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Forward Together: Georgian College and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka Aim to Redefine the Landscape of Community-Driven Innovation

Pictured above from left to right are Kevin Weaver, President of Georgian College, Jill Tettmann, CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, Nicole Norris, Director of Social Innovation at Georgian College, and Mira Ray, Executive Director of Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Georgian College.

Georgian College and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka made waves at the Research, Innovation, Scholarship and Entrepreneurship Symposium at Georgian on April 3 with an announcement aimed at reshaping community engagement and innovation. The two organizations revealed plans to co-create a Community Innovation Network – a first-of-its-kind initiative in the region.

Together, Georgian and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, along with other interested community organizations, will participate in a Future of Belonging lab in which the group will explore how various community services will maintain relevancy into the future, as well as how they can collaborate to cause change and bring agency to underrepresented groups.

“The goals we are working towards through our Future of Belonging lab are focused on creating new opportunities for community innovation that will have a lasting and positive impact, and also supports our Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship vision of being a driver of inclusive socio-economic growth within the region,” said Dr. Mira Ray, Executive Director, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Georgian.

Jill Tettmann, CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, echoed Dr. Ray’s sentiments. “We are thrilled to join forces with Georgian College on this effort. By harnessing the power of community collaboration, we aim to create new models of inclusive innovation that address the unique needs of our region. We invite other organizations to join us in co-creating this Community Innovation Network, as we work together to build a brighter future for all.”

The Community Innovation Network will build upon the ongoing collaboration between Georgian and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, including their joint exploration with Georgian’s Social Innovation Team on the Future of Belonging in rural communities. Through this project, they have identified a critical need for innovative solutions tailored to the unique challenges faced by community-building organizations like the YMCA.

As the project progresses, there will be numerous opportunities for community members to engage and participate, ensuring that the voices of all those we serve are heard and valued. Together, Georgian and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka aim to redefine the landscape of community-driven innovation, setting a new standard for collaboration and inclusivity in the process.

For more information about the Community Innovation Network or to get involved, visit

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