Case Study of the University of Winnipeg Community Renewal

This case study shows how one Canadian urban university levered both its real-estate and procurement power to achieve significant social impact in the community in which it is located


In early 2018, Jackson and Associates was contracted by the University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) and the McConnell Foundation to prepare a detailed case study of the 15-year history of the Corporation. A non-profit, charitable organization, UWCRC built more than $200 million worth of green, social real estate projects on and off campus in downtown Winnipeg, leasing space to local non-profits and galleries as well as small private businesses, and opening facilities to community use. Among its innovations was a mixed-income, mixed-use residential tower which offers affordable housing as well as premium and middle-income units—a model which the Corporation seeks to replicate at several other sites. At the same time, together with a local non-profit, UWCRC incubated and grew a unique social enterprise that provides healthy, affordable food on and off the University of Winnipeg campus. With an annual business volume of $3 million, Diversity Food Services employs about 100 workers, many of them new Canadians and Indigenous peoples, and is one of Canada’s most successful social businesses.


In late 2018, the summary report and full report of the case study, entitled “Catalyst for Sustainability”, were published jointly by the McConnell Foundation and the UWCRC.   These publications have been cited in professional and academic articles on municipal finance, social finance and campus-community engagement.  The reports can be accessed here

In early 2019, under the auspices of Carleton University and a new network, Community Campus Engage Canada, the case study was discussed by UWCRC’s Managing Director in a webinar on post-secondary institutions and social infrastructure.  A video recording of the hour-long webinar can be accessed here