Special Feature

A Connected Force for Community Change

2020 AR Thumbnail

Ubuntu. I am, because we are.

This year, in recognition of COVID we are trying something new and presenting you an online version of our annual report. As we shared in the opening of the 10-year plan we completed this year and are launching in this report:

Tamarack exists because “you are”, our more than 34,000 learners and members. You live in more than 1,000 cities and communities in Canada and many more in the U.S. and around the world. The board and staff of Tamarack are as passionate about community change as each of you, and we are honoured to hold the space of learning and collaboration with you. You see us, you support us and validate that community and large-scale change is possible.

Nothing better explains our intention which is to be - A connected force for community change. The year 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of COVID – a time where we locked down our communities to co-exist safely. Thousands of people died in our communities and we endured endless suffering. But we also saw the best in humanity arise as we supported one another and flocked onto online spaces to connect and learn together. Tamarack responded in ways we never thought possible and as an organization grew in unprecedented ways.

In the midst of all this chaos Tamarack’s board continued work on our ten-year plan and are making Tamarack 2030 public in this our online annual report. As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary at Tamarack, we look both at our history and our future. We are excited about the next steps in Tamarack’s growth and impact.

Thank you for your ongoing support

Learn More:

Featured Case Study

Success in Collaboration: Community Health and Social Services Network

CHSSN Logo Square

In September 2020, the Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN) celebrated 20 years of leadership, community engagement and access to health and social services to English-language communities across Quebec. The core of the CHSSN approach is engaging community-based leaders to advance the social determinants of health through a Community Mobilization Model.

The Community Mobilization Model has two key goals: the improved health and well-being of citizens and improved community vitality. The 26 communities in the CHSSN network represent a diverse range of communities, large and small, and located in all parts of the province. CHSSNs focus on targeted populations including seniors, youth, children, families, and caregivers.
Support for Social Economy Businesses: The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for social economy businesses in Montréal. Given the importance of these community organizations, the city is providing them with financial assistance, free advisory services, training and psychological support.

The network of communities responded to COVID-19 by adapting their community connector role to remote working environments. They developed emergency programming, improved access to health and social services for members of their communities, increased access to food, and helped isolated community members connect virtually. The creatively and connection across the network enabled the leaders to pivot quickly. In the early days of the pandemic, CHSSN partners became recognized as an essential service. Many of the partners view the pandemic as an opportunity to solidify their role in the communities they serve.

Across both its 20 year history and the unique circumstances of serving the community during COVID-19, CHSSN has recognized 5 lessons for growing and sustaining a learning network:

1. Recognize that network leaders need support and training

2. Build a shared framework which describes the core work but allows for local inspiration

3. Strategically partner with anchor institutions like universities to create an evidence-based and validated leadership development approach

4. Maintain strong connections across the partners and support them to respond quickly to a crisis

5. Consider that negative events, such as a global pandemic, can also be leveraged to grow and strengthen the network and its impact

Learn More:

Feature Article

Tamarack 2030 PlanSupporting Citizen-Driven & Placed-Based Community Change: Our 10-Year Plan


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.Tamarack Strategic Planning Funnel Simple
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.

To Learn More:

Featured Event and Webinar


PRS Calgary Square UpdatedThe End of Poverty Virtual Gathering

Virtual Summit | May 5-6, 2021

Join us live online from Calgary for engaging plenaries, smaller group discussions and interactive workshops. You will be able to network with others who have lived/living experience of poverty, business leaders that are creating great jobs, government leaders at all levels changing policies, and not-for-profits doing incredible community-based work. We will also explore 14 pathways that have already reduced poverty for one million Canadians.

COVID-19 has reminded us just how important it is for Canada to end poverty and inequity. Join this gathering to be a part of an unprecedented opportunity to support the movement that is ending poverty in Canada and beyond.

We understand that these are challenging times, particularly with COVID-19. If you would like to attend the Summit but have financial barriers, please reach out to elle@tamarackcommunity.ca to secure a free seat.

