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décembre 2022

Marina Eckersley joins the Tapestry Team

Par News

Tapestry is thrilled to welcome Marina Eckersley as our newest member of the Campaigns Team. As Campaign Coordinator, Marina will support social purpose organizations to engage their communities, communicate their investment opportunities, and reach their investment targets. With a diverse background in sales and marketing, and a passion for project management, she hopes to contribute to the growth and awareness of the community bond model across Canada. 

“I’ve been called the queen of structured fun,” says Marina. “I think the name fits because I am hyper organized, love a good excel spreadsheet, and keep everyone on track in order to ensure they are having a great time.” We are sure that Marina is going to bring this same spirit and energy to her work with Tapestry clients. 

Marina’s career has led her from the music industry, to journalism and politics. Most recently she traveled across the province as the Events and Tour Coordinator for Mike Schreiner and the Green Party of Ontario. Marina was drawn to the work that Tapestry does because she saw it as an avenue to apply her skills to do good in the world. “Working in the music industry, I often felt jaded. I thought I was going to be helping artists get their music out to the world when in reality, I was trying to squeeze every penny from them.” 

She is also excited about the opportunity to not just plan for change, but to actually put plans into action. “I see community bonds as a way to use the system, to fight the system,” says Marina. “It can be exhausting talking about what we should do and never getting to the point of implementation – this is a chance to actually do it.” 

“As cliché as it may sound, I want to leave the world a better place,” says Marina. The good news is that at Tapestry, we don’t think it’s cliché at all – it’s central to everything we do. We know community bonds are a flexible tool for non-profits and co-operatives to access the capital they need to do more good, and they are also an instrument that can keep wealth within communities. 

In Marina’s spare time she is a baker and avid knitter. In fact, she once auditioned for the Great Canadian Baking Show and her love for knitting once led her to uncover the hidden truths behind Ontario’s wool industry! Check out the fascinating article here

We hope you will have the opportunity to meet and work with Marina. If you are interested in connecting with her, please reach out by email at


What can we learn from the UK’s social investment ecosystem?

Par Learning from Abroad

The UK’s social investment ecosystem is proof of the immense growth potential of community bonds in Canada. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ashley Wang from Social Finance UK and Annie Constable from Good Finance to learn more about the UK’s social investment marketplace. Below are three lessons that we can learn from our UK counterparts.

1. Working with leaders in the social investment ecosystem will help non-profits, charities, and co-operatives address knowledge and capacity gaps

In the UK, Big Society Capital is the leading financial institution dedicated to social investment in the UK. Big Society Capital and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment created an organization called Good Finance to address a large knowledge gap they had observed in the social investment ecosystem. Good Finance’s website is home to jargon-busting tools, case studies, and a directory to connect organizations with investors. 

Similarly, in Canada, Tapestry helps organizations to learn about the community bond model and determine whether it’s a good fit for their project. We provide organizations with the resources and tools to fill knowledge and capacity gaps. From understanding terminology, to launching your community bond campaign, we support you every step of the way in whatever capacity you need. Our goal is to ensure that the path to integrating community bonds into your organization is as seamless as possible. 

2. Community investment provides a flexible source of financing

Increasingly, organizations are seeking creative sources of financing that give them the operational flexibility to do what they need to do to achieve their goals. Grants, while providing free capital, can often impose strict requirements that limit project dimensions, and ultimately the impact a project can have. They can also be tedious, time consuming, and unsustainable. For many organizations, terms set by banks and traditional funders won’t be favorable, and often this financing will only provide a portion of the needed capital for a project. 

This is why many organizations in the UK have turned to social investment tools, such as charity bonds, as an alternative. Charity bonds can be seen as the UK equivalent of a community bond (read another blog on this here). Social investment tools are a sustainable solution for organizations to raise the capital they need, and enable individuals to diversify their investment portfolio while creating impact in the community. The massive demand for flexible finance in the UK has brought many impactful investment opportunities to the market and this is sure to happen in Canada as well. 

3. The government has played a critical role in catalyzing the adoption of social investment tools

In the early 2000s, the UK had a build up of dormant account assets – the result of forgotten assets in long-lost bank accounts and insurance policies. In 2008, Parliament passed the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act which directed a large portion of these assets to social investment. Big Society Capital (BSC), was launched with £400 million of dormant account funds. The UK government also offers the Social Investment Tax Relief which is a 30% tax break for individuals who invest in social enterprises, charities, or community businesses.

As of June 2022, the Bank of Canada announced that it is sitting on nearly $1.1 billion in dormant account assets. Right now, this money sits idle with the Bank of Canada for 30-100 years depending on how much is in the account. After that, the money is considered forfeited and is transferred back to the government’s spending accounts. Imagine if Canada implemented a similar act to the UK and directed even 10% of this capital to social investment (that’s $110 million)! Evidently, government initiatives, politicians’ support, and advocacy from organizations can help catalyze the adoption of social investment tools. 

