With an investment of half a million dollars from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Georgian has big plans to grow its social entrepreneurship programs.
Since 2012, Georgian’s Orillia Campus has been home to the college’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship where students from a variety of programs collaborate on new ideas, approaches and ways of delivering services to the community.
Social entrepreneurship is about providing non‐profit organizations with creative strategies to address complex issues, generating both social and economic returns. Students work with such community partners as Camp Couchiching and the AIDS Committee of Simcoe County on business plans, fundraisers, marketing initiatives, partnership building and a variety of other projects.
Georgian will use the funds to expand student experiential learning opportunities across its network of seven campuses, as well as enrich its changemaker spaces, curriculum and scholarly research related to social entrepreneurship.
Mary O’Farrell-Bowers, Dean and Orillia Campus Principal, says the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship has already generated exceptional results and she looks forward to its growth.
“With this transformational funding, our Centre is positioned to become the social entrepreneurial learning hub in Simcoe County and beyond. We will be able to provide even more students with opportunities to develop the skills and mindsets that will differentiate them in the workforce,” she said.
Since 2012, the Centre has partnered with 750 organizations, placing more than 1,200 students annually in the community through work‐related placements.
The funding is part of the Foundation’s RECODE initiative to encourage students to become social entrepreneurs while contributing to Canada’s capacity for social innovation. Georgian was one of 15 postsecondary institutions in Canada to receive a matching grant.
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization based in Montreal that supports Canadians in building a more innovative, inclusive, sustainable and resilient society.