The Organization

25One Community (25One) is a collaborative workspace which brings together diverse organizations and individuals to share, grow and inspire. Based in downtown Ottawa, 25One is an organization that sublets space to nonprofits and the progressive community.

The Challenge

25One Founder Diane Touchette, a staff member of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (a well established nonprofit organization) wanted to fulfill a need she saw growing in the Ottawa community by building and managing a co-working space for nonprofits and community organizations. But it proved to be a challenge to secure the required funds in the form of a loan to create the required working capital.

The organization needed a line of credit to pay for construction work to set up the second and fifth floor in their downtown building as a collaborative workspace. Though the building’s landlord assumed 70% of the renovation costs, 25One faced the need for significant investment to support their portion of the renovation costs and to market the space.

How CFF Helped

Founder Diane Touchette learned about the Community Forward Fund and its services at a workshop for organizations interested in alternative finance, hosted by the Community Foundation of Ottawa, CFF’s local collaboration partner and investor. After subsequent meetings with CFF loan staff, 25One made a successful loan application. This loan enabled 25One to open its doors and begin to market the space as a vibrant hub where nonprofits and members of Ottawa’s community could meet, interact, and collaborate.

The second floor now serves as the main meeting area where tenants meet with clients, and work at the in-house café. The fifth floor was set aside for individual desks and offices for whole organizations – currently the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Volunteer Canada are their two anchor tenants.

25One Community’s former Executive Director John Urquhart is grateful to have worked with CFF: “We knew we had a business model that worked. But without CFF’s help at a critical stage in the process, we would have been hard-pressed to provide the services we planned to provide for nonprofits and members of the progressive community who have since joined us. I’m pleased to report that we’re at 80% capacity with an outlook for 100% occupancy soon.”