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Civic Impact

The Ontario Nonprofit Network helps the sector seize opportunities

On October 20 and 21, The Ontario Nonprofit Network will host its annual conference. Guided by four themes—advocacy, governance, assets and evaluation—the event will connect many of the province’s 55,000 nonprofit and charitable organizations, including volunteers, staff, directors, as well as experts, policy-makers, and others working in the sector. The conference, says ONN Policy Lead Heather Laird, “is a chance for nonprofit leaders and thinkers to step back, examine the bigger systems that affect us all, and take collective action to strengthen the sector for thriving communities."

Built around the theme of “Seizing Opportunities,” the two-day event will kick off at the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place with a day-long introduction to ONN’s work, and skill-building opportunities in the areas of policy, leadership, and action. The main conference, “Seizing Opportunity,” will follow on October 21. Keynote speakers will include Rick Cohen, a national correspondent for the American publication Nonprofit Quarterly, as well as Henry Mintzberg, the John Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill. Other panelists and speakers will be drawn from across Ontario’s nonprofit sector, with breakout sessions focusing on, among other topics, rural social enterprise, pension planning for nonprofits, and the sector’s relationship with government.

Laird says that the conference “advances sector-wide strategies to strengthen nonprofits for the long term. Ultimately, a strong and resilient nonprofit sector means thriving communities.” A key part of that will be the event’s Intersection Hub, a lounge-like space dedicated to networking and one-on-one face time with sector leaders and key experts. Laird hopes Toronto’s nonprofit community will use the conference as a chance to have “conversations about our horizons, to build a vision for the future, and lay the foundations for nonprofit leadership in decades to come. [We offer the] skills and tools to engage in strategic work better, making nonprofit organizations and networks across the province stronger.
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