Announcing Canada’s first Social Finance Awards | Blog | Social Finance

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 Trailblazers within the field of social finance are the types of leaders who challenge the status quo. By proposing new models, solutions and frameworks, they fundamentally alter the

way we perceive and interact with the world. From Picasso to Rosa Parks, such personalities are found in a wide array of contexts, and are often revered for having single handedly revolutionized their field. The ideal of an omnipotent figure grabs attention because it is simple and easy. However, in a complex and interdependent 21st century, solutions to social and environmental problems rarely are. Time and time again, we are learning that silver bullets rarely have the durability or breadth to address the scope of systematic challenges we are dealing with.

This is an integral premise of Social Finance, which at a fundamental level is a wide collection of arguments that question many of the basic assumptions and values that play out in all of our lives. Scores of individuals have taken the initiative to innovate the way they are responding to our world’s challenges. Individually, these efforts amount to little relative to the scope of the issues they face. However, each time a business becomes a certified B.Corp, each time a CSI or a YWCA uses innovative community funding, they are contributing to a growing set of examples, precedents, and stories, drawing a roadmap for others. As a community, these efforts amount to a growing movement. SocialFinance.ca’s raison d’etre is to support this movement by connecting, informing and inspiring all parties interested in social finance. We strive to trigger a fundamental shift in the alignment between what our society values and how we allocate our resources.

Introducing … the Social Finance Awards

As a tool to enable this process, SocialFinance.ca is proud to announce the launch of the Social Finance Awards (SFA) . For the transformative potential of our community to be realized, the stories and examples of our leaders need to be shared widely. A People’s Choice award, the SFA is an instrument that SocialFinance.ca will use to surface, showcase and celebrate the initiatives of trailblazers in the Canadian impact investing marketplace. In doing so, we hope to support the growth and development of our national social finance community.

Award Process

An open nomination process will be followed by the selection of up to ten finalists by our panel of distinguished judges (Brenda Reid-Kuecks of Ecotrust Canada, David Lepage of Enterprising Non-Profits, Michael Oster of the Ottawa Community Loan Fund, Seth Assimakos of the St. John’s Community Loan Fund,  Tania Carnegie of KPMG, Tessa Hebb of the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, and Timothy Nash of Strategic Sustainable Investments). The stories of each finalist will be profiled and honored on SocialFinance.ca. Readers will then have an opportunity to vote for the leader who they feel is most deserving of the award.

Nominate a leader for this year’s award

Each year, the Social Finance Awards will highlight leaders from a different sector. This year, the award will be presented to the country’s “Most Promising New Financial Player”. A myriad of financial leaders have recently entered the Canadian impact investing space. We wish to celebrate this energy, as it is a powerful motivator for other financial leaders who might consider the role that impact investments could play in their own practice. Nominations are now open for this year’s award, and will close on July 25th. To nominate a leader, simply send your name, the name of the nominee, and the contact information of the nominee, to awards@socialfinance.ca. Consideration will be given to the nominee’s:

●      Financial commitment to Impact Investing

●      Financial/Investment model (innovation, scalability)

●      Social, Environmental and Financial impact as a direct result of investment

●      Involvement in advancing the social finance industry in Canada

More information on the awards process can be found at http://www.socialfinance.ca/awards. Please note that although we are accepting nominations for Canadian organizations and residents, anyone (regardless of country) can nominate.

 

The power of stories

In a world of dynamic social complexity, what room exists for the fabled hero? What role is left for the most driven, innovative leaders of today to fill? Perhaps the answer lies in a shift of awareness. While the heroes of old slayed the beast, the heroes of today mobilize armies. Considering our historical examples, Picasso and Rosa Parks led movements that revolutionized visual arts, music, architecture, and racial equality (respectively). In both cases, these leaders accomplished incredible feats not in isolation, but rather through their ability to influence and unleash the creative potential of millions of others.

Transformational leaders of today create change through the larger cultural shift which they affect. By motivating, inspiring, and proposing new models for how to think and behave, they begin sowing seeds on fertile soil. They are revolutionary not because of their actions, but because of how their actions inspire a more widespread shift in thinking and behavior. Through this resonance, they catalyze a profound and fundamental shift in the way we live our lives.

It is the stories and examples of our leaders, which have the potential to shift the trajectory of history. The Social Finance Awards are one way of enabling this process. Nominate your colleagues today and have their story told!

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