Rocky View Foundation

The Challenge

Rocky View Foundation (RVF) provides affordable housing to vulnerable seniors in Alberta. When an Airdrie hotel came on the market, RVF had the innovative vision that the space could be converted into seniors’ homes in a community where they were badly needed. In 2019, with the help of a group of donors, they purchased the building at a significant discount. In 2020 and 2021 they applied for Rapid Housing Initiative funding from CMHC to fund the renovations but were unsuccessful. Without access to immediate funding the project was at risk of being shelved and the property sold off to the highest bidder. However, RVF engaged Bespoke to employ an innovative funding strategy to save the project.

The Bespoke Solution

To ensure RVF hit their fundraising targets, Bespoke took on the role of fractional Chief Development Officer. In that role, we: • Led stakeholder engagement to set the strategic direction for RVF • Created a market-ready stakeholder-engaged Strategic Plan • Created a revenue generation strategy centred around Bespoke’s signature P4 funding model. P4 happens when organizations bring together public (government), private (corporate or foundations), and philanthropic donors to support housing provider projects. • Initiated and managed strategic relationships with all three levels of government

The Impact

In March 2023, Bespoke helped secure a $4 million grant from the Government of Alberta (GOA) for the project. With this meaningful investment as momentum, we worked with RVF to secure $8 million in low-interest mortgages from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and finally $750,000 in philanthropic dollars from individual donors and foundations to cover the cost of renovations and enhance the property to provide safe, affordable and appealing places to call home to vulnerable seniors. The occupancy permit for the new Abrio Place was approved in September 2023, bringing 92 new seniors housing units to market within one year of the initiation of the engagement, and at approximately one-third the cost of a new build.