How We Work

How We Support Change

To bring about change at the necessary scale, we engage directly with social systems that have become dysfunctional or maladaptive, whether through rigidity, fragmentation or simply not working to full potential. We work with the many people and organizations that also seek change. Although we fund issue advocacy, we don’t stop there. Instead, we invite those with different viewpoints and diverse interests to come together with social innovators, other funders and investors, policy makers and so on, to co-create new solutions. We use this approach with all of the issue areas on which we work.

Re-designing systems calls for new financial arrangements, policy innovation, new relations between government, civil society and the private sector, equitable and effective engagement with affected populations, and alignment with values that foster social creativity and mutual respect.

Here are some of the roles we play in the change-making ecosystem in Canada:

Environment-header

Funder

Investor

Investor

Convener

Convenor

Environment-header

Funder

Funder

McConnell funds initiatives and partnerships that advance the common good, making grants to organizations and individuals focused on sustainable solutions to complex problems. Additionally, our Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is open to any organization that is proposing to scale up a promising solution, or that is introducing a new business model.

Investor

Investor

Investor

By inviting entrepreneurs, social enterprises, foundations, governments, mainstream investors, businesses and corporations to work with us on Solutions Finance, we seek to expand the available solution sets, reduce and share risk, and take certain initiatives to scale, in situations where granting alone is insufficient to effect change.

Convener

Convenor

Convenor

To promote and enable the kinds of cross-sectoral collaboration needed to realize extensive change at a generational scale, McConnell brings community organizations, foundations, governments and other stakeholders together to forge relationships built on shared vision and goals.

Capacity_builder

Capacity Builder

Advocate

Advocate

Strategic_partner

Strategic Learning Partner

Capacity_builder

Capacity Builder

Capacity Builder

To strengthen Canada’s nonprofit sector, we offer a variety of support to innovative organizations and individuals. This can mean providing learning opportunities, funding organizational restructuring in order to achieve scale or systems impact, or providing temporary staffing support.

Advocate

Advocate

Advocate

McConnell occasionally advocates for causes, supporting meaningful engagement of communities and individuals who may lack a seat at the policy table. Our role as a non-partisan actor gives us opportunities to collaborate with leaders in the public, philanthropic and private sectors.

Strategic_partner

Strategic Learning Partner

Strategic Learning Partner

We ask questions, challenge assumptions, and seek insights to improve our philanthropic practice and the impact of change initiatives. We act as a strategic partner, convener and co-creator, often helping bring new players and resources to invest in innovative social solutions.

Our Framework

We believe that unleashing innovation, creativity and experimentation is critical to solving society’s problems. But innovation alone isn't enough to achieve impact. With a whole-systems view that reveals the interconnections between organizational, sectoral and disciplinary silos, it is possible to design and implement actions that shift systems to produce better outcomes for people and communities.

Social innovation supported by such capacities will help us align many perspectives on a problem, see with fresh eyes, and then test, iterate and implement better responses to society’s toughest challenges.

Our Approach