Job posting for a Participatory City Development Manager

The McConnell Foundation is hiring for a new position, Participatory City Development Manager. The role will be part of the Cities for People ecosystem and reports to the Program Director for city initiatives at McConnell. It will involve working closely with the UK-based Participatory City Foundation and with multi-sectoral teams in at least three Canadian cities.

The Participatory City Development Manager will help lead the development phase (“Social R&D”) of a new initiative, Participatory City Canada. The successful candidate will also be part of a wider, dynamic team at McConnell that is co-creating innovative and scalable approaches to address, at the systems level, some of our toughest challenges — from the climate crisis to rising inequality and declining public trust.

Title: Participatory City Development Manager

Supervisor: Program Director, City Initiatives

Location: Montreal (other locations may be considered)

Application Deadline: 14 December 2019 at 11:59pm EST

Starting date: 15 January 2020 (or as soon as possible)

Position Type: Full time, until 31 March 2021 (with possibility for extension)

Compensation: Commensurate with experience plus a generous benefits package

Please apply here:

Interviews will be conducted on 17, 18 and 19 December 2019 (in person in Montreal or virtually)

The Participatory City Canada initiative is co-funded by the McConnell Foundation and Employment and Social Development Canada as part of the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program, and in cooperation with Participatory City Foundation, UK.

About the McConnell Foundation

Headquartered in Montreal, and with staff in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, the McConnell Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation that supports efforts across Canada to build a more inclusive and resilient society, and which fundamentally values building a culture of social innovation and Indigenous reconciliation. For the decade of transition ahead, 2020-2030, McConnell will focus on a set of common goals associated with: transition to an equitable low-carbon economy; reconciliation and social inclusion; community wellbeing and civic engagement; and tools for social innovation, social finance and system change.

About Participatory City Foundation

Participatory City Foundation is a London (UK) based charity. It has been developing a new inclusive, system-based approach to stimulating and supporting dense networks of practical ‘participation culture’ in cities around the world.

Neighbours from diverse backgrounds co-creating thousands of new opportunities to spend time together in the same spaces is a key building block for creating regenerative neighbourhoods we all want to live in.

Participatory City is working with thousands of local residents to co-create a large living prototype of such a connected and productive neighbourhood in Barking and Dagenham, East London. Now in its third year of growing the Participatory Ecosystem, working with 5000+ people, the model has compelling evidence of its positive impacts to people participating and to their neighbourhoods and planet. It now is entering a new phase that will see Participatory City work in collaboration with many important partners  to start propagating and adapting large scale initiatives with the same approach in other places in the world.


The Participatory City Development Manager will advance the Social R&D phase of a new initiative in at least three cities in Canada, and will build partnerships, manage grants and contracts, and facilitate learning within and between the city collaboratives.

About the Investment Readiness Program

The Investment Readiness Program (IRP) is a 2-year $50 million pilot program by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) designed to help advance Social Innovation and Social Finance in Canada by building on existing supports to help catalyze community-led solutions to persistent social and environmental challenges. The IRP is providing investments to support a broad range of social purpose organizations (SPOs) in improving their capacity and ability to participate in the social finance market, access new investment and contract opportunities, and support them throughout the innovation cycle.

The Social R&D Program is one of several Ecosystem Mobilization Initiatives intended to help SPOs to become more investment-ready. More information can be found here


The successful candidate will gain hands-on experience working for a leading Canadian philanthropic foundation in the development phase of a new initiative. The Participatory City Development Manager is an opportunity to play a key role in a systems change initiative that aims to build a new kind of ‘social infrastructure’ at neighbourhood and city scale, which is radically inclusive and invites all people to take part in co-creating the city through practical activities and peer-to-peer learning. The initiative will be designed based on the Every One Every Day neighbourhood demonstration model in London, UK, and will be adapted to local contexts. In Canada, the local partnerships will be developed in close collaboration with public sector leaders, Indigenous groups and other civil society partners, and others who choose to invest in the mission.

This is a full-time position until 31 March 2021. The schedule is generally Monday to Friday, typically 9:00 to 5:00 with flexibility in terms of start and finish times. There will be some weekends and travel involved in this position.

Main responsibilities include:

  • Engage with key stakeholders, prospective partners and others, to advance the development phase of Participatory City Canada and in keeping with McConnell’s strategic priorities.
  • Effectively collaborate with the Program Director, McConnell and Participatory City Foundation colleagues, and city-based teams to ensure prompt and effective analysis of all partner requests.
  • Manage grants and contracts by accompanying partners in their development, strategy and network building.
  • Contribute to Foundation-wide strategic learning and program / operational improvements.
  • Undertake research and development activities, including outreach to potential partners.
  • Participate in the design and implementation of convening activities.
  • Manage relationships with partners.
  • Support program evaluation and reporting.
  • Undertake general program staff functions, including correspondence, scheduling, and preparing expense reports.
  • Support McConnell and local Participatory City teams in advancing reconciliation efforts.

Skills and attributes

  • Fluent in written and spoken English; functional in written and spoken French.
  • Superior interpersonal skills with colleagues and partners of diverse backgrounds and sectors.
  • Demonstrated experience in working directly with people in their neighbourhoods and at senior city or policy level.
  • Experience of developing large projects through growing networks of understanding and partnership, across a wide range of disciplines and sectors, e.g. social, public and academic.
  • Demonstrated project management abilities, strong multi-tasking and organizational skills.
  • Intellectual curiosity and openness to change are essential.
  • A clear commitment to working through a range of participatory methods, and an openness to new ideas and models.
  • Flexibility of approach and the ability to work as a self-sufficient member of a team.
  • Self-awareness about strengths and areas for growth.
  • A high level of professionalism and integrity.
  • Availability and willingness to travel.
  • We encourage Indigenous candidates to apply.

The following knowledge and experience will be considered an asset

  • Knowledge of social innovation, systems change and/or social finance.
  • Experience in and knowledge of the public sector, the private sector, and/or civil society.
  • Experience with facilitation and organization of convenings.
  • Understanding of Indigenous knowledge systems.
  • Experience working in diverse cultural contexts.



For more information

The McConnell Foundation:

Cities for People:

Participatory City Foundation:

Every One Every Day: