October 28th Meeting Summary
Apologies as some of our CFP members did not receive the October meeting agenda, there was a technical mishap in which some members stopped receiving emails. This has now been corrected, all members will receive updates and monthly meeting invites.
The Changing the Face of Poverty Network is made up of a diverse group of organizations including non-profits, faith based, grass roots, society’s, community groups and concerned citizens. For the October meeting, we decided to explore sector strengthening and how to strengthen the work we do together. We invited Kristi Rintoul from United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo and JP Baker from Vantage Point to present on the sector strengthening work they are doing. Following, we heard from Robyn McLean on Non-Profit Capacity building and how this relates to discussions we have had at CFP meetings.
Kristi Rintoul shared about the sector strengthening work happening at United Way and how this work is evolving through the Xchange. Kristi spoke to the need to address the pressing issue of lack of non-profit capacity as a systemic issue. Through this work, the goal is to build non-profits strength so they have a greater impact on a ground level. This work involves looking deeper at why and how organizations can be sustainable. United Way hopes to better understand the needs of non-profits in the region and work with them to build capacity. There are common underlying beliefs about non-profits such as that they do not need capacity or they can do things for free, these beliefs are an ongoing challenge faced by non-profits. Often in this line of work, non-profits react instead of using strategy. This project will work to unravel the ways non-profits work throughout the region and how they can be better supported in achieving their mission.
JP Baker shared the on Changelink which came about amidst the pandemic in late spring 2020. JP saw that his clients had paused and needed time to deal with the right now. At this time JP connected with some individuals including Kristi to discuss what needs to be done to support non-profits at this uncertain time. This is when Changelink started, non-profits began meeting on a bi-weekly basis to discuss their needs, learn about what each other were doing and build capacity. It was identified at this time that some non-profits knew about each other’s work but over all non-profits were not familiar with each other's work.
JP Baker shared that he has worked as an independent consultant for over fifteen years and has recently joined the team at Vantage Point. At Vantage Point they want to support others in getting their needs met, they have had a growing commitment to advocacy and sector development. There is an increasing focus on advocacy and sector level research. Joyce Lin from Vantage Point joined JP and shared the work they have been doing in different regions of British Columbia. Through this work, Vantage Point identifies top priorities and needs to be shared with the federal government. These conversations focus on understanding what the sector is all about and having public interest not private. Currently, Vantage Point has free membership until the end of the year. Visit https://www.thevantagepoint.ca/ to learn more.
Robyn McLean then presented on Non-Profit Capacity Building. Robyn spoke to an assessment we are currently conducting on the non-profit sector, which aims to answer the question of “what are the needs, barriers and opportunities for the Non-Profit Sector in the Thompson-Nicola-Cariboo region?”. Capacity at an individual organization level and the non-profit sector level were reviewed, along with sector level collaboration and collective impact. Robyn then explored the ongoing challenge of “downstream” vs “upstream” and the risks associated with these approaches.
Robyn then reviewed A few areas that we have discussed in recent CFP meetings. Please see the full presentation here for highlights of challenges faced and needs within sector strengthening and suggestions next steps for increasing collaboration among organizations attending CFP.
Following we took time to reflect on the presentations and let ourselves feel whatever was coming up. Meeting attendees then began engaging in a Q & A, then a dialog about the deep seeded challenges our community members face and the need to act on poverty. One quote that stood out is:
“Don’t fight the poor, fight poverty”
A discussion then arose on the recent acts of NIMBYism on Columbia Street West regarding nuisance business status and nuisance property notices. The risk of eviction and ongoing stigma were discussed. Where are these people to go? What will happen to them if they are evicted? Alongside this view, the need to keep children safe and school environments safe must also be prioritized. So where do we go from here?
Who is responsible to make this change happen?
One meeting attendee shared that this work is hard and takes a long time. We gather to have tough conversations, but is change happening? How can we reduce poverty in Kamloops? How can we reduce stigma and educate the public? These types of questions are what we grapple with each day.
We then brought the group back for some final thoughts.
What are immediate next steps we can work on for moving from fighting the poor to fighting poverty?
· Making poverty an issue in our local government election coming up
· Increasing our focus on upstream issues, identifying them and addressing them.
·Decision makers need to be in the room. It's easy to make decisions that are disconnected from the effects when you don't have to face those who will bear the brunt of those decisions. I'd love to see a strategy come out of this group about how we get those folks here.
· A dedicated approach to serious advocacy that educates people about poverty and combats stigma
· Work together and stop blaming
· Keep the conversation going with friends, family, co-workers don't let people try to forget or ignore, it doesn't go away just because you're not looking
· Fighting the poverty vs. the poor is such a powerful way of communicating one of our main issues right now, that can potentially open up great conversations within the community. I imagine a public campaign using powerful wording and imaging as such.
We then touched on the future of CFP and where we go from here. The Elizabeth Fry Society will not be continuing their role as facilitators after KFPC’s term. The KFPC is looking into future funding opportunities for coordination of the CFP. We are planning to send out a survey to get feedback on how to make the CFP as effective as possible, and to understand whether members are able to contribute through administration or helping facilitate meetings. If there are meeting topics or people you would like to hear from at a meeting please let us know!
Service Provider Updates:
Nicole Mackie from Salty Fig Catering will be donating a full Christmas dinner. Please get in touch with her for more information C:604-290-4237 E:email@example.com
The Loop and Out of the Cold will start a collaboration starting Saturday November 7th till end of March - Aboriginal food meal drop in on Saturdays (3pm to 8pm) – (Indigenous food specific)
PIT Stop and Kamloops Reach will now be offering a weekly hot meal to go. Every Monday at 2:30 at Kamloops United Church (421 St.Paul)
Please visit www.kamloopschangingthefaceofpovetry.com to view these documents anytime.