EMBERS: Igniting employment opportunities in the Downtown Eastside


About this story

Marcia Nozick founded EMBERS in 2001 after volunteering in a community organizing process in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES). She determined to use her experience in urban planning and community economic development to engage her community.

EMBERS provides people facing multiple barriers to employment with opportunities and resources to start and grow a business. It has helped launch more than 500 businesses, placed over 1,000 people in temporary jobs, and set up a construction company that specializes in sustainable building practices and provides long-term employment for DTES residents.

"Vancity was part of our inception," says Marcia. "They create a very close relationship with you—it is not just about the dollars, it is about having someone to call on. Everything we have done is leading-edge and risky, in a field that isn't very well developed. Vancity has been there, supporting EMBERS and believing in us in a holistic way, giving us the confidence and momentum we need."