About Us

Openly Connected helps people, organizations and institutions to unlock the potential of their own connected communities. Openly Connected does this by:

Connect community builders with ideas, knowledge, research, tools and each other

Translate knowledge across sectors

Celebrate and elevate the work of community builders

By doing this we seek to:

  • Increase the capacity of people to unlock the potential of their own communities and increase the resilience of their own communities
  • Introduce creative, effective solutions, rooted in the Connected Community Approach across sectors and disciplines
    Increase opportunities for community builders to have an impact on the systems, policies and planning decisions that affect them
  • Increase the visibility and the perceived value of community building as critical to our cities, regions and country
    Bring new energy to community development and community building efforts

At Openly Connected, we understand that connected communities are a critical foundation to solving complex social issues.
People live in communities so communities are an important focus for resiliency and social change efforts.
Communities are made up of the Individuals who live work or play in them. When individuals come together in meaningful ways, they have tremendous capacity to design by the community for the community resiliency and social change initiatives. It is people who are agents of change.
People and organizations in communities interact with one another in complex ways, therefore, strengthening relationships is foundational to strengthening communities.

If every community were a connected community strategies, plans, ideas and innovation would find fertile soil in which to grow.


We are guided by our principles

  • People and purpose before process and product.
  • Integrative thinking.
  • Issue agnostic, not values agnostic.
  • Systems approach that considers and respects local contexts.
  • All parts/people in [the] ecosystem have a place/role in change.


Openly Connected is grounded in the pioneering efforts of one organization in a marginalized inner suburban community in the eastern most part of Toronto, Ontario.

This organization, the East Scarborough Storefront (The Storefront) has been experimenting with a new approach to community development. Their approach involves intentionally facilitating a connected community. The Storefront’s role and purpose within the Kingston Galloway/Orton Park (KGO) neighbourhood is intentionally connecting people, ideas, strategies, resources, programs and initiatives in order to create community social fabric that supports people, organizations and initiatives to thrive. The results have been inspiring.

The Storefront has worked with a diversity of players to co-create multiple successful initiatives and has received multiple awards. Their success rests on a spirit of inclusion, collaboration, optimism and intention. In a funding and sector environment that often encourages a focus on individual needs and programmatic responses rather than the creation of strong social fabric, establishing this approach, which they call the Connected Community Approach, has not been easy, and, has not yet reached its full potential. The Storefront’s example, however, provides a glimpse into what might be possible if we focused on the interaction and connections between and among people and organizations engaged in the important work of community building.


Openly Connected is a project on the MakeWay's shared platform.  MakeWay provides operational support, governance and charitable expertise for changemakers. The shared platform enables more time and money to go towards achieving greater impact. MakeWay is a national charity, #13056 0188 RR0001, that builds partnerships and solutions to help nature and communities thrive together. MakeWay holds full legal and fiduciary responsibility for the work of Openly Connected

Read more about Openly Connected’s relationship to East Scarborough Storefront