CAN member organizations approach sustainable economic development through a variety of sectors, including energy, forestry, food systems, waste and recycling, health, social enterprise, entrepreneurship, and green business development.  CAN recognizes the importance of all of these sectors, and believes that the collective impact of a network can create powerful changes by focusing on one or more sectors at a time.

CAN also works to support organizational development, capacity-building, and peer mentoring among the region’s non-profits and community groups. We do this through an annual Small Grants program, peer networking activities, and sharing of tools and resources.

CAN is currently exploring new ways of working that connect and strengthen sustainable development actors around the region to build shared analysis and strategies. To this end, CAN will continue to support sector or issue-focused networks, working groups and learning groups that bring in regional partners and supporters to take part in shared learning and strategizing, with the possibility of deeper shared work.

Our collective focus is currently on strengthening, developing, or exploring practitioner networks and/or working groups in the following sectors:

  • Clean energy: organizing regional practitioners working on energy efficiency and renewable energy generation
  • Creative placemaking: supporting economic development that builds on arts, culture, and local identity
  • Food & agriculture systems: advancing local and regional food systems that generate livelihoods and improve health
  • Entrepreneurship support: connecting actors who support small business development and entrepreneurship
  • Forest farming: supporting development of non-timber forest products and other income sources for forestland owners