The 215 Centre for Social Innovation

In 2003, Margie Zeidler, Tonya Surman, Patrick Tobin and Eric Meerkamper started imagining what could be accomplished by combining social innovation and shared workspaces. At the time, Margie was finishing renovations of the Robertson Building at 215 Spadina Avenue, and had a 5,000 square foot space that she thought might serve as a community workspace. Together, they created this concept note to share with others. Initially called “The 215 Centre for Social Innovation”, this simple 5-page document laid the foundation of what would be come the Centre for Social Innovation — a nonprofit with an enterprise revenue model. CSI was novel, nebulous and new, and initially perceived as very risky. It’s now the example for other, with four locations in Toronto, and one in New York City.

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