Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a winner.


Victoria, CanadaVictoria, Canada
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

InclusionWorks! is an innovative model for inclusion of young adults with developmental disabilities based on community partnerships and family governance.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

It is becoming increasing evident that the agencies responsible for supporting adults with developmental disabilities will not have sufficient dollars to support them fully for community inclusion as is their right, Also many families want to take greater responsibility as partners with the sector. Coming together as asmall group creates economies of scale and avoids the threat of isolation that each could face on their own. Also existing programs do not necessary meet self-advocate’s goals and wishes. There were a few vacancies in traditional “day” programs and these support an aging population with different needs. Youths have been fully integrated during their years in the education system and fully expect (and deserve) this to continue in the transition to adulthood.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

To meet this need for true community inclusion for our young adults with developmental disabilities, a group of families came together over two years ago with an innovative approach - InclusionWorks! (IW). For a 5 year transition period, families agreed to pool Individualized Funding and other resources for greater self-sufficiency and quality, inclusive supports. IW promotes community inclusion through a family governance model by fostering natural, mutually beneficial partnerships with the educational, business, non-profit and government sectors. It: 1) Increases the inclusion of self-advocate youth in their communities by providing effective alternatives to traditional day programs, 2) Supports development of quality, individualized, active, inclusive programming focused on employment, lifelong learning, and well-being, 3) Creates economies of scale to leverage community resources, 4) Avoids the danger of isolation and provides peer and family support as a value-added outcome.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Research overwhelmingly indicates that the positive outcomes of Individualized Funding (IF) including higher satisfaction, increased individualization and feelings of control and empowerment. Yet take-up rates of IF in Canada and in other countries remain low due to individuals’ and families’ concerns about the time and skills needed to manage services and the potential greater isolation that can come with IF. As well, professionals in the field have concerns about some individuals’ abilities and their safety in a typical IF model, as well as how IF affects collective advocacy efforts for community services. The family-governance model proposed by InclusionWorks! answers many of these challenges. The model is one that not only pools funds, but pools expertise, experience, networks, and ideas while offering self-advocate and family support, high expectations, safety/dignity of risk, individualization, cultural competence, etc. In a very real way, family governance cuts through the concerns of those worried about IF as a “free market” of services by providing a collective model within the free market. The model also pools and leverages other financial and in-kind resources and this leveraging is greater through a collective model than for an individual whose networks, resources, and buying power are more limited. The model is values-based and develops community. Without physical walls, the InclusionWorks! model builds the capacity of the community to include, to hire, to serve everyone while also acting as a catalyst for change to traditional disability services.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

It would be very easy to characterize traditional agency service delivery models (i.e. day programs) as competition to Individualized Funding (IF) and family-governance, however to meet the needs of a diverse population there remain a need for day programs at this point. InclusionWorks! is not in competition but rather is about creating new, inclusive options of high quality, highly individualized programming based on current thinking about inclusion and community development. As a model InclusionWorks! is highly flexible and the hope is that self-advocates and families will take it and reshape it to their own needs in a very person and family centered way. The “ownership” of the model is in each family-governed group, more analogous to open-source software than to a trademarked product.

Founding Story

InclusionWorks! was developed in 2009- 2010. Recognizing the social and fiscal reality into which our children with eligible for CLBC support were transitioning to adulthood, the situation became clear that: • CLBC would not have sufficient dollars to support them fully for community inclusion, and we would be on the request for services list. • For our families, full community inclusion from CLBC equals 12 hours to 18 hours weekly support. This is not sufficient, given individual needs and working parents, etc • Families wanted to take greater responsibility, partnering with the sector. A small group creates economies of scale and avoids the threat of isolation that each could face on their own. • No existing program met our goals and wishes for citizenship and inclusion. There were a few vacancies in traditional “day” programs, supporting an aging population with different needs. • Our youths have been fully integrated to date and have the right to continue thus.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name


Organization Country

, BC, Victoria

Country where this solution is creating social impact

, BC, Victoria

Region in BC where your solution creates social impact

Vancouver Island.

