Background & Purpose


Background of the Social Innovation Fund


The Social Innovation Fund represents a strategic partnership with the Province of New Brunswick to
experiment, innovate and test new initiatives based on sound evidence to help end a lifetime of
poverty for our children.

Living SJ is New Brunswick’s living lab to end generational poverty that builds the essential social
foundations – education, health, employment, and citizen engagement – for economic growth.
Collective impact is the framework to achieve Living SJ’s vision. This involves multi-sector leadership
and evidence-based strategies with four priorities:

  • Close the education achievement gap;

  • Connect low income residents to employment through education and training;

  • Improve the health of residents through neighbourhood-based models of care; and

  • Transform low-income neighbourhoods into vibrant mixed income communities.

Purpose of the Social Innovation Fund

  • Nurture new ideas that support Living SJ’s targets;

  • Scale programs that are already working in our community; and

  • Co-create new policies, services and programs with government based on those results that achieve greater impact and a significant return on investment.


Our First Projects

NEW: Social Innovation Fund (SIF) Project Blog! 

Click here to go to our blog and read about a SIF project: PCAP

1. Additional Resources for Kindergarten to Grade 2 Project

Elementary schools with the highest concentrations of poverty will be provided additional resources to help students, from Kindergarten to Grade 2, to overcome learning barriers, achieve early literacy skills and gain the essential educational foundations required for progressive school success. This demonstration project aims to help more children succeed in school, achieve Living SJ's education targets, and inform education practice and public policy. This project will receive $1.5 million in funding over three years.

2. Speech Language Pathologist for Priority Schools Project

The addition of a dedicated SLP to serve priority schools will allow for the development of instrumental oral language development strategies. Having a SLP working as a coach with teachers and children help builds the tools that will help to develop oral language skills and support children to learn to read. This project will receive $80,000 in funding over one year.

3. South Central Peninsula School Task Force

The District Education Council has recommended that a new elementary school be built on the Central Peninsula in Saint John. The task force will act as a sounding board, advising the project team and the Province of New Brunswick on both the needs of the community and opportunities to leverage resources to support the development of an enhanced educational facilities model for the priority neighbourhoods, with the potential to be adapted for new construction and renovation projects throughout the Province. This project will receive $85,000 in funding over one year.

4. Transitioning to Work Project

The Saint John Learning Exchange provides adult education and employment programs for over 350 participants each year by using a holistic continuum-of-service approach that includes responsive programming driven by an individual's education and employment goals. This project will develop and implement a sustainable model that demonstrates both the service and funding components necessary to successfully assist individuals in their education, training, and employment pathways out of poverty. This project will receive $1.4 million in funding over five years.

5. Incentives for Bridge to a Brighter Future

The goal of this project is to pilot test the EMPath program in Saint John in order to emulate success and specifically fund the financial incentives for participants. The objective is to create a plan for a family that multiple organizations, including government departments, can help them achieve. This project will receive $25,000 in funding over one year.

6. Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP)

This is a pilot to bring a program of tailored, in home and structured case management to address the needs of pregnant and recently postpartum women who are struggling with addiction in Saint John. This program has been shown to drastically improve the outcomes of participants in terms of addiction management, stable housing, maintaining or regaining guardianship of their children, reducing reliance on government assistance, and family planning. The Social Pediatrics Research Program will work with families, advisers and community stakeholders to adapt this program to the local context and implement in Saint John. This project will receive $898,275 in funding over four years

7. Scaling Up Working 4 Change: Learn and Go

This project will scale and adapt the existing program to serve 60+ individuals annually as well as heighten alignment of services and policies by ensuring residents of the focus neighbourhoods are connected to desired next steps in their journey out of poverty. This project will receive $735,700 in funding over five years.

8. Project Manager, Saint John Land Bank

This project will provide funding to hire a manager that will implement an affordable housing project, Victoria Commons, in the Old North End. The findings from this project will inform SJLB's goal of developing affordable housing projects in other priority neighbourhoods. This project will receive $180,000 in funding over two years.



Projects will:

  • Present a compelling case that success will result in significant impact on Living SJ targets within our priorities: health, education, employment and neighbourhood revitalization;

  • Be evidence-based and guided by promising practices;

  • Contain a comprehensive Measurement Plan to evaluate and report on impact and the potential for social and economic return on investment, including savings to government;

  • Identify and eliminate key barriers to quality of life for families (i.e. affordable day care transportation) to increase security and prosperity;

  • Be concentrated within Saint John’s five focus neighbourhoods: the Old North End, Waterloo Village, Crescent Valley, the Lower West Side, and the Lower South End;

  • Demonstrate multi-sector engagement;

  • Be led by a project owner and supported by a comprehensive project team;

  • Leverage additional resources from other levels of government, business and philanthropic sources;

  • Be a one-time initiative or multi-year investment (renewal based on achievement of deliverable); and

  • Be reviewed for approval by an independent committee who will be recruited from Living SJ partners and other community stakeholders. 

