Join us

Social purpose real estate brought to the forefront at two-day conference

Social purpose real estate brought to the forefront at two-day conference

Not-for-profits, funders, investors and government gather to address issues, learn and explore models

Vancouver, BC, November 2, 2010: Not-for-profit organizations, foundations, businesses, and government will gather in Vancouver on November 8 and 9, 2010 to come up with sustainable solutions for non-profits that want to access affordable work space. Our Spaces, Our Places: Buying, leasing and sharing spaces for mission-driven organizations is a conference that will focus on social purpose real estate (SPRE) as a tool for strengthening community.

The conference will examine SPRE approaches that have been successful locally and elsewhere, and discuss the feasibility of further advancing these models. The Lower Mainland’s affordability index makes it difficult for many organizations to own or lease suitable space, and the goal is to create a future where not-for-profit organizations have the right space, at a reasonable price, which will allow them to deliver their programs, services and administrative offices effectively. 

“With the high real estate costs in this area, and limited public funding for many non-profits, it’s great to see this collection of partners come together to look for solutions which put communities first, says David Berge, Senior Vice President of Community Investment, Vancity. “This is what Vancity is about, convening the right parties together to help address real community needs.”

“Affordable, adequate and appropriate are the words we would like to use to describe the spaces and places of not-for-profits in our city and we hope that this opportunity to learn together will bring us closer to realizing this goal in our remarkably challenging real estate market,” adds Central City Foundation President & CEO, Jennifer Johnstone.

Vancity President and CEO, Tamara Vrooman and Mayor Gregor Robertson will open the conference, and sessions will be led by experts based locally and from across North America. They will explore real examples of successful SPRE models, while encouraging discussion and providing tools for not-for-profits to consider and plan for the future. Examples of sessions include:

  • The Denver Shared Spaces Project: Connecting Not-for-Profits Through Real Estate - presenting the story of how this partnership among a municipality, a foundation and a not-for-profit is changing the way Denver is using real estate as a tool to help build community, enhance effective service delivery to residents, and create sustainable and long lasting spaces for Denver’s not-for-profits.
  • Raising the Roof: Capital campaigns for leasing or buying - learn how to break down this challenging but essential process into manageable steps that will help not-for-profits identify, attract and deploy the human and financial resources to achieve their capital campaign goals

This inaugural conference is being hosted by Central City Foundation, City of Vancouver, Real Estate Foundation of BC, Renewal Partners, Tides Canada and Vancity.  More information on the conference can be found at

About the presenting organizations

Central City Foundation
Neighbours helping neighbours build a community of hope since 1907.  Central City Foundation improves the lives of people in need in Vancouver’s inner city through grants and leading, sustainable social purpose investments in facilities and programs.

City of Vancouver
Vancouver is recognized as one of the world's most livable cities with one of the smallest carbon footprints of any major city in North America.  The City of Vancouver is renowned for its innovative programs in the areas of sustainability, accessibility and inclusivity, and its goal to become the world’s greenest city by 2020.

Real Estate Foundation of BC
The Real Estate Foundation of BC works to advance knowledge and practices leading to more sustainable use and conservation of land in BC through a variety of programs and initiatives, including its grants program. Since 1988 the Foundation has approved more than 1500 grants totaling over $57 million in communities throughout the province.

Renewal is a Vancouver based collection of independent organizations which include the charitable foundation, Endswell, the investment firm, Renewal Partners Company, the new seed-capital investment fund Renewal2, and our innovative initiatives, Play BIG and Social Venture Institute (SVI).

Renewal’s mission is to put the powerful tools of business and philanthropy to work in the creation of a triple bottom line economy. For the past 17 years we have provided investments, grants and collaborations in support of long-term societal solutions in British Columbia and beyond.

Tides Canada
Tides Canada provides uncommon solutions for the common good by leading and supporting actions that foster a healthy environment and just society. 

We provide innovative philanthropic, financial and project management services for change makers — philanthropists, foundations, activists, and civil organizations — and help create opportunities for people in Canada and around the world to escape poverty, strengthen their communities, and live on a healthy planet.

Vancity is Canada’s largest credit union, with $14 billion in assets, more than 414,000 members, and 59 branches throughout Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. Vancity is guided by a commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.

Media Contacts

Jennifer Johnstone
President & CEO, Central City Foundation

Pamela Chaloult
Renewal Partners
604.844.7474 ext. 615

City of Vancouver
Corporate Communications

Cristina Velez
Tides Canada
604 647 6611. 

Celina Owen
Real Estate Foundation of BC
604.688.6800 ext.103

Stephanie Vicic
Vancity Media Relations