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Social Profit Shared Space

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ON MARCH 6, 2014, the social profit sector in the Wood Buffalo region took another step into the future when the United Way of Fort McMurray was announced as the anchor tenant of the new Social Profit Shared Space in Shell Place, the $127-million expansion at MacDonald Island Park in Fort McMurray. This announcement was the culmination of a plan to develop a shared space that will allow collaboration and connection between some of the social profit organizations in the community as well as housing for their operations.

Approved by Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Council on July 10, 2012 as part of Shell Place, the Social Profit Shared Space is dedicated to organizations providing services in the social profit sector in the Wood Buffalo region. The anchor tenant is responsible for managing and operating the space and holds the master lease agreement with the intent of subleasing the space to community-based social profit and charitable organizations. The agreement requires that a minimum of 20 per cent of the organizations be sport and recreation-focused, while a minimum of 20 per cent are mandated to be community social profit organizations. The space will be leased to the United Way at below market value to facilitate its success and the social profit organizations located in the space.

“When the community provided their input during the engagement process for Shell Place, or the MacDonald Island Park Expansion as it was known at that time, it indicated that space for social profit organizations was a concern,” says Tim Reid, Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo, the organization responsible for developing, delivering and operating Shell Place. “These organizations face many challenges in finding affordable, adequate space for them to operate, particularly if the organization is a small one with only one or two staff members. The solution of a shared space model was worked into the proposal for Shell Place and received warmly by the community as it would provide the space so vital for these organizations to succeed.”

The United Way of Fort McMurray was selected as the successful proponent following a public Request for Proposal for an anchor tenant for the Social Profit Shared Space at Shell Place was posted on Alberta Purchasing Connection from September 16 to November 18, 2013. One of four organizations that submitted a proposal of interest, the United Way of Fort McMurray was chosen by the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC) Board of Directors on February 25 following an extensive document review and interview process that included review from a selection committee, the RRC capital projects committee and the RRC Board of Directors.

“The opportunity to leverage the success we’ve had with the downtown Redpoll Centre and bring it to Shell Place is very exciting,” said Diane Shannon, Executive Director, United Way of Fort McMurray. “Building capacity within the social profit sector is one of the pillars of what we do at the United Way. Operating a larger social profit shared space in a world-class facility will help a broad spectrum of organizations by providing a professional administrative setting. The Redpoll Centre at Shell Place will enable collaboration, innovation and for some organizations, the opportunity to move out of spaces that are less than ideal for maximizing community impact.”

When Shell Place opens in 2015 the Social Profit Shared Space is anticipated to be one of the most welcomed features of the facility, building connections and strength in the social profit sector while allowing them to be part of the sport, recreation and event experience that has become the hallmark of MacDonald Island Park. The Regional Recreation Corporation vision of making a difference in our region every day is reflected in the new Social Profit Shared Space at Shell Place and presents an exciting new opportunity with potential for new partnerships and collaborations.


A freelance writer, blogger and professional communicator who is passionate about her child, her work, her pets, her community and the power of words, Theresa Wells believes perfection in life is achieved when she is surrounded by amazing people, fantastic stories, cold gin and really hot shoes.