RANACA (Summer Session)

On Saturday September 28th, Todd Hofley (Founder and President of the Liberty Village Residents’ Association), and Kim Bethke (Founder of the new Dovercourt Park Community Association) launched the The First Annual RANACA (Resident Association Neighbourhood Association Community Association)  symposium, where 2 representatives from all associations between Parkside Dr. and the Don Valley, Lakeshore to Dupont (32 associations) were invited to participate in discussions.
United by a belief that community associations throughout Toronto are an absolutely invaluable resource for the City and its residents, we were brought together and eviscerated siloes within our own boundaries.
Our Agenda in September:

1pm – Introductions and refreshments

1:30-2:30pm – Working Session 1:

A discussion on Internal structure and accountability. Across the city, what forms have RA/NA/CAs taken, what structures work best? Does a participatory leadership format work as well, or last as long as an elected board format? What value does a Constitution or By-laws apply? Which form works best with other agencies or local figures?

2:30-2:45 Break

2:45-3:45pm – Working Session 2:

Engagement and Results – Being a “Community Association” is about representing the community, how well are we doing? How big is your ratepayer’s association and how many actual people are engaged? What methods are most successful to improve community engagement? What are the best ways to measure outreach, or encourage “new blood” and continuous participation.

3:45-4pm – Final thoughts and thanks!


Big Ideas that came out of RANACA

COLLABORATION: RANACA brought together members from similar organizations to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and issues that face us. With CORRA as a touch point for policy issues impacting our city, RANACA became a United Nations of Communities that had a complementary focus to CORRA. Steve of the SLNA and Kim Bethke of DPCA   proposed to take the idea of “Sister Cities”  and apply it, allowing geographically, demographically, and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties and learn from each other.
If there is a cross town collaboration you would be interested in partnering with, please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. 

INCORPORATION: Half of the present associations were incorporated, and we heard a great deal regarding the value incorporation can provide. Incorporation of a RANACA appears to be the model to work towards as it improves fundraising abilities, “heft”, and protects members of the board from legal action. We discussed the difference between incorporation as a not-for-profit and Registered Charity. John from ABC RA offered some great case studies on incorporation and the successes it’s had within his organization.

FUNDRAISING: There were a tonne of interesting fundraising ideas – everything from securing $45K in funds from developers to working with film crews to secure location funding to funding and sponsorship models with “member buildings”. With the range across our city of high density and low density communities, RANACA gave insights into best practices for all types of communities. From our interactions, issue-based advocacy programs are a key component to low density engagement, while in higher density areas working with “member buildings” and piggybacking off of existing condo boards can be a great way to secure more engagement and participation. Membership strategies differed greatly, from the $0 membership of Grange to the $50/ 3 year membership with Cabbagetown. Other fundraising methods  are issue-based campaigns like Ossington’s indiegogo which fell just short of it’s goal, corporate sponsorship, and newsletter giving campaigns.
We also discussed HCDs, challenges of working with Boards, community activists, politicians, diversity issues, and election policies as well as outreach, protection, engagement, and business connection. A major outcome of our discussion was: we wanted to meet again! So, pencil in your daytimers March 1st of 2014 (Six months) and join us!

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