January 2018 marks the start of a new phase for the Edmonton Community Development Company with the start of the organization’s new executive director, Mark Holmgren.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more qualified candidate to fill this challenging role in an organization that is working to revolutionize approaches to mitigating poverty in Edmonton,” Martin Garber-Conrad, President of ECDC says. “The selection committee was most impressed with the range and depth of his community economic development activities and with his experience actually building complex and functional structures to meet community needs.”
Most recently, Holmgren was a Director at Tamarack Institute where, he led a team supporting 60 member-communities in the Vibrant Communities Network. Before that, he led Bissell Centre, developing an eviction prevention program and its Outreach Housing Team. He also led the redevelopment of Bissell’s Thrift Shoppe into a profitable social enterprise with annual revenue of nearly a million dollars.
Earlier in his career, Mark worked with United Way of Alberta Capital Region in various roles and led the development of Operation Friendship’s multi-use facility. His consulting clients have included: the Collective Impact Initiative, Mohawk Tribal Nation in Quebec, Poverty Reduction Planning for Grande Prairie and MacEwan University.
Holmgren is a prolific writer and teacher in traditional as well as new media on topics including: community innovation, upside down thinking, and collaboration.
“We knew it was a challenging position requiring a special set of skills,” Garber-Conrad says. “Mark brings us the front-line community economic development (CED) experience as well as the ability to think and plan strategically. The fact that he has actually envisioned and built successful multi-million dollar projects gives us confidence that he can deliver.”
The ECDC was one outcome of the City’s End Poverty Edmonton (EPE) work of the past two years and was authorized and funded by action of City Council with the support of Edmonton Community Foundation, The United Way and Homeward Trust to contribute to EPE’s mission of ending poverty in Edmonton in a generation. ECDC’s mandate is to use community economic development and social purpose real estate to improve conditions in some of Edmonton’s most challenged neighbourhoods.
We at SEF especially look forward to our role in supporting the work of ECDC through $10M in debt financing, provided by the Edmonton Community Foundation. Plus, ECDC will be our new neighbours downstairs at 9613 11 Ave. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Mark!