Our Story

We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to systems change. Working across Nova Scotia, with tools and processes like collective impact, collaboration, developmental evaluation and theories of change, we aim to make a positive impact on communities. We collaborate to learn and share knowledge in the Atlantic Region as well as more broadly across the ecosystem of social innovation.   

Inspiring Communities was founded in 2018, but the work began earlier, in 2016. The initial mandate of Inspiring Communities was to develop collaborative community building initiatives in two rural areas using the Collective Impact framework. These are now known as Northside Rising and Turning the Tide. In April 2019, Between the Bridges in Dartmouth North, another existing collective impact initiative, joined Inspiring Communities as well.

We are indebted to the vision of a group of provincial deputy ministers in Nova Scotia responsible for social policy. They recognized the need to work across departments to tackle complex social issues as well as to find new ways of working within communities to build trust and find new solutions.

We hold a vision of building relationships, skills and experimentation to change systems rooted in inequity. Broken systems are a barrier to making an impact on longstanding challenges.

We are now involved in a range of projects and experiments to support this vision. Highlights are captured below:  

our inception | community-level collective impact initiatives in Digby and on the Northside of Cape Breton were instigated to try a new way of approaching systems change.  

how we first grew | Dartmouth North collective impact initiative Between the Bridges joined us, bringing more insight and capacity for impact into our collaborative structure.

how we reach out across the region | we fostered an Atlantic-wide network of changemakers through WeavEast.

how we build evaluative capacity | we created a network of Developmental Evaluators across the region.

how we partner | we created the Nova Scotia Network for Social Change with NS GovLab.

how we learn | we continue to refine our approach to learning (e.g. through experimenting with hosting content on Wayside, a technology platform for learning and collaboration).

how we are supported | a group of provincial deputy ministers collaborates on our unusual cross-department funding; we also receive support from foundations and grantmakers committed to social innovation.