There is a critical need for flexible sources of financing that can be designed to meet the budgets and timelines of affordable housing providers. At the same time, there is a need for greater, and more meaningful participation of communities in affordable housing projects.
Tapestry Community Capital is leading the development of a social finance program, specifically designed to meet these complex needs of affordable housing providers.
Tapestry has been shortlisted by the CMHC Housing Supply Challenge program to work on this idea. We are recruiting non-profit and co-operative housing providers from across Canada that are interested in the use of community bonds to help inform the design of the program.
We are offering:
Coaching to your team and Board to understand how community bonds could be used by your organization
An assessment of your project financing and viability to utilize community bonds to unlock private capital within your community
Preferential participation in the implemented program, which may involve financial support to launch a community bond campaign
Tapestry is a non-profit organization that supports social purpose organizations across Canada to raise impact investments using a social finance tool, called a Community Bond.
We have developed a straightforward process that allows organizations to efficiently use community bonds to achieve their funding goals within 8-12 months. We help them to structure their investment offering, take their product to the community to raise investment, and professionally manage their investors.
In the past 8 years, we have supported in raising over $90 million in community investment from more than 4,000+ investors. This capital has been deployed by our non-profit and co-op clients to develop a range of essential community assets, including those in renewable energy, arts & culture, and education.
Tapestry is catalyzing a vibrant community investment marketplace to finance iconic community projects. We work with a wide range of partners to help them tap into their network of supporters, raise investment, and grow their impact.
To date, we have helped to raise $80 million in community financing to fund 59 projects across Canada. Each of these projects strives to make our country a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient place.
We have recently undertaken two new research projects in the fields of affordable housing and community energy. Both require that we dig deep into the existing literature on the use of social finance tools in these sectors, engage stakeholders, and ask important questions about where challenges exist.
This is why we are hiring a Senior Researcher to join our team. We are looking for someone energetic, dedicated and resourceful, who can be responsible for the project management of these two portfolios. They will spend the majority of their time engaging a wide range of stakeholders to uncover barriers and opportunities, and work with the Tapestry team to conceptualize solutions.
The individual selected will be hired on as a fulltime consultant for a duration of six months, however, there may be a longer term opportunity available at the end of this period. In recognition of differing situations and availability, we are also open to considering a reduced time commitment with a focus on one of the two projects.
To learn more about this option, the details of the projects, and what we are looking for, please read the full job description here. Please note that the application deadline has been extended to Feb. 22, 2022.
So, why should you be interested in working with Tapestry?
1. We are an innovative and growing social enterprise, working in a rapidly expanding sector. Now more than ever, people are interested in investing their money not only to make a fair return, but to also have a positive impact. At the same time, growing demands on the social purpose sector are pressing organizations to think more creatively about financing solutions. We are contributing to the creation of a vibrant marketplace where impact investments can flow directly to community-based organizations that are addressing local needs.
2. We are working hard to address some of Canada’s greatest challenges. We offer you the chance to be involved in finding and implementing realistic solutions. Our organization was involved in one of Canada’s first community-financed and community-owned renewable energy projects over 20 years ago. We are continually building on our knowledge and experience to evolve our process and harness of the power of community.
3. We believe in work/life balance and take pride in our office culture. Our office supports 100% remote working and offers flexible hours to meet your needs. Our team members come from a wide range of backgrounds including marketing, banking, social services, music production, real estate, and policy. We value diverse perspectives and know that our team is our greatest strength.
Tapestry Community Capital is fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We value contributions from our employees coming from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. We welcome applications from all people, especially equity-seeking groups, racialized people, women, people with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and any others with a non-binary or traditional background who may be interested in the position. If you have questions or require special arrangements, please let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you, and to growing our tapestry!
The Housing Supply Challenge, led by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is an innovative competition that encourages residents, stakeholders 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. The Challenge will distribute $300 million in funding over five years through various unique rounds.
We are excited to announce that Tapestry Community Capital has been accepted into Round 2 of the program, Getting Started, which seeks to find solutions to pre-development challenges.
CMHC received a total of 167 submissions that all demonstrated great potential impacts. Tapestry’s application is one of 29 that has been shortlisted and provided with incubation funding to further develop a concrete and implementable solution. Stage 2 of this round will make up to $38 million dollars available to successful applicants to implement their solutions.
