Foundations of Community Engagement( FOR A FEE COURSE)

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Note: there is a fee for attending this course. It is not for free...


Join Tamarack's Lisa Attygalle, Director of Community Engagement, in this new online course designed to build a foundation of knowledge and practice for your community engagement work. 

Through video lessons, case studies, readings, and activities, you'll dig into the role of community, who should be engaged, community engagement techniques, how to overcome challenges, and how to evaluate your engagement activities. 

This course is available to use at your own pace, but you'll be learning alongside a diverse group of Tamarack Institute learners. Engage in comments and questions on the online platform, and join Lisa for monthly small group coaching to get more personalized feedback and insight.

What Will I Learn?

Foundations of Community Engagement is divided into six main lessons:

Before jumping in to engagement techniques, we'll go over how the role of the community, and the relationship between community and those doing the engagement work.

Good community engagement outcomes require that you understand why you're engaging - we'll cover various engagement goals or purposes, and how they change what techniques you should use.

We'll outline a wide variety of Community Engagement techniques and how to use them effectively

We'll outline the various lenses you should be using to analyze who has been invited to your engagement, who should be involved, and what you can do about it.

We'll go over a selection of key challenges that most Community Engagement practitioners deal with, and how to approach those challenges efficiently, and from a posture of learning.

How can you tell if your engagement work has been effective? We'll analyze a few different approaches to evaluation, and equip you with practical tools for evaluating your engagement activities.

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Learn at your own pace - this course is offered asynchronously, and you can move through the prepared course materials on whatever schedule works for you. 

Plan your own learning - We've planned out six main lessons for you, and prepared a wide range of videos, readings, and case studies that will help you build your Community Engagement toolkit - Navigate the course in whichever order works best for you and your need. 

Get involved - Add your thoughts, questions, and comments on the online learning platform to interact with other learners, and join Lisa in her monthly office hours to get more personalized feedback and insight



Lisa Attygalle

In her role at Tamarack, Lisa works with cities and organizations to help them meaningfully engage their communities. Over the last six years her work has focused on creating authentic engagement strategies and training staff teams, teaching and writing about innovative engagement methodologies, designing and facilitating workshops with a focus on raising the voice of the context expert, integrated communications planning, and the use of technology and creativity for engagement. Lisa advocates for simplicity in infrastructure, frameworks and design and loves applying the principles of marketing, advertising, loyalty, and user experience to community initiatives.

Lisa comes to this work from the private sector where she worked at one of Canada's leading communications firms with clients in agribusiness, healthcare, financial services and technology. Lisa brings private sector knowledge to public sector work. Hailing from Australia, Lisa also worked on major water infrastructure projects as the liaison between municipal government, engineering and the community..

Learn more about Lisa



Foundations of Community Engagement is hosted on Thinkific, an online learning platform. After registering for the course, you will be sent log-in details for the course platform, where you'll find the course videos, materials, and workbook.

Small group coaching dates will be provided each month by email, and will also be posted on the course website.

You'll have access to the course and coaching calls for 6 months after enrolment.

Only one learner is able to access the course per account - please contact Duncan for group rates. 

Bring this online course to your organization!

We are able to build separate course platforms for organizations that wish to enrol their teams in the course, allowing you to share personalized questions and comments that are specific to your context. 

Contact Duncan for more information on how to bring this course to your organization.



About Tamarack

The Tamarack Institute is a connected force for community change.

The Tamarack Institute develops and supports collaborative strategies that engage citizens and institutions to solve major community issues across Canada and beyond. Our belief is that when we are effective in strengthening community capacity to engage citizens, lead collaboratively, deepen community and reduce poverty, our work contributes to the building of peace and a more equitable society. Tamarack’s work is comprised of two key areas of impact:

Learning Centre

Our Learning Centre exists to empower community changemakers to achieve greater impact. We draw upon our 18 years of experience leading community change and advancing practice to support municipalities, funders, non-profits, and community leaders through on-demand coaching and consulting, in-person and digital training, and publications that guide change efforts. 

We support our learning network in developing five interconnected practices that lead to community change:

As a registered charity, all of your investments as clients and learners goes back into providing content and tools on an open-source platform to build the capacity in the field. By working with us, you help support the efforts of changemakers in your community and worldwide.

Vibrant Communities

In Vibrant Communities we support cities and local leaders to develop and implement large-scale change initiatives through three learning networks: 

  • Cities Reducing Poverty: is a growing network of more than 80 regional partners who are working collaboratively to end poverty in over 380 communities.

  • Cities Deepening Community: is a collective impact movement deepening a sense of community in our cities. In 2019, we established a formal membership of cities working to establish community plans to deepen community based on our successful Cities Reducing Poverty model.

  • Communities Building Youth Futuresis a network aimed at developing Collective Impact strategies with up to 13 communities to engage young people in their communities and successfully navigate transitions from youth to adulthood.

Our belief is that when we are effective in strengthening community capacity to engage citizens, lead collaboratively, deepen community and reduce poverty, our work contributes to the building of peace and a more equitable society. 

Our Vision

Building a connected force for community change.


Our Mission

Collaboratively create vibrant communities by engaging learning leaders. When we are effective in strengthening community capacity to engage citizens, lead collaboratively, deepen community and reduce poverty, our work will contribute to the building of a more equitable, prosperous, and peaceful society.


Our Story

Tamarack was founded in 2002 by Alan Broadbent of the Avana Capital Corporation and Maytree (Foundation) and Paul Born, Co-CEO of Tamarack. Their hope was to create an institute that would deeply understand community change and would help organizations and citizens work better together for a collective impact.

As a small organization, Tamarack had two big goals. The first was to establish a learning centre that would provide research and document real stories, exemplary practice and effective applications for community change. Today more than 20,000 members participate in the Tamarack learning community and we provide nearly 14,000 people days of training a year. Our learning community members support our work by co-generating knowledge and they contribute more than $2 million annually to sustain this activity.

Our second big goal was to apply what we learned to end poverty. Since then, we have effectively helped more than 200,000 households rise out of poverty and have engaged more than 70 cities as partners as we continue pressing toward our goal of changing cities into places that work for all.

As communities everywhere face increasingly complex challenges – from climate change to economic inequality to disruptive technologies – Tamarack’s expertise is more relevant than ever. We will continue to grow our learning community to engage citizens in working together to deepen community, rebuild neighbourhoods, make it easier for us to care for each other, and improve our cities.

We embrace the words of Margaret Wheatley, that “all change, even very large and powerful change, starts from very small conversations held among people who care.” We welcome you to the conversation. 

Read our 15 year history (2002-2017) 

Learn more about the work we do

We invite you to read our 2019 Annual report, which reflects on Tamarack’s journey through 2019 and our growth along the way. We are incredibly thankful to the 27,319 learning partners in over 2,300 cities across Canada and beyond for being a part of this journey with us over the past year. We cherish the opportunity to work together to navigate community change and to build vibrant places to live and grow.

We wrote this report as both a way of looking back and looking forward. Much was accomplished in 2019 and you will read the stories of connection and impact in throughout this Annual Report. We are proud of what we have collectively achieved and value your continued investment and support of Tamarack. 

Read the 2019 Report





Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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