Projects will not:

  • Support physical infrastructure (i.e. renovation to existing space or creation of new space); or

  • Support religious or political activities.

Guiding Principles

The Living SJ Network will:

  • Demonstrate that the whole is greater than sum of its parts and that integration of programs and services within our network and community is integral to success;

  • Create an intentional space for change makers with dedicated time and resources to try new ideas, innovate and learn;

  • Identify and demonstrate a new approach to policies tied to current programs and services;

  • Create environments where different organizations can work together differently to create transformative change, resulting in ending generational poverty;

  • Enhance the value of what is currently working well in our community (i.e. what can be replicated, expanded and grown);

  • Identify projects and programs that are sustainable for the long term (i.e. beyond the fund);

  • Ensure the inclusion of lived experience and create opportunities for neighbourhood engagement; and

  • Engage government partners.

Application Process


Stage 1: Idea Development & Validation


Living SJ staff work with potential applicants to:

  1. Vet initial criteria;

  2. Ensure clear articulation of goals and impacts; and

  3. Confirm lead partner/owner

Projects will then be put forth to the appropriate Collective Impact Team or other partners to ensure:

  • The team will support the project

  • The team's guidance and feedback is addressed


Living SJ staff then work with potential applicants to develop measurement plan and final submission at which point Living SJ staff recommend proposals ready for submission.

Stage 2: Proposal Review & Selection


Social Innovation Fund Investment Committee evaluates proposals based on:

  1. Understanding and evaluation of proposed objectives, impacts and outcomes

  2. Interview with owner/project team

  3. Responses to requests for more Information or changes (if required)

Committee selects projects whose targets will contribute to ending generational poverty and recommends funding.

Stage 3: Execution

  • Project team finalizes an overall plan (resources, timelines, reports 2x/year) and implements proposed activities

  • Collective Impact Teams support projects whenever needed and wherever possible

  • Project team measures and tracks outcomes

  • Project team prepares final report

Stage 4: Review & Action

  • Living SJ staff organizes post-project review with project team. This includes analysis of project impacts, learnings and recommended next steps

  • Living SJ staff communicate findings back to Living SJ Network

  • Living SJ engages community and Province to co-create new polices, services and programs to bring about transformational change

Frequently Asked Questions


Is there a deadline for applications?

The Social Innovation Fund was given to our community in order to make strategic decisions about where the money will have the most impact. This is why we have a continuous intake process, we do not have a set deadline. 

What is the application procedure? 

The first step is to . We will make sure your idea is a good fit for the Fund and bring in outside support if necessary. We will work with you to prepare your proposal that will go to the Committee that decides which proposals are funded.

Do you only fund new programs?

No. Ideas might be new to Saint John but they might also be scaling or adapting an existing program or

examining system and/or policy change or program alignment.

Is my idea eligible for funding?

Please see our list of Key Questions below which give you an idea of what we are looking for. Answering these questions and getting in touch with Living SJ is the best way to determine if you are eligible. 

Have an Idea?


If you have an idea for the Social Innovation Fund the first step is to . ​The questions below will help facilitate the conversation. 

Key Questions Applicants Must Answer at the Preliminary Stage

  1. Who is the project owner (team lead and organization)?

  2. What is the barrier or problem that is experienced by an individual/family living in poverty?

  3. How does the problem relate to one or more of Living SJ priorities and targets?

  4. What is the solution being proposed?

  5. Where did the idea come from and what promising practice/evidence is the solution based on?

  6. Provide information on how this project is a) new to Saint John, b) scaling or adapting an existing program, c) examining system and/or policy change or program alignment?

  7. Is there a specific government policy that will be tested or further explored?

  8. How many people will initially be involved?

  9. What skills/expertise are required for this project to be a success and how will you source this expertise?

  10. What additional funding have you secured or are trying to acquire, including in-kind funding?

  11. What is the preliminary budget?

These questions can be found in this downloadable PDF

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© Living SJ 2020. All Rights Reserved.


GOAL. Residents are leaders in changing our future. TARGET. Transform low-income neighbourhoods into vibrant mixed income communities