United Way of York Region and York University have launched Change Inc., a collaboration that will incubate and invest in promising innovations to tackle complex social issues and build capacity in York Region.
Daniele Zanotti, CEO of United Way, and Stan Shapson, vice-president research & innovation at York University, made the announcement at Deloitte & Touche’s head office in Vaughan as part of United Way Week, Oct. 4 to 8.
Left: Daniele Zanotti
“We are proud to announce Change Inc. − a critical strategy in United Way’s impact agenda − in collaboration with York University and our advisory group of business leaders,” said Zanotti. “For our region to be great for all residents, we need a new infrastructure to incubate ideas and shift the way we solve social problems.”
Right: Stan Shapson
“Change Inc. is transformative for York University, for United Way and for capacity building in our community,” said Shapson. “Change Inc. will provide seed funding, space and support services to social innovators and entrepreneurs. It will provide better access to York University’s research, graduate students and the programs − such as knowledge mobilization − that support their work with the region. It will match social innovators with business-leader mentors. This approach advances and broadens York University’s innovation agenda, builds on our strong partnership with United Way, and engages York Region’s corporate leaders in social innovation, which is a persistent gap in Canada’s innovation agenda.”
Change Inc. will work with its Innovation Advisory Board, established in June, to actively develop a sustainable strategy. Co-chaired by Zanotti and Shapson, its current members include:
- Charles Beer, board chair, United Way of York Region.
- Anthony Gallo, vice-president, Social Media, Open Text
- Pat Horgan, vice-president, Manufacturing, Development & Operations, IBM
- Debora Kelly, editor-in-chief, York Region Media Group
- Young Park, sector vice-president, CGI
- Avi Pollock, head, Applied Innovation & Strategic Planning, RBC
“Change Inc. builds on the United Way’s Strength Investments announced earlier this week,” said Zanotti. “Together with our current program funding, Strength Investments and Change Inc. provide a continuum of support for people, groups and agencies doing good work across York Region.”
Information about Strength Investments is available on the United Way website.
“Congratulations to United Way, York University and the business advisory board for disrupting the status quo with the announcement of Change Inc. − an opportunity to research, try and scale new ideas to address social challenges,” said Lorrie King, partner, Deloitte & Touche and member of the 2010 United Way Campaign Cabinet.
Over the coming months, Change Inc. will announce its office location and release information about a community innovation summit, pilot projects and funding opportunities.