A Fundamental Shift for CKX


How many ways can you put six of these identical Lego bricks together?

Would you believe it’s more than 100? More than 1,000? More than 100,000 ways? The answer (which I’ll share down below) may astound you, unless you mastered permutations and combinations in high school.

It seems somewhat appropriate to start a post with exciting news about CKX with a question about Lego. Yes Lego – those little bricks and blocks that have been a part of our story since we thought it would be cool to create our logo out of more than 3,000 of the little plastic pieces back in 2014.

In April, Community Foundations of Canada (the host partner of CKX) and the Carold Institute announced a partnership that would see both organizations invest in CKX to develop and expand programs to support and enable opportunities for reflective practice, deep learning and knowledge exchange for leaders who are driving social change.

For nearly 30 years, the Carold Institute has invested in those leaders by offering sabbatical resources, support and learning networks. The organization’s flagship Alan Thomas Fellowship has been at the heart of this work for the past decade. The Carold Institute has been guided by principles rooted in adult education and social change while remaining nimble, flexible and leveraging its networks. In that spirit, as they approached the limits of their financial resources, rather than spend and wind down the organization, they saw an opportunity to innovate a transition through collaboration and renewal.

Since April, CKX has worked with CFC, the Carold Institute and others to explore what this collaboration could look like. We put all the Lego on the table. Financial Assets. Organizational histories. Intellectual capital. Brands. Relationships. Institutional Knowledge. Partners. Programs. Big Ideas. All of the little and not-so-little pieces that each of us brought.

How could these assets be reassembled and reconfigured to better position CKX to deliver on its manifesto to spark fundamental shifts in how we build and share knowledge in the pursuit of social change?  

The result: a fundamental shift for CKX itself as it evolves from a hosted program of Community Foundations of Canada into an independent social change platform.

What will this shift look like?

Rather than fold and dissolve the Carold Institute as a legal entity – we’re repurposing and reconfiguring it. Rather than spend down or park the Carold Institute endowment, we’re placing it in a trust – along with CKX’s intellectual property assets – that will be co-stewarded with CFC. And rather than assume that we have all of the pieces, we’re issuing an open invitation to others who are willing to contribute and be a part of this shared platform.

That last one’s important. While the collaboration with the Carold Institute is significant, the catalyst for CKX and our success has always been our community of fellow shift disturbers. The individuals, organizations, partners and co-conspirators who are driving social change, who bring their various pieces of Lego to the table, and who have been a part of CKX since the beginning.

I’m excited about the energy, experience and enthusiasm that our new board of directors are bringing to our work. I’m also excited – and a little scared – about my own transition from the staff team at Community Foundations of Canada to the role of Chief Executive Officer. But what I’m most excited about are the opportunities that lie ahead.

We’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks about our evolution and we’ll be looking to you to be a part of it. So like I said once before, it’s time to get your Lego ready. Because we’re going to build something really cool, together.



PS – Here’s the answer to that question. Astounding, isn’t it?

Lee Rosecarold