Convening AS Capacity Building for the New Age

Trae Ashlie-Garen
4 min readDec 6, 2020

PART 3 of 6

This article, originally written in the spring of 2019; revised in the midst of Covid; and as a result of feedback; has now become a 6 Part Series. May this new breakdown of the information create yet more pleasant reading for everyone.

“If programming WITHIN the system is important, the meta-programming OF the system itself is even more important.”

(Don’t know who said this, but it has stuck with me for years… and thought it fitting to introduce this article here)


PART 3 — Where we’ve BEEN, & seeding alternatives

Our (Humanity’s) Challenge AND Opportunity…

“The Commons” or humanity’s natural capacity for taking humane actions from a place of “collective enoughness” is taking hold in amazing ways. If the mushrooming of Neighbourhood Parliaments in India over the last few decades is ANY indication…

Unfortunately the narratives and mechanisms for social / community benefit / public benefit / public service to date have been predominantly organizationally and financially resource focused.


Most of the activity we engage in, is focused around taking action on resources that are depleting and are being damaged (i.e. a lack of supply of resources, or a focus on increasing resources as best we can) — and as a result, are getting disrupted with increasing speed.

We are not discrediting the amazing work that has occurred in Canada and internationally over the last 30–75+ years under different names and approaches, that has led us to this “space” now known as Social Impact Investment.

Yes, absolutely those approaches have each made progress in their own way and have helped us to get where we are now. And we’ve come to our thinking because of their efforts… For that we are eternally grateful.


But inevitably each of those approaches, because of their emphasis on a more economic focused ROI, have a history of becoming “an organized mass of fixed organizations” — still fundamentally dependent on revenue generating and profit-making.

The result? Parameters that no matter how ambitious get enthnocentric in their scope so quickly, that they each hit a glass ceiling, and we wind up going back to the…

Trae Ashlie-Garen

On a Quest | To Scale Empathy & Interdependence | Meaning for Humanity in Disruptive Times | Bold Conversations | Big Thoughts | New Narratives — Thrivably!