Our solution seeks to solve two very complex challenges.
Non-profit affordable housing providers have a dire need for a flexible source of financing that can be designed on their terms, to meet their desired timelines. Simultaneously, there is a critical need for greater, and more meaningful participation of communities surrounding affordable housing developments. Affordable housing providers require innovative avenues for participation that will help to shift perceptions and build community support.
“There is immense pressure to fill the void in affordable housing stock and community-based organizations are urgently looking for solutions to fill their funding gaps and speed up the process of securing financing,” says Tapestry Co-Executive Director, Ryan Collins-Swartz. “At the same, we have seen that NIMBYism in these regions can slow development or even stop projects from getting off the ground. The result is that many housing projects never succeed, or are not scaled to their full potential, because of a lack of financing and community support.”
Community bonds allow organizations to set their own financing terms and raise funds on a predictable timeline. While unlocking private capital, they also build a powerful sense of community ownership. Residents, neighbours, and local businesses alike can all invest to improve their community, while earning a fair return.
Community bonds have been used to finance several affordable housing developments across Canada, including The Mount in Peterborough, Ontario and Brique par Brique in Montreal, Quebec. While affordable housing projects in Canada have raised a total of $3 million in community bonds to date, one single inclusive housing provider in the UK, Golden Lane Housing, has used this model to raise the equivalent of $26 million CAD. There is huge potential for non-profit housing providers to unlock capital on this scale to develop more affordable housing.
Building on our extensive experience of engaging communities to fund locally impactful projects, we seek to apply this knowledge to the affordable housing sector as a flexible and scalable source of financing. Our solution adapts our proven process for raising community bonds to meet the complex funding needs of affordable housing providers.
Be part of the solution
We will be designing this program through a highly collaborative process involving a diverse range of stakeholders that provide, fund, or are personally impacted by affordable housing.
As part of our discovery phase, we will be looking to speak to a multitude of stakeholders affected by affordable housing financing, including non-profit housing providers, financers and community members.
Please get in touch with us at email@example.com if you or an organization you know might be interested in this consultation.
Learn more about our project, and the projects of other applicants, here.
*Please note the ’Financing affordable housing with the power of community’ project received Incubation Funding under the Housing Supply Challenge – Getting Started Round, however, the views expressed are the personal views of the author and CMHC accepts no responsibility for them.
As we approach the end of an exciting year, we are pleased to share that three new individuals have joined Tapestry’s Board of Directors. Their voices will support our evolution as we navigate the future; engage in new dynamic ways with non-profits, charities and co-ops across Canada; and continue to deepen and integrate our efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in our organization and beyond.
As leaders in their respective fields, we are thrilled to have the unique expertise of Homaira Siddiqui, James Chan and Mritunjay Sinha to help guide our growing organization. Each of them brings a wealth of experience to strengthen our organization, with vast skills in finance, technology, social enterprise, and policy. Their addition to the Board will help to further position Tapestry as a critical leader in social finance in Canada.
Our new board members have shared some of their motivations and hopes for their time with Tapestry below – we look forward to growing with them in the time to come.
Mritunjay (MJ) Sinha
A social entrepreneur-operator and an investor, MJ helped build a multi-million-dollar micro-loan portfolio in rural India and a co-operative that served over 200 women entrepreneurs. Through his advisory firm, he has helped deploy over C$150M through private-market impact investing, and another C$250M through responsible investment strategies for family offices and foundations, including the Hamilton Community Foundation, the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, and the Upper Canada Equity Fund. MJ is Treasurer for Computers for Success Canada, a Board Director for The Helderleigh Foundation and Philanthropic Foundations Canada, and sits on the Impact Investment Committee for the Laidlaw Foundation and the Investment Advisory Committee for the Foundation for Black Communities. MJ’s passion for social change is complemented by his experience in capital markets, corporate strategy, and global health, and his degrees in Computer Engineering and M.B.A.
“I have been deeply passionate about the intersection of positive social change and financial returns for more than a decade now, even before I knew what impact investing was. I’ve admired the work that Tapestry Community Capital has done for the last many years helping structure impact investment products (such as community bonds), making them market ready, and assisting both investors and investees in looking at capitalism differently. So, it isn’t surprising that I am very excited to have been appointed to their Board. I look forward to working together with an amazing Board and team, and helping make capitalism a little more fair, just, and equitable.”
