About Us

Social Development Centre Waterloo Region (SDC) was incorporated in 1967 as part of the Social Planning Movement. Over the years, we have incubated countless community projects, grassroots groups, and sibling non-profits. Today our primary pillars are Housing & Homelessness, Grassroots Infrastructure, and Lived Expertise.

We carry out our mandate by first identifying emerging issues through collaboration and research. We then get to work on solutions that are led by people with lived expertise. Our programs, research, and advocacy include the Eviction Prevention Peer Support Program, Lived Expertise Consultancy, Civic Hub Waterloo Region, and Festival of Neighbourhoods.

Want to know more? Get to know our team and contact us for more information. 

Our Vision

Fair and equitable access to social, economic and political life for everyone in Waterloo Region.

Our Mandate

The Social Development Centre Waterloo Region is a learning organization that supports all voices in the creation of community wide solutions ensuring that lived experience is the basis for collective action.

Our comittment to the restitution and reconciliation, November 8 2022, at the opening of "In The Penal Colony" at the Registry Theater.

Our Goals 2022-2024 

At the 2022 Annual General Meeting, our priorities have been validated with the following four directions: 

  • Lived experience has access to information and opportunities to share their knowledge and participate in decision-making
  • Lived expertise voices are heard and incorporated in development and implementation of local strategies especially in the area of housing and income security
  • Grassroots organizations and groups have access to space and supports they need to operate and grow through the Civic Hub Waterloo Region
  • Social Development Centre is resilient, healthy, adaptable and accountable to its members and the communities it serves ensuring fair and equitable employment and professional development for its staff and associates.

Our Priority Actions 

  • Designing collaborative approaches to research and planning that draw policy lessons from lived expertise through anti-racism, anti-oppression and intersectionality.
  • Ongoing research and planning in the area of housing and homelessness to ensure the human right to housing in Waterloo Region 
  • Supporting grassroots and small nonprofits through programs at the Civic Hub Waterloo Region such as the Shared Platform charitable partnerships and cross sector collaboration of equity seeking groups.
  • Development of the social enterprise that will ensure trauma informed support and decent compensation for persons from groups that have been traditionally excluded and underserved as authentic knowledge keepers and rights holders. 

Read the Strategic Plan 2021-2024 (developed in 2021 and revised annually).

Meet our Board

Board of Directors 2023-2024 elected at the June 29th 2023 Annual General Meeting.

Brad Ullner, Chair
Heather Bigelow, Vice Chair 
Nathan Pike, Treasurer
Meagan Snyder, Secretary
Loralie Broderick, Director
Leah Young,  Director
Laura Hamilton, Director
Charles Nichols, Director
Gary Allen, Director 
Barbara Spronk, Past Chair 

Interested in joining our Board? Your space is still open!

Our Values

Social Justice We are committed to equitable treatment and fair access to the social, economic and political engagement for all members of the community.

Participatory Democracy We value democracy practiced daily and encourage everyone to participate in decisions or on issues that affect them.

Community Knowledge We believe local community based knowledge is a public good and is essential to help all stakeholders understand the community and its people, assets, resources and needs.

Diversity We recognize, highly value and seek out the multi-dimensional character of community members which includes a rich variety of backgrounds, abilities and experiences.

Relationship Building (Social Capital) We are committed to building positive relationships in all areas of community development, fostering both horizontal and vertical social capital.

Our Operating Principles

Community We focus on geographic community where we find issues and seek solutions. We acknowledge and work with communities of interest as ways people come together to improve quality of life.

Accountability We are accountable to the community and seek direction from those who use our services and from our membership. Our governing board is elected annually by community members.

Independence Being community-driven and accountable, we have greater freedom than public sector organizations or direct service providers, to critique existing policies and systems or to propose alternatives.

Knowledge-based Action We link independent research and lived community experience to the development of action proposals and solutions to identified problems that eliminate inequity and injustice.

Inclusion We aim to engage everyone, especially those who voices are not typically heard. When we do engage we will be mindful of how we do this to be as inclusive as possible.

Collaboration We work in partnership and interdependency with others to share resources, skills and expertise.


Our History & Legacy of Impact

The idea to create a social planning council emerged in the 1950's when local leaders recognized the need for more social services, especially for youth and families with young children, as well as reliable information management to respond to changing needs in the community. Social Planning Council Kitchener-Waterloo was incorporated as a charity in 1967 (charitable number #107987166RR0001).

Craving some history? 

In the early years, volunteers did the work at the Council, addressing the needs of youth, families, seniors and persons with different abilities. As immigration brought greater diversity, settlement support was in greater demand. Our continuing concern about the issues faced by these and other marginalized members of our community, such as income inequities and homelessness have been a beacon shedding light on unresolved gaps in services and policy, as well as illuminating future trends and opportunities.

Today, SDC has a long legacy of impact:

● Community Information Centre of WR
● ConnectKW, a network of public Internet sites
● Meet-the-Candidates, unique participatory forums creating a space for exchange and dialogue
● Visitable Housing WR framework in collaboration with planners and builders
● Decent Lives Framework to show how strong neighbourhoods create opportunities for everyone
● Poverty Free Action Group bringing together social services, unions, and people with lived experience together in action and advocacy

Many organizations that are now integral to our community evolved through this inclusive approach:

● Food Bank of Waterloo Region
● Waterloo Region Community Legal Services
● KW AccessAbility
● Meals on Wheels and more...
● Volunteer Action Centre of KW and Area

Health of our Organization

Bylaws 2016 - Changes to the Bylaws adopted at the 2023 Annual General Meeting
Our compliance with the Ontario Non Profit Corporations Act has been completed, and the articles of incorporation created in 1967 with outmost foresight remain unchanged.

2023 Activity Report - Financial Report 2022(review engagement)
2022 Activity Report
- Financial Report 2022(review engagement)
2021 Activity Report - Financial Report 2021 (review engagement)
2020 Activity Report 
2020 Financial Report
2019 Activity Repor
t, 2019 Financial Report
2018 Activity Report
, 2018 Financial Report
Activity Report, 2017 Financial Report 
2016 Annual Activity Report Presentation
2016 Financial Summary Report 
2015 Annual Report Presentation
2014 Annual Activity Report Presentation
2013 Annual Report

Oral History Project 2017-2019 

Oral History Project

 The Oral History Project project was initiated in 2017 in collaboration with the Commons Studio and will continue thanks to the passionate community members who want to preserve stories and accounts about the 50 year's long community development legacy. Do you have a story to tell? You know people who we should talk to?

Our Affiliations