Monthly Archives

June 2021

Kingsway College School (KCS) Senior School

Using Community Bonds to change the landscape of education

By | Client Stories

“We’re ready to shake up the independent school scene,” says Hallie McClelland, Director of Advancement at Kingsway College School (KCS) in Toronto.

I’ve just connected with her over Zoom to discuss how their project is progressing, and when I see Hallie’s energy, it’s clear how excited and proud she is of what KCS has planned. 

“We come from humble beginnings,” she shares, “we were founded by a group of dedicated community members 32 years ago, and when the school opened we had just 50 students.” Over the years the school has organically grown and evolved, due in large part to the overwhelming demand for independent education in Toronto’s West End. The school now has almost 400 students, with two classes per grade from JK to grade 8, and over 70 staff. 

“We are finally ready to deliver on a promise that we’ve had for a long time now,” says Hallie with a big smile, “we are ready to build the senior school that our community needs and our students deserve.”

Delivering on their promise of a senior school

The new KCS senior school will be 40,000 square feet, spread over two floors of a new condo development at 2183 Lake Shore Boulevard West. The school will give high school students access to open spaces for performing and community-building, science labs for chemistry, biology and physics, and a fitness room to support healthy activity. The school is set to open its doors in September 2022. 

To bring their vision to life, KCS is raising $4 million in community bonds and $1 million in charitable donations. Anyone across Canada can invest as little as $2,500 in KCS and make a 3% return over 5 years. KCS is also offering several other investment opportunities to meet the different needs of their investor base. 

KCS Community Bond Investments

“We love the fact that we are going to be paying out interest to individuals and organizations that believe in our mission. We are seeing community bonds as a really meaningful way to connect with people and engage them in this special project. We also love that we are leading the way for our students and showcasing what innovation looks like.”

“The really amazing thing,” Hallie adds, “is that anyone who invests in the school will become a lifelong Senior School Founder.” This means that investors will be recognized in perpetuity for their role in creating this school. 

Kingsway College School (KCS) Senior School

Fulfilling a community need

“I think a big part of the excitement around this project is that we are filling a real gap in the market,” Hallie notes. KCS is currently the only independent elementary school in Toronto’s West End, and when complete, will also be the only independent Senior School in the area.

In order to meet latent demand while construction is underway, KCS will be offering their first cohort of the senior school at a temporary location. “This means that when we open our doors, we will be starting with one grade 10 class and three grade 9 classes,” says Hallie, “we already know that placements in the senior school are going to be in very high demand.”

“This is because KCS isn’t your average independent school,” she says, smiling again. Yes, they meet Ontario’s curriculum standards. But KCS also goes above and beyond because they recognize that the world is changing very quickly for young people, and education needs to adapt to respond to these changing needs. 

“As one facet of this response, we are introducing the KCS Learning Community Program, which will match students with Learning Partner experts in the community that can help students support their passions and interests, explore career avenues, provide mentorship, and connect them to real-life, off-site learning opportunities,” shares Hallie. 

Kingsway College School (KCS) Senior School

The senior school program is a culmination of years of work and design. A task force of over 40 people reviewed more than 80 independent schools internationally, and brought together the best pieces of all of them. “We are very confident in what we have to offer Senior School students,” says Hallie. 

“Even though we’re growing, our ethos, mission and values will always remain the same. What is most important to us is graduating students that not only excel academically, but that are good global citizens who have the tools to do well for themselves and for others.”

An education system that gives today’s youth the tools they need to succeed

Investing in KCS means investing in the education of the future – an education that will prepare students for the real world and give them all the tools they need to become the best people they can be. “There is no more important investment than education,” says Hallie. “Education has the power to radically change our society for the better; to create more well-rounded, courageous, accountable and empathetic leaders.”

The fact that the school is meeting a real community need, has a solid foundation and strong business model, and that the bonds are backed by a real asset makes this a very attractive investment. The campaign has already built a huge amount of excitement so far, with $2.7 million pledged in bond purchases to date. KCS has a target of raising $3.5 of the $4 million in bonds by the end of this month, when they will begin fitting out their new space. 

“I’m an investor,” says Hallie proudly, “actually, I purchased two bonds! I believe in this investment, I believe in this school, and most importantly I believe we will change the landscape of education and build a Senior School in Toronto that our students deserve and our community needs.”

Become a KCS Founder

KCS urges investors that are interested to learn more through their website, sign up for an investment information session, and not to delay getting involved. “We know the bonds will sell out quickly, and we’d like to have as many people involved as possible,” Hallie concludes with excitement.

Windshare community owned wind project

Celebrating our Renewable Energy Roots 

By | News, Success Story

At Tapestry, we are so excited about community bonds and the future of social finance that we often forget to take a moment to step back, reflect, and share our history. Today, on Global Wind Day, we thought it an apt occasion to celebrate our roots in renewable energy, and the amazing organizations working alongside us to build a more sustainable future. 

Tapestry is not a standalone organization; we are actually building on years of experience of our parent organization, the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC). TREC was founded almost 25 years ago with the mission to address climate change through collective carbon reduction. Being founded with co-operative values, TREC sought to find community-led solutions, and took inspiration from the renewable energy co-operative model that was thriving in Germany.