Homaira seeks to find more sustainable and equitable ways in which energy can be generated, distributed, stored, and conserved. She is particularly interested in the intersection between energy and equity, and the ways in which distributed and aggregated energy projects can bolster community resilience. Homaira began her career in a technical role re-engineering the very first plastic known as the Bakelite resin by repurposing biomass from a pulping waste stream. Her engineering career has since traversed advocacy and policy, holding roles with Engineers Without Borders and the International Renewable Energy Agency. Her experience in the energy sector spans over five years covering markets across North America, where she has supported diverse clients to navigate pathways towards a distributed, low-carbon, and resilient energy future. Homaira is also an Advisory Committee member of Women In Renewable Energy (WiRE), where she serves to offer passionate women in the energy sector a meeting point and a catalyst for forming highly engaging and supportive relationships.
“I first came across the concept of a cooperative many years back with news of some of the earliest renewable cooperative pilots in Germany and Denmark. I remember being intrigued by this alternative – and what seemed ‘novel’ to me at the time – an investment model of pooling resources to meet an essential communal need. As an energy geek, I am fascinated by the parallels that can be drawn between decentralization of the grid and localization of economies. I am particularly interested in identifying and countering barriers to participation in alternative models that continue to favour elements of traditional top-down structures and do not recognize the diversity of local potential and needs. I am thrilled to have been appointed to the Board of TREC/Tapestry, a powerhouse of social innovation that has 20+ years of experience in raising community investment. It is an honour to have a chance to work with some of the most brilliant and passionate folks at TREC/Tapestry to facilitate and support resilient and inclusive investment models for community-led, socio-economic driven projects.”
James works with people, places, and partnerships to foster civic participation, promote equitable urbanism, and grow the social economy. He is currently the Manager of VERGE Capital at Pillar Nonprofit Network, and serves on the Board of Directors for Inspirit Foundation. James is a past member of London Community Foundation’s social finance committee, was a co-founder of Ottawa Civic Tech, and served on the Board of Directors at Code for Canada, Park People, and The Centre for Active Transportation.
“TREC has been at the forefront of social innovation and social finance long before those terms were popularized. The idea that led to its creation over two decades ago is more relevant and important than ever – bringing communities together to address big challenges like climate change through shared risk-taking, financing, and ownership. Through TREC’s latest social enterprise Tapestry Community Capital, that same innovative and cooperative spirit is making it possible for communities to build and invest in a wide range of local initiatives such as affordable housing, arts & culture spaces, and community hubs. I am proud to join the Board of TREC and support its mission of bringing these projects to life through the power of community capital.”
Our new Board Members will provide diverse views and expertise that will further our collective work at Tapestry. Please join us in welcoming our newly elected Members!
The kids are back to school and those at KCS couldn’t be more thrilled! For students and families who have entered the newly launched Senior School program, this is a particularly exciting time because construction of their new facility is well underway.
For the past 7 months, KCS has been on a journey to raise $4 million in community bonds and $1 million in donations for the construction of a new campus at 2183 Lake Shore Boulevard West in Toronto, which will allow them to expand to grade 9-12.
Set to open its doors in September 2022, the new Senior School will give 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.
Since March, community investors have purchased and pledged $3 million in KCS community bonds. With just shy of two months until the close of their campaign on November 30th, KCS are getting ever closer to achieving their investment goal and Senior School vision!
Learn more about their story here, and watch the video below.
If you take a look at our brand, you can learn a lot about our organization and what we stand for. You will see a red thread connecting people, capital and solutions to society’s greatest challenges. That thread illustrates our ethos – that solutions must be designed, financed and implemented collectively, equitably, and inclusively by and for communities. That thread is the foundation of our Tapestry.
While we have lived these values since our inception three years ago, we have now gone a step further to put these principles into a policy to guide how we operate internally and externally to ensure that we contribute to a more just, equitable, diverse, inclusive, and dignified society for all.
“That may sound like a mouthful,” says Karen Scottie, who leads Tapestry’s Human Resources, “but each of these pieces is critical in making sure that everyone we engage with feels welcome and safe at all times.”
