Communities — The Philia Story
1993, a small group of Canadians began meeting to consider the question:
would it take to create in Canadian communities a genuine welcome
of marginalized people, an appreciation of the gifts of diversity
and a greater capacity to care?"
In 1997, with
the sponsorship of the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, we launched
a feasibility study in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, to
see if this vision was shared in other sectors of society. We wanted
to network with other people who believed in building vibrant, hospitable
overwhelming and positive—enough to inspire the McConnell Foundation
to contribute to our project for five years. The foundation recognizes
that while people on the margins of society are the most vulnerable,
they can also provide the spark for innovative change.
In June 1999,
a steering committee of thinkers, doers and innovators from across
the country began considering how to inspire vibrant, inclusive
communities. With an emphasis on innovation, respect for thoughtful
analysis and a belief that we can learn from human traditions, the
project took its name from the ancient Greek word for neighbourly
We believe there
are countless opportunities to enable people who have been marginalized
to flourish in dignity and take their place as full citizens.
We are taking
cues from a range of community activists and thinkers, examining
how changes in society reflect on culture and history. We are collecting
stories of a new way of living, to provide glimpses of a better
future. And we are developing consensus among influential in society
about how we can shape stronger, more vibrant communities.
Thank you to
the Directors and staff of the JW McConnell Family Foundation. www.mcconnellfoundation.ca
appreciate your support and encouragement.