The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (SPC) is a non-profit membership-based organization committed to providing leadership in social planning and effecting social policy changes. The SPC works with diverse communities, including policy-makers, funding agencies, service providers, ethno-cultural and Aboriginal groups, and the general public in Winnipeg to:
Identify and assess community issues, needs, capacities, and resources,
Develop and promote policy and program options to policy-makers,
Support community groups and the voluntary human service sector in their activities,
Raise community awareness of social issues and service delivery alternatives, and
Facilitate collaboration among government, business, labour, and community groups.
The SPC has been working in partnership on the development, implementation, evaluation and coordination of community projects for over 90 years in Winnipeg. Collaborative partnerships, capacity building and community development approaches currently govern Social Planning Council’s approach to its mandate.
In November of last year, the Board of Directors approved a set of Strategic Directions.
For the next two years, the SPC will:
Provide leadership in addressing social issues, through research leading to action that fosters social justice,
Help create understanding of social issues and needs based on education, information and communication related to building community,
Facilitate and mobilize public engagement in addressing social issues leading to improve social justice,
Help increase and fairly distribute the wealth of society, as a basis for a caring, just and inclusive community, and
Build on the knowledge, capacity and strengths of citizens in addressing the issues that undermine community and social cohesion.
The organization is governed by a 15 member Board of Directors and has about 150 active members. A staff of six is located in Winnipeg’s centre. Major core funding for SPC comes from the United Way of Winnipeg.
The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (SPC) was founded in the social upheaval preceding the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. A group of citizens came together to identify and address the problems of a society undergoing rapid change. They formed the Community Welfare Council, precursor of the SPC and one of the first social action groups in Canada created to come to grips with unprecedented change in a major city.
Today, Winnipeg and SPC face new tensions and needs. Frozen social assistance rates, child and family poverty, inner-city education, housing and homelessness, mental health and disability issues, and crime prevention and social development are only some of the challenges that the SPC is addressing in the second decade of the 21st century.
Non-partisan, rich in social science and human resources, the SPC is ideally situated as a vehicle for citizens to explore and assess controversial issues, bring new information into public debate and help form a public consensus around progressive solutions.
Much has changed in Winnipeg since 1919. Much more will change in this new century. How we shape and manage change; how we resist change when it is necessary to do so; how well we respond to the challenges and fulfill the opportunities inherent in change: These are the measures of a healthy community.
Today we face an array of complications which threaten the social and economic health of our community. The challenges of race relations, immigration, discrimination, gang violence, unemployment and under-employment, Aboriginal participation in society, economic inequality, and the effects of global security issues on Canadians of foreign origin will persist into the future. If we are to change for the better, it will be because we have provided the community with relevant data and invited them to dialogue, deliberate and act on the issues of the day. Providing the community with data, a place to discuss important issues, and a springboard to launch a action is what makes the SPC unique.
The SPC is ideally situated within the community to gather citizens and groups together to explore issues and provide policy-makers with alternative solutions based on lived experience and grassroots discussion. The SPC endeavours to bring previously unheard voices to the table and in so doing help to enrich the public debate and facilitate the building of action oriented solutions.
Leah Gazan, President
– Aboriginal Studies Professor, U of W
Glenn Michalchuk, 1st Vice President
– Union Organizer
Paula Keirstead, 2nd Vice President
– Low Income Advocate
Cindy Gilroy-Price, Treasurer
– Political Assistant
– Aboriginal Youth Counsellor
– Low Income Advocate
– Nursing Professor, U of M
Hon. John Harvard
– Retired Journalist, Politician
– University Student
– Community Development Coordinator
– Foster Parent
– Non-Profit Agency Manager