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Insight: REIBC blog > Partnering for Social Change

Partnering for Social Change

posted on 10:24 AM, November 8, 2019
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SPRE visiting BC Artscape’s Sun Wah Chinatown Project in Vancouver. Credit: J. L. Gijssen

The Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative assists non-profits and social enterprises with their real estate challenges. Why? To enable such organizations to do the good work they seek to do—community building, in particular.

“In order to build resilient communities, we need spaces to gather, exchange, work, and create,” explains SPRE’s project director, Jacqueline Gijssen. “It is vital that these community spaces are located throughout our cities and neighbourhoods and that there is community control over these spaces, so that non-profits and social enterprises can bring their substantive expertise, resourcefulness, and leveraging abilities to solving community challenges.” Now in its tenth year, SPRE has helped with stronger lease contracts, long-term real estate strategies, and property redevelopment, and it has even inspired the creation of a non-profit development company. It does this work by harnessing expertise and resources from member organizations.

SPRE’s 15 member organizations provide access to a vast array of services: direct and indirect expertise, funding, connections, and support. SPRE itself has only one staff member and does not fund projects nor own property.

“Fundamental to both the success of SPRE and the creation of social purpose real estate is the understanding that it takes many partners, including government, the private sector, and the non-profit sector, to solve the space crisis,” says Gijssen. “It is important to focus beyond the short term and to avoid creating silos or divisions that waste time and resources. This is where SPRE has been so successful—in bringing together diverse member groups for effective and efficient action.”

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Download Summer 2019

To read more about the collaborative’s work, see Gijssen’s “Making an Impact with Social Purpose Real Estate” in the Summer 2019 edition of Input. Download Summer 2019

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