If you have ever driven in downtown Toronto along the lakeshore, you will have seen North America’s first urban wind turbine. Ever wonder how it was built? That was TREC’s inaugural incubated project: WindShare, a community-run renewable energy co-operative. This iconic wind turbine is jointly owned by 600 environmentally-minded community investors, a few of whom are pictured below, and Toronto Hydro. 

Windshare community owned wind project

Having seen the possibilities of community power, TREC was eager to replicate the WindShare model with other renewable energy technologies, and allow widespread involvement through community investment. TREC has helped to incubate, and continues to support, some of Canada’s most successful community-led renewable energy initiatives, including SolarShare, WindShare and ZooShare. Combined, these organizations have a portfolio of 54 community-owned renewable energy projects across the province of Ontario.

By allowing people to invest as little as $1000 to help bring these projects to life, these organizations have made participation in the renewable energy industry much more accessible to Canadians. “Often people want to find a way to make a difference, but they don’t have the means to do so. Not everyone can install solar panels on their roof, or even has a roof for an installation. Buying a wind, biogas or solar bond allows people to play a meaningful role in the clean energy transition.” says Mary Warner, Co-Executive Director of TREC. “What’s really exciting is that when these investors become involved, they suddenly want to learn more about renewables, carbon reduction, and even energy efficiency.”

Zooshare Community Bonds

This idea of raising community investment to enable community ownership has transpired into the work we do at Tapestry today. Building on what we learned in community-owned renewable energy, we now support organizations to tap into their community of supporters, raise impact investments, and use these funds to purchase or develop community assets – such as community hubs, sports & recreation spaces, affordable housing, and so much more.

As TREC incubated and saw the success of renewable energy projects, they also noticed a gap in public awareness around the possibilities of these technologies.  They began to focus on children as the solution – to plant the seed of a sustainable future early on and inspire kids to see not only the environmental benefits of renewable energy but also the economic opportunities, like green collar jobs.

This advocacy work led to the formation of what is now Canada’s leading renewable energy education charity, Relay Education. In a normal year, Relay works with upwards of 10,000 kids to help them gain hands-on experience with renewable energy, learn about the connection between energy and the environment, and explore career opportunities in the field.

In addition to their elementary and secondary school programing, Relay is working in partnership with Indigenous communities to support sustainable, long-term energy solutions that are democratic, clean and inclusive. Read more about this work in the recent article in T. about Relay Education’s Indigenous Youth program.

As Tapestry continues to build a thriving community investment market, TREC will remain focused on advocating and finding solutions for a more sustainable future. The TREC team is actively working to define where that mission will take them next.

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Jasleen Bahia Joins Tapestry

By | News

Meet Jasleen Bahia, Tapestry’s newest team member and Summer Associate. 

Jasleen’s interest in social enterprise and social impact began with her own lived experiences. Growing up, Jasleen relied heavily on community programs and benefited greatly from the work of local non-profits. “Around the age of 14, I realized that I wanted to start giving back. These organizations and programs helped to raise me, and I wanted to make sure they could continue to reach as many kids as possible,” says Jasleen.

Jasleen has worked with BGC Canada, Girls Who LEAP, and ShEvalesco, and took on progressive responsibility within these organizations as she progressed through high school. She still cares deeply about supporting her local community, and continues to volunteer in her free time.

Through this experience and her studies, Jasleen has come to realize that she is not just passionate about social impact, but really curious about it’s intersection with business and finance. “I only learned about social enterprise a few years back,” she says, “but I knew right away that this was something I wanted to focus my energy on. I see the space changing so rapidly, and see so much potential for growth.”

Jasleen is currently studying Business at Western University, and is hoping that she can focus her time in the Richard Ivey Business School to expand her knowledge of social enterprise. 

Jasleen is excited about working with Tapestry because she is eager to learn more about the nonprofit sector, and all it’s diverse players. “I’ve done a lot of work with youth, so that’s what is familiar to me, but I love the fact that through Tapestry I will get to learn about organizations working in so many different fields, from education to long-term care, all of whom share the underlying desire to better their communities.”

With Tapestry’s transition to a remote working environment, we have benefitted from the fact that our new employees can be based anywhere in Canada. In Jasleen’s case, she’s based out of her hometown, Vancouver, BC. Jasleen is excited about extending the reach of Tapestry and introducing the local non-profits that she works with to the concept of community bonds. “There is a huge population of untapped community-minded impact investors out West, and I think this model will gain a lot of traction in BC.”

“What excites me most about this opportunity with Tapestry is that it aligns so closely with my personal values – community is really at the core of everything I do,” says Jasleen. “Knowing that the work I am doing is going to have an impact in the community really drives me and motivates me to put in extra energy.”

In her free time, Jasleen loves to do anything outdoors – be it hiking, running or camping. She hopes to spend a lot of her summer in the beautiful Rockies, and will also be running her third marathon this summer, as a participant in the BMO Virtual Marathon. 

We welcome Jasleen to our growing team and hope that our clients and community will have the chance to meet her.

Interested in chatting with Jasleen? Reach out to her at Jasleen@tapestrycapital.ca

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