The Government of Alberta, through the Creative Partnerships Alberta initiative, announced on Thursday, April 28 that it has granted $1.75M over four years to United Way of Calgary and Area to scale the offerings of The Social Impact Lab to all non-profits in Alberta.

United Way of Calgary and Area, in collaboration with local strategic design firm J5, developed The Social Impact Lab, a physical and digital space where United Way agency partners, government, donors, businesses, community members, and corporate volunteers can come together to find solutions for complex social issues in new and innovative ways. Located in the heart of downtown Calgary, The Social Impact Lab is a platform to research, create, and test new services and business models, while creating capacity for partners to deliver supports and services in the community.

Social Impact Lab Alberta will teach innovation and design-thinking practices to non-profit organizations and engaged citizens across Alberta using both Western and Indigenous methodology. Its virtual Inspire Program provides participants with coaching and mentorship from social innovation experts to help build participants’ social innovation knowledge and skills and accelerate the progress of social impact initiatives.

The goal is to create new solutions for pressing civil society issues, and contribute to developing a strengthened and transformed social innovation ecosystem as well as enhanced capacity building for individual organizations in civil society.

“Through The Social Impact Lab, we have seen that when we are able to bring people together – from people with knowledge of social issues, to others who have ideas on how to address them in the long-term, great things can happen,” says Karen Young, President and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area. “We’re thrilled that with the Government of Alberta, and numerous partners including other United Ways, we can help facilitate this for other changemakers across the province.”

United Way of Calgary and Area has partnered with United Way Capital Region and United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta to establish regional hubs for Social Impact Lab Alberta.

“Unique challenges caused by the pandemic are requiring that we all explore new ways of approaching social issues,” says Rob Yager, President & CEO of United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. “We are so pleased to support this initiative, which will bring new approaches and learning opportunities to non-profits across Alberta.”

“The United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta and its local partners are thrilled to be part of this opportunity to engage in social innovation,” says Janelle Marietta, Executive Director, United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta. “By leveraging the United Way network and collectively focusing our efforts on social recovery, we hope to build effective solutions to social issues we are seeing both locally and across the province.”

As part of the first year of the program, Social Impact Lab Alberta is calling on non-profit organizations and social impact-focused individuals from across the province to reach out with their innovative ideas and get the conversation started. Check out the video below. To learn more, visit