Pillar was heartened to join with so many Londoners at last week's Public Participation Meeting of Council's Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee to comment on the City of London's draft strategic plan for 2023-2027.
We are encouraged that the draft plan includes among its expected results, that "small and growing businesses, entrepreneurs and non-profits are supported to be successful." However, as Interim CEO Maureen Cassidy noted in her remarks to committee members, the draft strategies attached to that result include no measures targeted to supporting nonprofit organizations. She proposed four strategies to strengthen London’s nonprofit sector so that, together with other members of the community, we can continue to meet our challenges from a position of strength:
- Collaborate with nonprofits and other stakeholders to develop a local workforce strategy.
- Adjust the Community Grants Program to allocate more funding towards core operating expenses.
- Advocate to other levels of government to address the root causes that drive the demand for nonprofit services.
- Collaborate with nonprofit organizations and businesses to re-boot and boost local volunteering.
We also proposed that support for volunteerism could be included as a draft strategy in expected result 1.2 - Londoners have a strong sense of belonging and sense of place. The committee included this suggestion in the draft plan that will be reviewed by Council on March 28 before a formal vote on April 4.
In her opening remarks, Maureen Cassidy thanked the City for giving a place of prominence to Reconciliation, Equity and Inclusion as the first Strategic Area of Focus and, especially, for acknowledging the 13 municipal-focused Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.
We were also supportive of a previous delegation on February 28 by Graham Henderson of the London Chamber of Commerce seeking greater recognition of arts and culture in the draft strategic plan. A strengthened Arts & Culture sector advances the transformational economic and social recovery work happening across all sub-sectors. We’re thrilled to support this advocacy effort. As the Chamber has reported, many of their proposed changes have been adopted into the draft:
- Adding the London Chamber of Commerce and Pillar Nonprofit to the list of mentioned key service partners of the City.
- Including as one of the expected results that London is a regional center that proactively attracts and retains talent, business, and investment.
- Including as one of the strategies that we must use existing and create new assets in creative ways that support London’s profile as a destination for arts, culture, sport, and recreation.
- Making the language of the plan more inclusive in order to encompass more industries and sectors of the business and cultural communities.
The text of Pillar's remarks was circulated to all council members in advance of the meeting, and we will continue to monitor the strategic plan process through its last stages of review and adoption. You can read Pillar's full remarks at Strategies to support local nonprofits: Pillar's comments on the City of London Draft Strategic Plan.