“This is not just a policy for our Staff and Board,” they explain, “we really see it as a foundation for the way we operate as an organization, and want this to transcend through to our work with the organizations that we serve as well.”
At the policy’s core are several main themes, explains Karen. “The first is that we simply aren’t ok with the status quo. We don’t want to just say that we are welcoming of all groups, whether it be in a job application or in supporting a new project, but actually want to be more conscious about actively engaging with people and groups comprised of and led by indiginous, racialized, women, people with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, or any others with non-binary or non-privelged backgrounds.”
“This can be a challenge”, says Karen, “and we are learning as we go”. Tapestry has made a recent change in its recruitment policy to make it clear that priority will be given to the groups addressed above, because we acknowledge the importance of a diverse workplace and know that to achieve this, we need to be deliberate about it.
We are also strategically seeking out more diverse organizations that could benefit from the use of community bonds and thinking critically about how we can improve the accessibility, both physical and financial, of our services.
“We have established a Committee to create a Tapestry Fund.” shares Mary Warner, Co-Executive Director of Tapestry. “We hope that through this fund that we can make our services available to a wider array of organizations that might not otherwise have the funds available to make it to the point of raising community bonds.”
The second core theme of the policy is that Tapestry is committed to continuous learning about anti-racism, justice, equity, inclusion, diversity (JEDI) and accessibility, and to integrating these learnings into every aspect of what we do.
“We have come a long way as a team simply by having open conversations about these difficult topics,” says Karen. The team recently completed the Feminuity Diversity, Equity and Inclusion course and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Anti-Racism Workshop, and has initiated a bi-weekly JEDI book club.
The final core element of the new policy is collective accountability. “What we mean by this,” shares Karen, “is that we are all responsible for each other’s actions by tolerating, ignoring or harbouring them. We hope that through education, training and open discussions, we can build the confidence of our team to always stand up for what is right, and speak out against injustice.”
Acknowledging that these topics are ever changing, Tapestry has committed to maintaining this policy as a living document. “This isn’t just a policy for the bookshelf,” says Karen, “we have developed an implementation strategy to help us make sure that these commitments come through in everything that we do and want to make sure that it can evolve as the needs of our communities change.”
Do you have any suggestions on how our organization can become more diverse and inclusive? We would love to hear from you. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jasleen Bahia sought us out online during her job search, knowing that she was interested in working in social impact and eager to put her university business courses to use. And how lucky for us, because she was an amazing addition to our team!
She brought a passion for community engagement and a keen interest in learning about social finance. Learn more about Jasleen’s background here.
Over the course of the past few months, Jasleen has supported with everything from the implementation of new human resources policies, to marketing, to working directly with our clients. In the video below, she wraps up her summer with some reflections on her experience.
Are you interested in social finance and the work that we do at Tapestry? Keep an eye on our Careers page for new opportunities and sign up to our newsletter for the most current updates on open positions.
We are pleased to welcome Theodora Mladenova as our new Impact Investment Manager at Tapestry Community Capital.
Theodora brings to our team a diverse background in banking, having worked for the past 10 years across Client and Brokerage Services at Invesco and BMO Nesbitt Burns, as well as Capital Markets, Derivatives Services and Treasury at RBC and Scotiabank.
“I’ve always had an interest in Finance, but I also have a strong desire to contribute to building a more fair economic system,” says Theodora. Born in Bulgaria, and having lived in many countries when she was young, she was always interested in politics and the ways in which political and economic systems impact individual’s livelihoods.
She moved to Canada as a teengager and pursued her degree in Economics and Political Science at the University of Toronto, where she also led a research team at the Munk School, monitoring G20 compliance.
“I’ve been looking to transition into a sector that aligns with my values for some time now,” shares Theodora. “Impact investing provides an avenue for me to make that change in an effective way, while using the skills and knowledge I already have.” She hopes that her credentials, including her CFA and FRM designations, as well as her banking experience will add value to the growing Tapestry team.
“Community investment is a sound and sustainable way to finance capital projects. Not only do community bonds unlock private capital that would otherwise be out of reach to non-profits, but they also encourage deep community involvement,” says Theodora. “This aspect of community building is a remarkable by-product.”