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Cost.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

After five years, IW participants will be as independent as possible and be well situated to have a good life, including sustained paid employment, friends, fitness, recreational and volunteer activities. In turn, this can facilitate better long-term outcomes, reducing reliance on social assistance and subsidies and reduction of health problems for individuals and families.
At the community level, within 3 years, other families in Victoria and across BC will establish IW like family governance groupings building from our initiative.
To further the sustainability and reach of IW, we are also working towards the goal of increasing the flexibility of the government and community to embrace family governance initiatives.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

After 2 years, impacts include:
• Families in Victoria and other BC locations are starting/considering IW pods.
• CLBC regional office has expanded its options.
• Some partners have started changing or adapting their practices and services to a more family-focused way of “doing business”.
• There is a growing understanding by the educational sector of the need for continuous learning.
• IW fosters a sense of belonging, and, beyond IW activities, has created an informal, strong support circle for youth and the participating families.

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

The IW model is not a panacea for all BC (or Canadian) families but potentially could be adapted by a significant number opting for CLBC Individualized Funding. (We guestimate 20% of those eligible which would be a significant number of families.) This would expand the options available in a significant way, increasing inclusion in community and providing a cost-effective alternative model to day programs, leading to a better life for those previously marginalized.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The main barrier is that the infrastructure is still in an early development stage to support family governance models or to some extent those opting for individualized funding. The bureaucracy is only somewhat accommodating and flexible when it comes to both funding and supporting InclusionWorks.
In order to overcome this, we have been working closely with those in the key agencies and in government to develop policies and practices to overcome the obstacles.
Another barrier to expanding the IW family governance model is the lack of human and financial resources to fully document the process and support other families to join us in setting up groups around BC. To partially overcome this we are developing a website which will allow IW to share the basics of its model.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Position IW so that it is ready to be replicated province wide

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Bring together key stakeholders in order to discuss lessons learned to date and key elements for success

Task 2

Work on the key goal of Employment First and how to most effictively integrate it into the model

Task 3

Modelling how IW groups can work together towards common goals

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Support the development of family governance so that it becomes embedded in the service delivery landscape in BC

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Begin to identify those specific policies and procedural barriers that support or mitigate against family governance

Task 2

Begin to work with Ministry and school districts to increase awareness of IW family governance as an option for transition

Task 3

Begin to develop promising practices around partnerships with established community organizations

Tell us about your partnerships

Community-based partnerships are one of our cornerstones. We have mutually beneficial relationships currently with:
NGOs: Community Living BC, Community Living Victoria, Garth Homer Society, LifeTime Networks
Educational: South Island Distance Education School, University of Victoria Faculty of Education, School of Youth and Childcare, CanAssist:, Camosun College
Employment: Thrifty's Food, Coast Capital Bank, Canoe Cove Cafe etc
Volunteering: James Bay Community Centre, Mount St Edwards. Our Place Society
Others: Flow Comm, Saanich Recreation, yoga, Pandora Art Collective, etc

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?

InclusionWorks! groups are to-date located in Victoria with information requests from up-Island and the lower and central mainland. The target group is transitioning youth, however the model could assist other groups (i.e. aging individuals). A website launch in the coming month will address calls for information, but it is expected that interest will grow as a result of the internet presence. To date growth has been limited due to the nature of the model, the need to assess its effectiveness over time, the volunteer nature of its leadership, and financial and human resources.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

Innovation in the community living field has been driven by self-advocates and families and InclusionWorks! (IW) builds on this history. Born of need, dissatisfaction with the traditional service options, and high expectations for lives included in community, IW comes from a specific values-based point of view and a culture of interdependence. It is based on a philosophy of “employment first,” inclusion and citizenship. It supports dignity of risk, recognizing the greatest safety is found in community. Coupled with these values is a small, flexible volunteer organizational structure of self-advocates and families, partnered with progressive community organizations and CLBC staff to create quality supports and programming. These relationships hold the potential of family governance.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

IW can offer facilitation from a family perspective on setting up a family governance model and also coordinating opportunities for collaboration and networking among families.
IW can offer mentoring for workers in community on the IW model.
We would like to find more families engaged in similar projects, as well as opportunities in community regarding employment for our participants.