Tamarack Institute | Future Search
Over 18 months, Tamarack engaged more than 100 people—including our network members, staff, and board—to understand how Tamarack can best support communities to make deep and lasting change. The result of that effort is not a traditional ten-year plan, but instead a strategic framework which is organized around the north star of Tamarack’s vision and mission. It is an ambitious ten-year goal to make communities the drivers of transformational change, and a list of priorities and principles to guide the board, staff, and partners on the steps to get there.
We hope this plan excites you. For us it validated “who” we are as an organization and affirmed what we believe. It highlighted the need for us to do more for youth and that we must make the work of supporting cities as they navigate climate change a priority. This past year has taught us that we can no longer only talk about reducing poverty we must talk about ending poverty and the inequity and racism that is so much a part of the problem.
Over the next 10 years, Tamarack aims to contribute to an accelerated and dramatic shift in citizen-driven, place-based approaches to addressing complex challenges and improve community well-being at scale. We want communities to be recognized as the integral drivers of change and critical in building strong and inclusive societies.
Tamarack Institute hosted a photo contest asking Canadian youth to tell us what their communities are going to look like in 2030. We wanted to know their fears and hopes. We received over 100 submissions from youth across Canada.
As the board prepares to consider the next 10 years of Tamarack’s impact, we want to capture the role our business model and financial management has played in our success. We want to ask two questions:
We reviewed 11 years of audits to determine where our revenue came from and how we spent our money.
The Tamarack Vision is to build a connected force for community change. Our Mission is to collaboratively create vibrant communities by engaging learning leaders. We believe that when we are effective in strengthening community capacity to engage citizens, lead collaboratively, deepen community and reduce poverty, our work will contribute to the building of a more equitable, prosperous, and peaceful society.
The Tamarack Learning Centre contributes to the mission by developing and publishing online tools, papers and resources for our network of almost 30,000 learners. The Learning Centre also hosts virtual and face to face webinars, training sessions and workshops. Over the past several years, the Learning Centre has also provided coaching and consulting services to our learning community.
Communities Building Youth Futures (CBYF) is designed to help achieve the mission of Tamarack by designing and supporting 13 small to medium-sized communities across Canada in building cross-sector leadership tables to address issues which prevent youth from successfully completing high school and transitioning to post-secondary education, training or employment. The CBYF is designed to build youth and community capacity by enabling them to lead collaboratively. It will also tackle some of the root causes of poverty as education is a noted pathway out of poverty.
In 2018, Tamarack received funding from Employment and Social Development Canada to increase our innovative role bringing together knowledge and practice and strengthening community capacity. As part of this funding, Tamarack engaged Mark Cabaj, a developmental evaluator, to support Learning Centre and Vibrant Communities staff in identifying evaluation questions and engaging in agile evaluation sprints to determine the scope and impact of our work.
As part of the Developmental Evaluation, an external evaluation was conducted as a key input to Tamarack's strategic planning activities in April 2020. The evaluation was focused on what could be learned from past activities and member and learner engagement that could inform the future direction of Tamarack.
You can review the key reports from this process below:
Future Search is a facilitated process to reflect on the past, make sense of current activities, and plan for the future. To get a range of perspectives, Tamarack invited three different groups—the Tamarack board, Tamarack staff, and Cities Reducing Poverty members—to participate in this process. The results are a key input for Tamarack’s 10-year strategic planning as it provides important lessons about Tamarack’s role and insights into where Tamarack should move in the future.
You can also access each section of the Report below:
Access the PowerPoints from the Future Search discussion: