Some of the Foundation’s most vital work is conducted through its participation in a variety of activities, partnerships and initiatives that support the community, including the Community Development Framework (CDF), of which it was a founding member.
CDF is a city-wide program working to address place-based issues by bringing together residents, service providers, agencies, researchers and funders to work together to build stronger neighbourhoods. Common issues include safety, lack of access to affordable, nutritious food and space for recreational programs.
The CDF approach is based on the four guiding principles of collaboration, coordination, community participation and leveraging of resources that have been successfully implemented since 2004 through No Community Left Behind, a crime prevention and safety program in Southeast Ottawa.
A partner at the CDF Steering Table that provides direction and helps leverage support for identified neighbourhoods, the Community Foundation of Ottawa also chairs its Resource Allocations Committee, responsible for the funding of such local activities as fundraising events to build accessible playgrounds and a youth photo project capturing and sharing neighbourhood strengths and challenges in a unique and compelling way.
In 2012, CDF evaluated its work in 15 neighbourhoods that received program funding from the City of Ottawa and the Community Foundation of Ottawa. Directly serving more than 5,000 residents, it found that the initiative had leveraged $632,000 through new partnerships and community contributions – more than three times the funding provided that year. This was accomplished through direct funding, in-kind donations and the volunteer contributions of almost 650 people.
The program was also found to have significantly increased resident engagement, with more than 4,500 residents participating in such activities as a CDF Learning Forum, capacity-building workshops and other work groups, representing an increase of 57% in community participation. Leadership capacity was also dramatically increased, with 10 neighbourhoods identifying and involving new local leaders in a variety of activities, including delivering workshops.
New initiatives ranged from those promoting broad community engagement, pride and inclusion, to skill development, capacity and trust-building among neighbours. Responding to local priority issues, a number of projects were implemented, including Good Food Markets in Rochester Heights and a community kitchen manual in west-end Ottawa to promote and encourage healthy eating.
In terms of program sustainability, CDF’s success in raising awareness and bringing about such tangible results as improved safety and access to affordable food, childcare and recreation programs, is gaining city-wide recognition and support. Increased resident leadership, volunteerism and the ongoing implementation of the program’s action plan provide further evidence of the program’s capacity to create and sustain meaningful, systemic change in Ottawa neighborhoods. For further information about the Community Development Framework, visit www.cdfcdc.ca.