Learn more and register

2020 Free Community Building Webinars SquareEvaluation for Transformative Change

April 9, 2021, featuring Michael Quinn Patton and Mark Cabaj

Transforming Evaluation for Evaluating Transformation examines the contributions that evaluation can make to addressing crises like the coronavirus pandemic, the global climate emergency, and related threats to human survival looming large in Earth’s future.

Join Michael Quinn Patton and Mark Cabaj as they explore the implications of these looming transformations for evaluation, including:

What is transformation? How do we do it? How do we evaluate it?

Learn more and register

Upcoming Events & Courses

Community Innovation 2021

Virtual Workshop 

April 13, 2021  | Register for the April Workshop | Limited Seats Remaining

At Tamarack, Community Innovation is considered the most impactful of the 5 practices of community change.

Join Sylvia Cheuy for a new virtual workshop designed to provide you an opportunity to explore key theories, tools, and approaches in the practice of Community Innovation and equip you with the knowledge you need to ensure that innovation is intentionally incorporated into your community change efforts. how the Community Engagement landscape is changing and evolving.

Learn more and register

Copy of 2021 Inno Save the Date


Evaluation for Transformative Change

A new 4-part virtual workshop | April 20, 22, 27, and 29, 2021 | Limited Seats Remaining

Join Michael Quinn Patton and Mark Cabaj for this new virtual workshop series and explore how evaluation can help drive – rather than hinder – transformative efforts to address complex topics like climate change, equity and human survival.

Evaluating transformation requires new ways of conceptualizing and conducting evaluations. This series will offer principles for global systems transformation as a framework for assessing the likely adequacy of an initiative or intervention to be transformative.

Learn More and Register

Copy of 2021 MQP Thumbnail


Communities Building Youth Futures

2021 Virtual Gathering | May 6-7, 2021

Join 400 attendees to create connections between communities, our National Collaborative, youth serving organizations, and learners to explore how

  • building youth futures is a critical step in ending poverty in Canada
  • create space for youth as changemakers
  • showcase emergent and innovative practices that build pathways to education and employment

Learn more and register

Featured image EN

Collaborative Governance and Leadership

Virtual Workshop 

June 3, 2021 | Register for the June Workshop

July 14, 2021 | Register for the July Workshop

Collaborative leadership and governance is about bringing the right people together, supporting them with good tools and practices, and engaging them to work collectively toward community outcomes.

Join Liz Weaver for a new virtual workshop designed to equip you to embed collaboration within your leadership and governance practices.

Learn more and register

2021 CLG Square


Foundations of Community Engagement

Online Course | Access course materials anytime and learn at your own pace

Join Tamarack's Lisa Attygalle, Director of Community Engagement to build a foundation of knowledge and practice for your community engagement work.

Through video lessons, case studies, readings, and activities, you'll dig into the role of community, who should be engaged, community engagement techniques, how to overcome challenges, and how to evaluate your engagement activities.

This course is available to use at your own pace, but you'll be learning alongside a diverse group of over 300 Tamarack Institute learners, and have the opportunity to join Lisa for monthly small group coaching to get more personalized feedback and insight.

Learn more and register

View the rest of our 2020/2021 Learning Calendar

2020 CE Foundations Square Black



Upcoming Free Webinars

Registration for our free community building webinars includes a recording of the live session, a copy of the slides, and a collection of links and resources.

Evaluation for Transformative Change

Date: April 9, 2021

Speakers: Michael Quinn Patton, with Mark Cabaj


Equity, Engagement, and Civic Leadership: How Does Your Community Rate?

Date: April 14, 2021

Speakers: David Chrislip, Patti Schmitt, and Liz Weaver


Culture, Collaboration, and Choice: A Values Approach

Date: April 28, 2021

Speakers: Russ Gaskin, Luzette Jaimes, and Liz Weaver


The Power of Place

Date: June 9, 2021

Speakers: Emily Sun, Jo Blundell, and Liz Weaver