At Tapestry, Theodora will lead our process and infrastructure to manage 4000+ community investors and $80 million in impact investments. Together with Tapestry’s Investment Management team, she will focus on building and implementing systems that make community bonds an efficient and user friendly experience for issuers and investors alike.
In her spare time, Theodora enjoys getting outside. She is an avid camper, hiker, climber and cyclist. She loves to travel, meet new people, and learn about new cultures and customs. Lately, she has been trying to revive her piano skills.
She also loves to spend time with her adorable rescue pup, Mitko.
We hope that you will get the chance to meet and work with Theodora in the near future. Interested in arranging a chat? You can reach her at Theodora@tapestrycapital.ca.
Earth Day Canada is building the infrastructure of the future, and using community bonds as a way to engage all Canadians in the electric vehicle transition.
Seven in 10 Canadians who plan to buy a new vehicle within the next five years are likely to buy an electric vehicle (EV). “The change is coming,” says Pierre Lussier, President of Earth Day Canada, “The Canadian Government has pledged to ban the sale of gas cars by 2035, and major car manufacturers like Volkswagen and Honda have made similar commitments to phase out sales of combustion engines.”
While the electric car industry is evolving rapidly, charge points aren’t always easy to find. This unmet need is why Earth Day Canada is building a network of 100 fast-charging stations that will stretch across New Brunswick and Quebec.
For the past 25 years, Earth Day Canada has been supporting Canadians to lower their impact on the environment. In recent years, the organization has had a strong focus on mobility. They developed a ride-sharing application used across Quebec, and partnered in creating the first zero-emissions refrigerated lightweight truck in Canada.
“We are actively working to develop new ways for mobility because we acknowledge that at the centre of the climate change issue is the way our society moves. We want to be part of getting EVs to the masses and democratizing the needed infrastructure,” says Pierre.
The EcoCharge network will extend to areas where there is currently a lack of fast charging equipment; not only in the metropolitan areas of Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke, but also in less populated areas, including Victoriaville, Gaspé, Rouyn-Noranda, Chelsea, Saint-Félicien. The locations of the EcoCharge stations, which will be installed by the end of 2021, can be viewed here.
Together, Earth Day Canada and Tapestry, have developed a $2 million investment campaign that will mobilize private capital through the use of community bonds. “They are the perfect tool for our vision,” explains Pierre, “because this isn’t just about financing, it’s also about building a community around these service centres.”
The investment campaign will be open to all Canadians interested in investing with impact. In addition to the environmental return of the project, community bonds will offer investors 4% interest per year for a period of 7 years or 3.5% per year for a period of 5 years. Investors will also receive free recharging time at EcoCharge stations.
“We are so excited about this campaign,” says Ryan Collins-Swartz, Co-Executive Director of Tapestry. “Not only will this be the largest community bond campaign in Quebec to date, but it will also be the first of its nature across Canada,” he shares. “There is something very powerful about allowing the average citizen to participate, not just emotionally but also financially, in a cause that they believe in. We hope this investment opportunity will give those interested in making a difference the agency to be a part of the positive change.”
A convenient charging experience
Earth Day has partnered with IGA to install the chargers across 50 IGA sites so that customers can charge their vehicles while they shop for groceries. With a speed of 62.5 kW, the charging stations will be the fastest network of charging stations in Canada and will be able to fully charge a vehicle in just 20 minutes. Built for the future, these stations will always be installed in pairs and can be combined to provide 125 kW of electricity to meet the needs of the next generation of electric vehicles.
“Access to charging stations on private property multiplies charging options for citizens, complements public initiatives and reduces pressure on public property” says Montréal City Councillor, Sophie Mauzerolle. The EcoCharge network is a much needed complement to the existing 225 public fast-charging stations already in operation across Quebec.
Building a more sustainable Canada
With more charging infrastructure available, the decision to buy an EV should become an easier one for those looking to make a car purchase. Even at current rates of EV penetrations, within 10 years of operation, EcoCharge will have saved 33,000 tons in GHG emissions.
“We all have a role to play in fighting climate change,” says Pierre, “and we don’t have any more time to wait for solutions.”
“We know that EVs are the way of the future and a part of the answer,” says Pierre, “so, together we are going to build the infrastructure that this country needs to expedite the transition.”
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.
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.”
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.