In recent years, the Government of Canada has signaled their support for the social impact market. The launch of the $755 million Social Finance Fund has been a major milestone. This capital is supporting social purpose organizations to become investment ready and bring investment products to the Canadian public. At Tapestry, we are supporting many organizations with funding provided through the Social Finance Fund Investment Readiness Program. To stay up to date on funding opportunities and application deadlines, visit the Community Foundations of Canada website here

About this Blog Series

Hi, my name is Jasleen Bahia, and I was once an Intern at Tapestry Community Capital. I am now completing my degree in business with a focus on social finance, and I’m currently doing a semester abroad in Europe. While here, I am Tapestry’s Ambassador to the UK. This blog series documents my adventure abroad learning about the social finance ecosystem in the UK and connecting it to our growing community investment marketplace in Canada. I am eager to find out what we can learn, replicate and share!


Cover photo credit: Co-operative UK

Financing Affordable Housing: Ottawa Community Land Trust

Par Affordable Housing

“I often have people come up to us and say, I love what you’re doing, can I give you a few thousand out of my RRSPs to invest,” says Ray Sullivan, Executive Director of the Ottawa Community Land Trust (OCLT). The problem for most non-profit affordable housing organizations, he says, is that they don’t currently have a pathway to allow their supporters to do this. We sat down with Ray, and Ottawa Community Land Trust Board Members, Lisa Ker and Glenn Grignonn to explore how Community Bonds might create a new avenue to engage their community while also unlocking much needed capital.

The Ottawa Community Land Trust was established in 2021 with the mission to preserve, maintain and support the creation of diverse and affordable housing in the Ottawa region. Their business model is straightforward – acquire properties that have existing affordable market rents, remove them from the private market, protect existing tenants, and then lease the properties out to local non-profits and co-operatives to manage.

ACORN Canada’s report on the housing crisis in Ottawa is dire. Market rents rose by 26% between 2005 and 2015, while median income only increased by 4%, and supply is not nearly high enough to meet demand. To add to the difficulties, the vast majority of affordable housing providers in Ottawa, and Ontario at large are small housing providers, operating less than a hundred units, meaning it is very difficult for them to achieve economies of scale and compete with the private market. “Of the roughly 750 members of the Ontario Non-profit Housing Association, 700 of them operate less than 100 units of housing,” shares Glenn. 

OCLT is particularly interested in acquiring small to mid-sized apartment buildings. “If they were bought by a commercial investment group, they would solely be interested in their return on investment and aggressively try to turn those units over and raise rents to increase the cash flow from the property,” says Ray. 

Most of the properties they are looking at will be eligible for traditional debt financing for 60% to 70% of the total property value, and OCLT is currently collaborating with the Ottawa Community Foundation to develop impact investment tools to cover the remaining gap. “If we were to rely on government sources, it would take over a year to secure the funds, and we would lose the properties,” says Ray, “we need to be able to mobilize quickly.” 

Ray, Lisa and Glenn all share the opinion that these are not “fundraisable” projects. “People who want to make significant contributions and gifts to organizations and causes get excited about being part of a construction project where you can generate a lot of buzz,” says Lisa, speaking from years of experience leading fundraising initiatives. “It seems that acquisition of existing affordable housing doesn’t have quite the same appeal. This is a big problem because every year, Canada is losing 64,000 units of affordable housing – and 20,000 are in Ontario alone. That means for every one unit built, four are lost. 

Ray shares that he would like to see the impact investment capital developed with the Ottawa Community Foundation become a revolving fund to help them acquire multiple buildings and protect as many units as possible. After acquiring the building, OCLT would repay the initial impact investors with funds raised by issuing Community Bonds. The idea is beneficial in a number of ways, first being that the initial capital would then be available for future acquisitions, and second, it would reduce the risk to community investors because the acquisition would already be complete. “These buildings are already rented out and have a consistent revenue stream, so we feel confident,” says Ray. 

The team also sees the potential to use community bond funds for renovations on the buildings. “There is boundless potential for improvements in energy efficiency in affordable housing,” says Lisa. The team agrees this is an area that really needs more attention, but expertise is scarce. “I think there’s a lack of capacity in the sector,” says Glenn, referring to both energy efficiency retrofits and Community Bonds, “and when people don’t understand it, they don’t want to do it.”

Lisa Ker was formerly the Executive Director of Ottawa Salus, a supportive housing provider. “We never sufficiently ventured into the world of social finance,” she shares, “we didn’t have the tools, resources and education to understand how to mobilize that type of capital.” 

“Like many things in the sector, once you get the momentum going, then people want to get on board,” says Glenn. The team seems excited to plough the way in terms of Community Investment. 

We wrap up the session with everyone being excited about the potential of Community Bonds. “The way you have brought this down to the community level and made it accessible to smaller and medium-sized housing providers – well- that’s just pretty cool,” says Ray. 

About this Blog Series

In October 2021, Tapestry was selected to take part in a Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) program called the Housing Supply Challenge. This innovative competition encourages residents, interested parties, and experts from across the country to propose creative solutions to housing. The goal: to help meet Canada’s pressing need for safe and affordable homes by breaking down barriers to the creation of new supply.

Tapestry participated in Round 2 of the program, Getting Started, which seeks to find solutions to pre-development challenges, such as community resistance and obtaining financing. The program granted incubation funding to the 29 organizations selected to allow them to further develop and test their solution proposals.

Through six months of research and consultation, we had the opportunity to speak with over 40 interested parties in the affordable housing sector, from housing providers, to development consultants, to funders and lenders. Each and every individual and organization consulted helped to co-design our solution proposal.

The “Financing Affordable Housing with the Power of Community” blog series shares the lessons learnt and stories heard from some of the amazing organizations that we have partnered with.