Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement Program Receives SSHRC Partnership Grant

Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear announced a SSHRC Partnership Grant today for the Community First:  Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) program. CFICE is an action research project that aims to strengthen Canadian non-profits, universities, colleges and funding agencies to build more successful, innovative, resilient and prosperous communities. The program will receive $2.5 million over seven years and will launch in fall 2012.

Combining community-based demonstration projects with critical policy analysis, CFICE aims to foster community-campus engagement that is designed and implemented in ways that maximize the value created for non-profit community-based organizations.

“The multi-community, multi-issue approach of the CFICE initiative will provide rich and deep learning and will enrich all of our collective efforts,” said Liz Weaver, vice-president of the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement and co-lead of the project’s poverty reduction hub.

“We know that community/post-secondary partnerships and projects in Canada leverage thousands of volunteer hours and paid staff time, as well as millions of dollars in cash resources every year,” said Todd Barr, executive director of the non-profit Trent Centre for Community-Based Education and co-lead of the project’s community environmental sustainability hub. “CFICE will generate the empirical evidence of this activity to make the case to governments, educational institutions and other stakeholders looking for innovative, cost-effective solutions to Canada’s challenges.”

“We at Carleton University are thrilled to be asked to host this important project,” said Katherine Graham, associate vice-president (Academic) and co-chair of the CFICE steering committee. “This plays to our strengths in community engagement, but we know we must push the boundaries of this work even further. We are committed to doing just that.”

The seven-year project will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will take place between 2012 and 2016, during which research will be carried out by four self-managing hubs:

  • Poverty Reduction, co-led by the Vibrant Communities network in New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta and the Canadian north
  • Community Food Security, co-led by Food Secure Canada in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia, in cooperation with the Canadian Association of Food Studies
  • Community Environmental Sustainability, co-led by the non-profit Trent Centre for Community-Based Education in eastern Ontario
  • Violence Against Women, co-led by the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies in Ontario and British Columbia

“It is an honour to assist in the creation of a body of knowledge that will provide guidance and leadership for effective partnerships between the academic world and community-engaged organizations,” said Tim Simboli, executive director of the Ottawa office of the Canadian Mental Health Association and community co-chair of the steering committee.

Between 2016 and 2019, the project’s second phase will shift to a focus on policy change. This phase will be conducted by the Knowledge Mobilization Hub and will produce a wide range of online and hard-copy knowledge products, learning events and policy initiatives. This hub will be co-led by the Canadian Alliance for Community-Service Learning across Canada and internationally.

“Community-service learning practitioners recognize the need to develop effective ways and means of demonstrating meaningful outcomes for the community, and to share our learning widely,” said Geri Briggs, director of the non-profit Canadian Alliance for Community Service Learning and co-lead of the Knowledge Mobilization Hub.

“This project comes at a time when Canadians, especially those at the margins of our society, face harsh economic conditions and cuts to social services”, said Ted Jackson, CFICE principal investigator and a professor of public policy at Carleton. “We want our research to help people navigate toward a better future – not a worse one. We want this project to be a catalyst for hope.”

Click here to read about Carleton’s SSHRC Partnership Development Grant winners.

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For more information:
Chris Cline
Media Relations
Carleton University
613-520-2600, ext. 1391
613-355-0336
christopher_cline@carleton.ca

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