Parkdale Community Wealth Building: Community Financing Report
Chelsea Longaphy, Claire-Helene Heese-Boutin

In September, the Parkdale People’s Economy (PPE) released the Parkdale Community Wealth Building: Community Financing Report, funded by Metcalf. The research project represents a major step in understanding how financial capital and impact investing can support priorities at the community level.

“The long-term vision,” says Mercedes Sharpe Zayas, PPE’s Workforce Planning Coordinator, “is the transformation of the local economy from one that is extractive, exploitative, and competitive, to one that is regenerative, sustainable, and caring, and that meets the deep social needs of the Parkdale community.”

The Parkdale People’s Economy (PPE) is a network of over 30 community-based organizations and hundreds of residents who have been working collaboratively for several years to build a shared vision and neighbourhood plan for decent work, shared wealth, and equitable development. The plan is divided into nine areas for community action, each led by a community working group.

Coming out of the community finance working group, the Community Financing Report outlines the process of building shared language around community investing and community enterprises, how community financing is evaluated, and what role community health plays in the broader Parkdale objectives for economic justice. The authors analysed and developed profiles of four community enterprises in Parkdale: the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust, the Parkdale Food Hub, the Silver Brush, and the West End Food Coop.

The report concludes that the opportunities for community financing in Parkdale are complex and highly customized. It determines that in order to advance the Parkdale Neighbourhood Plan several needs must be met, including:

  • a combination of all funding types (repayable and non-repayable);
  • flexibility around term and liquidity;
  • guarantees or first loss reserve funds;
  • patient capital; and
  • long term partnerships with government agencies and anchor institutions.

Finally, the Parkdale Community Wealth Building: Community Financing Report prioritizes the development of an affordable housing fund with the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust.