Capacity Canada continues to build stronger communities

Nasreen, Director of Communications, Capacity Canada

Community has never been more important than it is now in the middle of a pandemic. Since its inception in 2010, Capacity Canada has provided the resources and professional supports that enhance leadership skills, stimulate cross-sector collaboration, promote knowledge sharing, and encourage social innovation to build stronger communities. Keeping true to its commitment, vision and mission, the organization continues to support the non-profit sector.

Over the past decade, Capacity Canada has worked with more than 10,000 non-profit organizations across the country, building their capacity in the areas of Board Governance, Strategic Planning, Board Matching, Design Thinking, and much more. Since its founding, Capacity Canada has expanded from a focus on Waterloo Region to a national strategy offering programs and services to organizations across Canada ranging from those in health and social services to social entrepreneurs who use the power of profit to make the world a better place. And this success could not have been possible without the loyalty of Capacity Canada’s supporters.

To honour its longest standing-supporter and volunteer, Chris Howlett, Capacity Canada announced a new award this year, the Chris Howlett Award, on the launch of its 2020 Annual Report – Forging the Digital Frontier. The award recognizes Chris and his wife Lynn’s invaluable support in the success of Capacity Canada.

The recently released Annual Report gives the readers a snapshot of how the organization builds non-profit capacity. Capacity Canada is proud of the advances it has made in its suite of board governance services. The increase in its virtual and online workshops and courses has removed many barriers for non-profit leaders across Canada to participate in the activities hosted by Capacity Canada. Capacity Canada is making strides in creating a diverse and inclusive culture within the organization itself and the community organizations that it partners with and supports.

With Creative Day for Social Good (CD4SG), an annual pro-bono event, Capacity Canada has provided non-profit organizations with valuable design and marketing expertise for no cost. It has made it possible for charitable non-profits to access professional resources to build their brand and have a more significant social impact in their communities. As part of the program, communication and marketing professionals volunteer their time to create design and marketing material for participating non-profits free of cost.

Similarly, with Capacity By Design, Capacity Canada offers social good organizations (SGO) to rethink their approach to problem-solving. Since the program launch in 2017, Capacity Canada has worked with several organizations to launch online platforms, develop new programs, and strategically position their offerings based on their stakeholders’ needs and insights. Some of the organizations that have benefitted from the program include Carizon, Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region, and Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation.

Capacity Canada understands that it’s more than just passion that is required to be able to make a difference. Keeping this in mind, Modern Board, a Capacity Canada micro-credential program offered in partnership with Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, was launched in 2011. The program equips you with the knowledge that allows you to modernize your approach and have that positive impact in your community that you have been aiming for.

And while it’s essential to understand a Board’s function, it is equally important to be part of an organization that matches your passion and skillset. The MatchBoard program links employees from major corporations with volunteer opportunities on the boards of charitable non-profits, offering participants a chance to support the causes they care about most. The program has successfully matched employees from Manulife, TD, Aecon, and several other corporations to charitable non-profit boards in Toronto, Waterloo Region and surrounding cities and communities.

Capacity Canada’s Manulife Board Governance BootCamp helps board leaders and top administrators better understand their roles in the operation of charitable non-profits. This year’s BootCamp focused on diversity, inclusion, and equity and questioned whether leading organizations and their boards were taking enough steps to be diverse and inclusive.

Recognizing that board constructs are no longer relevant as is, Capacity Canada continues to offer a series of additional online workshops and interactive webinars on the future of board governance, risk management, and collaborative board governance.

And although this year has been challenging, Capacity Canada continues to work towards its strategic priorities – lead social innovation, intensify the impacts for the social good sector, connect locally, nationally and internationally, and build new and inclusive partnerships. It continues to make a national impact and build stronger and more resilient communities across Canada.

Learn more about Capacity Canada at