I want to start with a huge thank you to the Tamarack Community for all the wonderful comments and well-wishes as I retired from the Co-CEO role at Tamarack. We are a remarkable community and it has been a privilege to give leadership to co-founding and growing the community with all of you.
The Tamarack board asked me to write a short article to share what I am doing now and will be doing, and to reflect on future hopes for the institute and the community development sector. Here are some questions they wanted me to consider.
Tell us about your ongoing relationship with Tamarack
I will not be returning to Tamarack, but instead I'll bring support in different ways. I have promised to support the board, Liz Weaver, and Danya Pastuszek (Tamarack’s Co-CEOs) in any way I can going forward. Though we had originally planned for me to return to Tamarack part time this fall I felt it would provide more flexibility for all of us if I were to branch out on my own and work as an independent while still supporting Tamarack through pro-bono work as Co-Founder.
What are some things you are currently working on?
I have finished my 5th book called Breakthrough Community Change. A Guide to Creating Common Agendas That Change Everything. It will be released in April of 2023 through Berrett Koehler publishing, and I will be on tour promoting the book for the next year. Tamarack will also be promoting the book, and I will be involved with them in a variety of ways.
I plan to teach and coach communities that are embarking on large-scale change initiatives and facilitate large-scale community conversations. I have been active in my local community of Kitchener-Waterloo and have responded to requests.
I have been in discussion with a variety of organizations in my local community of Kitchener Waterloo to start programs that will provide multi-sector solutions between private companies, charities and people with lived experience of poverty. My passion is to create opportunities that support whole community change and to tackle the root causes of poverty.
What do you do when you are not working?
- I love to garden vegetables and fruit. My highlights this year are a 100-bulb garlic bed, a three sisters garden with corn, squash and beans and I am also growing 5 different kinds of hot peppers.
- I love canning and preserving food for family and friends. My goal this year is to can 200 jars of produce. I also dry herbs and vegetables and am just starting to learn the art of fermenting.
- I love to cook for families and friends and will reach out to local charities to host fundraising dinners. Currently, I am obsessed with cooking the perfect Paella.
- I love going for walks, taking hikes and being active as much as possible.
What is your hope for the Tamarack Community?
Tamarack has built a large and loyal learning community. We may actually be the largest learning community of our kind in the country. We have built a strong financial model and have significant reserves that will help us to innovate. Most importantly, we have invested in creating a diverse and talented leadership team. Tamarack has an amazing board, effective Co CEO’s and a team of directors and managers that are dedicated and super talented. We have worked together to agree on a 10-year plan to direct our future.
Of course, I have many hopes — more than I could possibly share in this article but here are three.
We have created a model for communities to tackle some of their most pressing problems. This model is reducing poverty, improving the lives of young people, tackling climate change and deepening a sense community in nearly 500 cities in Canada and beyond. This approach will continue to grow and become more popular over the next ten years. Canada will become a more equitable and peaceful country because of this work. This excites me the most — it's why I wrote the book Breakthrough Community Change. The book will provide a guide to this methodology so that it can more easily be implemented by communities around the world.
Now in her 13th year at Tamarack, Liz has grown the digital capacity of Tamarack to provide learning opportunities. This platform provides endless opportunity for the Tamarack learning community to access the knowledge they need in a convenient and cost-effective way. I am super excited to see the potential of this platform.
The board and staff of Tamarack have worked really hard in the past three years to consider ideas of equity and inclusion. Danya brings impressive experience in this area, and I feel that Tamarack is more committed than ever to give leadership in this space. I deeply value this direction and feel our entire team is committed to developing outcomes that create great communities for all.
If you had three wishes for the community sector as a whole, what would they be?
Wow, what a question! I would give anything for such a wish. This is easy because my wishes have been the ideas to which I have dedicated my life.
Canada can end poverty. We are so close. Just about every major urban community has a poverty strategy. Most provinces have a strategy, and the federal government has one too. Poverty has been on a steady decline, and in 2020 we recorded an unprecedented poverty rate below 7%. $10 day care, the full implementation of the worker tax benefit, a guaranteed income supplement for people with disabilities when fully implemented will drive the poverty rate down. I will share more optimism at a later date, but this is dream I know will come true in my lifetime.
My hope for all people in Canada is to feel a sense of belonging and that no one would feel lonely for very long. I hope that as a country we value the importance of deepening a sense of community for everyone. When we feel that we are loved, it causes us to care for others and motivates us to actively participate in our community. My wish is that love will go viral and infect all Canadians in a way that causes us to care for each other in unprecedented ways so that our mental and physical health thrives.
I dream about communities collaborating across sectors and across race, gender , sexual orientation and religion. My experience is that when people learn to work together, they can change the circumstances of their entire community. I wish for breakthrough community change “that changes everything” and in turn will make Canadian cities and neighbourhoods the most livable in the world. In reality, I wish this for communities throughout the world.
I end most of my emails with the words much joy. I use these words to remind myself everyday that we can live in a world of joy if we collectively commit to creating communities that are great places for us all. I feel so privileged for the many years I was able to express my joy at Tamarack and for the wonderful transition that Tamarack has provided for me.
Thank you all so much!
Learn more about Paul Born
Learn more about Community Conversations and Deepening Community, written by Paul Born
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