Calling all change-makers

On a mission to connect and inspire the people of Ottawa to embrace their capacity for positive change.

Synapcity, formerly Citizens Academy, a non-partisan social enterprise, today launched a campaign to solicit ideas from the people of Ottawa to make our city happier, healthier, smarter and safer.

24 October, 2016, Ottawa, ON—Synapcity, formerly Citizens Academy, a non-partisan social enterprise, today launched a campaign to solicit ideas from the people of Ottawa to make our city happier, healthier, smarter and safer. This initiative aims to foster greater civic engagement by motivating citizens to find, share and act in ways that give back to their city. The ideas that Synapcity receives will be collated into a shared report of insights into Ottawans’ hopes for the future growth of our city.

Synapcity provides learning experiences where deliberation, appreciation, and curiosity help shift conversations to empower individuals to own change. The not-for-profit helps people and organizations of all backgrounds work together to progress Ottawa’s social and economic development. Synapcity facilitates positive civic engagement where everyone feels connected and responsible for their city.

“Social connection opens our minds, increases our sense of belonging, betters our lives,” said Manjit Basi, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Synapcity. “We make these connections through community engagement, gathering diverse people who would never otherwise meet and help them contribute to our city’s accumulated intelligence.”

Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant

In recognition of the importance of Synapcity’s work, the organization recently received more than $600,000 of the Grow Grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario. This collaborative grant between Synapcity and its incubator, the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, will help expand the organization’s activities in the nation’s capital over the next three years.

“Huge congratulations to the newly branded Synapcity—the same great people with a brand new name and for the receipt of one of the largest Grow Grants,” said Hon. Yasir Naqvi, MPP, Ottawa Centre. “The people of Ottawa can be a part of something great with Synapcity. So put your ideas into forward motion to make our community an even better one.”

Brand evolution

In late 2015, the organization won a rebrand competition from Stiff, an Ottawa-based communications agency that created an invigorated and specified mission for Synapcity. This revitalization included a new name and logo, and a full set of digital assets to enable the organization to grow its network across Ottawa.

“At Stiff, we don’t believe that communications should be provided only to the global corporations who can pay us for it. To be born is to be creative. And when that collective individual creativity is turned toward social issues, real change can happen’” said James Hanington, CEO Stiff. “We chose to give $100,000 worth of free services to Synapcity because helping them meant helping Ottawa for generations to come.”

Synapcity launched its new brand to previous alumni and supporters last week. Speaking at the event, Councillor Mathieu Fleury, said:

“Synapcity came into our city and transformed it. Manjit and her team changed how we can inform our communities, how we can be a positive change and how we can exchange the knowledge and involve our community members in urban and rural areas.”

To support its growth, Synapcity is always looking for help through donations, volunteerism and partnerships. The organization is actively growing its consultation business with local communities, councillors and companies looking to establish positive, meaningful connections and dialogue among people.

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More information

Send your idea to improve our city, get involved in change-making and uncover more details of Synapcity’s work across Ottawa.

View Hon. Yasir Naqvi’s video message created for the brand launch, and check out the community’s reaction to Synapcity’s new brand and mission.

About Synapcity

Synapcity’s mission is to become the collective heart and brain of our city. Without political agenda, it runs programs that empower people to make a difference. Synapcity connects change-makers in our city to make real projects happen. It facilitates civic engagement for organizations looking to collaborate groups within Ottawa. It also uncovers and shares great ideas for positive, lasting change that can help make Ottawa happier, healthier, smarter and safer.

About Stiff

Stiff is a communications agency that creates things people see, read and hear. Stiff is a group of consultants, writers, digital strategists, social media experts, art directors and account managers who believe that meaningful, persuasive messages must be at the heart of every single communication. The agency works with clients in Canada, the UK and around the globe to create and manage brands, develop integrated communication strategies and go to market through traditional, digital and social media.

About Ontario Trillium Foundation

An agency of the government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million it awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities. For more information about the Ontario Trillium Foundation, visit


For further information, please contact:

Anna Jackson, Head of Public Engagement, Stiff


Manjit Basi, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Synapcity