in Ontario — already has a funding stream dedicated to community health projects involving integrated facilities. The new policy, adopted in expands the eligibility criteria to make funding more accessible for integrated service models.

The types of community sector Health Service Providers (HSPs) and organizations who provide direct service related Programming, and were specifically-named in the prior policy continue to be eligible under the CHCP policy for dedicated Capital Funding. These include:

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Other Resources

Ethnography of the Central East Health, Housing, & Homelessness Steering Committee: Report and Toolkit

Central East Local Health Integration Network (2015)

This report and toolkit is the outcome of a reflective research process involving Trent University, the Central East Local Health Integration Network, and Service Manager representatives from the Regional Municipality of Durham, City of Kawartha Lakes, County of Northumberland, and City of Peterborough. The Key Learnings and Take-Away Messages section offers ten suggestions for others in existing collaborative relationships or those who seek to establish them.


Community Hubs: Governance, Partnership And Community Inclusion Strategies For Collaborative And Co-Located Initiatives

Public Interest Strategy and Communications Inc. (2008)

This report is a summary of research carried out to support the initial phases in the development of Community Hubs in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods and is intended as a reference to help emerging Community Hubs develop their own governance structures, partnership agreements and space allocations policies.


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