RELEASED: Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Many of us are familiar with at least some of the organizations in our city that focus on helping those in need. Whether it is housing, mental health, employment, education or any other necessity, Orillia has a strong network of resources and people willing to improve life and vibrancy in our city. What we sometimes forget is that there are also several key organizations that empower the work done by businesses, non-profits and individuals in pursuit of a sustainable and healthy community.

The Community Development Corporation (CDC) is one of these key organizations. The inputs and impact of the CDC is wide-reaching but can be summed up as follows: The CDC is a federally-funded non-profit organization which provides services that enrich the local economy through business coaching, professional development, financing and community economic development projects.

What does this concise summary of their work look like in real life? It means business services that range from funding to expert advice, professional development opportunities for local individuals and organizations, funding for community projects, training opportunities and many other positive supports and resources for our community.

Carol Benedetti is the community economic development co-ordinator for the CDC and a holds unique perspective on the organization and the many people that make use of its services. “(The CDC) helps in registering the business, information and resources and business loans. Businesses may also be looking for training and coaching around certain challenges or goals they want to achieve,” explains Benedetti.

The CDC dedicates time and resources to businesses of any size as well as non-profit community initiatives. “We also are contacted by community organizations and other partners to assist with projects that benefit the area economically.”

Connecting the work of community organizations to economic benefit can be a challenge for organizations but the CDC is able to shed light on and encourage these positive outcomes.

The CDC provides funding to locally as well through their Community Capacity Building Fund. The upcoming applications are to be submitted by Oct. 20. “The Community Capacity Building Fund provides grants to local businesses and organizations,” says Benedetti. The grants strengthen our community by supporting projects that build on an applicant’s existing initiatives or address a local need that will result in long-term benefits. This can include creating or maintaining employment, strengthening a business or organization, or strengthening our community.

The CDC is an example of an organization that provides essential resources to build a strong foundation for businesses, organization and programs within Orillia. Without it, we would not be able to lay claim to the incredibly active variety of social value that is created each day in our city. From job creation to start-up businesses to helping vulnerable parts of our population, the work of the CDC has a ripple effect that touches all of these aspects of our society and beyond.

“We act as a catalyst for economic development in our area,” says Benedetti. “Our dedicated volunteers on our board and committees bring a broad range of skill sets to the table and we have many strong community partnerships. We can assist in identifying and respond to community economic needs.”

Since the CDC began in 1984, they have been doing just that.

To find out more about funding, professional development, upcoming events or other resources offered by the CDC, email [email protected] or call 705-325-4903.

Source: Packet & Times