The Meaning & Purpose of Community Investment!

By Jocelyne Daw

83704ace1a04644b065d34921c2df108Mount Royal University Launches New Community Investment Certificate

This past year I had the privilege of overseeing the development of a new community investment certificate for Calgary-based Mount Royal University. The certificate course will be offered online and will be open to students from any sector and will be available across Canada.

Today community investment (CI) is a key business function for corporate Canada. An effective CI strategy aligns with a corporation’s business goals and positively contributes to the communities in which it operates.  The goal of the course is to help professionals understand the essentials of corporate community investment and the role of the non-profit and community sector in a company’s CI program. It will teach students how to design and execute a company’s CI strategy effectively and efficiently in a way that promotes and builds its brand, inspires its employees and enhances the community.

The certificate includes four courses – The Purpose and Meaning of Community Investment; The Non-profit and Community Landscape; Designing a Community Investment Strategy and Program; and Implementing the Community Investment Strategy.

Why a course?

A company is not outside of society.  Today companies are expected to be fully participating members with rights and duties, a corporate citizen. As a member of society, a company has community responsibilities for not just making profits but for giving back to society and contributing in a meaningful and relevant way.

The world of community investment (CI) is changing. CI now means creating for social and business value. This requires an integrated approach that is aligned to the business strategy, engages staff from across multiple business functions and ensures that a program provides value back to the business as well as the community.

CI inspires employeesCorporateCitizen_article

CI creates pride in how a company is investing and involving itself in important community issues, especially ones that are relevant to the employees and the business.  CI programs should also include an employee component – by providing matching grants to employee donations and by supporting or even organizing employee volunteering.

Open to all sectors and corporate functions

The program has been designed for professionals with 0 – 5 years of experience working with companies and their community investment programs.  The program is unique in that it is open to anyone from any sector (corporate, government, non-profit) from anywhere in Canada (or even the world!).

Students could be from the corporate sector and be responsible for their company’s program.  It could also include others from the company who are somehow involved in community investment as it relates to their work e.g. Human Resources (and employee volunteering), marketing and communications (cause marketing, sponsorship, brand building through community involvement) etc.  It could also include people from the nonprofit sector who want to better understand the community investment world and the needs of companies.  As well, it could include private foundations and government who are responsible for grant making for their organizations.

Key learning

The online courses will provide the tools and resources to help build strategic CI programs.  It will use a variety of approaches to learning including: recorded lectures and other videos, readings, facilitated online class discussion and presentations, case studies, and self-reflection.  All students will actively participate and contribute their experiences, ideas and questions.   Students taking the course will:

  • Learn how to support and facilitate community prosperity through a strategic approach and accompanying actions;
  • Develop the skills necessary to lead a CI program that helps to address social issues, environmental sustainability and/or cultural vitality;
  • Have a full understanding of what is required to design and implement a strategic CI program for a company and how to work with community organizations in the most effective way to deliver value and impact for both the company and the community.

I will be teaching the first course, “The Purpose and Meaning of Community Investment” which starts September 28, 2015. It’s not too late to sign up. For more details, please visit:

Bonus: Building a Community Investment Brand
Community investment professionals must embrace a brand mindset that demonstrates what the company stands for in the community. For more details see my blog “Why Every Community Investment Program Needs a Brand”.