Foundations of belonging.

Author:McConnachie, David

WE ARE SO VERY PLEASED to be sharing this special issue of Alternatives Journal with you. It was developed in collaboration with The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation (The KWCF), and our shared journey of discovery began with a goal of exploring the concept of "belonging" in its myriad of meanings.

The KWCF fosters programs and solutions that help individuals and groups to enhance their sense of belonging within Southern Ontario's fast growing Waterloo Region.

As we developed this issue, we wondered if the community-building stories about enhancing a sense of belonging would be transferable to the Canadian environmental community. Nearly a half century young, our movement is only beginning to understand the importance of collective impacts and unified voices.

We need to build stronger bonds within and between environmental groups across Canada--and we need to build more bridges to average Canadians. A strong, healthy and vibrant environmental community will welcome everyone already involved in our collective work and seek to help those finding their place as newcomers to our cause. Thankfully, there are a lot of lessons to be learned and insights to be gleaned from the real-world work of physical place-setting in Waterloo Region.

In this issue, you'll read about long-time nonprofit organizations evolving their operational models to address changing community needs--and, in doing so, finding new and unexplored opportunities. You'll read about the collective efforts by key civic stakeholders to foster deeper and more meaningful collaborations and cross-disciplinary approaches to address social challenges manifesting, in different ways, in all of their individual practice areas. You'll learn how (and why) a community centre mindfully repositions itself to become a true centre of community...

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