The City of Burnaby, the Burnaby Board of Trade and the Social Purpose Institute Form Partnership to Accelerate a Purpose Led Economy

The United Way’s Social Purpose Institute (SPI), the Burnaby Board of Trade, and the City of Burnaby have entered a unique and strategic tripartite partnership to make Burnaby a hub for the growth and acceleration of social purpose led organizations.

The Social Purpose Institute, located in Burnaby, and the Burnaby Board of Trade, the city’s chamber of commerce, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2020 creating a first ever partnership between SPI and a board of trade/chamber of commerce.  With the addition of the City of Burnaby to this partnership, there is an even greater opportunity to incubate and grow the concept of social purpose, where companies define why the business exists beyond its sales or products, identify what it stands for, and determine the role the business can play in contributing to society and the greater good overall through its operations.

With Burnaby Board of Trade members already representing the largest cohort of participating businesses, including Hemlock Printers, Return-It, Traction on Demand, ABC Recycling, Chandos Construction and Royal Printers, this collaboration offers Burnaby the opportunity to grow the social purpose led economy in Canada and beyond.

“We are thrilled that Burnaby is emerging as a centre of excellence in social purpose; this level of leadership is the kind that will truly accelerate change for the good,” says Mary Ellen Schaafsma, Director of the Social Purpose Institute at United Way.

Mike Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby, says, “We know that businesses can be powerful drivers of change in our society.” “By working with our partners at the Burnaby Board of Trade and United Way on this project, more Burnaby businesses will be equipped with the tools to make a difference in our community.”

Paul Holden, President & CEO of the Burnaby Board of Trade, a long-time leader of social, economic and environmental sustainability says, “The pandemic has revealed an opportunity to embed real purpose in our business community, which will in turn help us to build a more resilient economy. I am delighted to partner with the City of Burnaby and the Social Purpose Institute in growing a purpose led business recovery here in Burnaby and beyond.”


About the Burnaby Board of Trade
As Burnaby’s chamber of commerce and the City’s economic development partner, the Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT) is one of the region’s largest and most active business associations. Working closely with the municipality, its members, and various community stakeholders, the BBOT supports the growth of business both locally and internationally, and fosters a sustainable business environment. The Burnaby Board of Trade acts as a Catalyst for economic development in Burnaby and across the region, a Convener of business, community and political leadership and Champions for the businesses who make Burnaby their home.   Learn more and join them in building a stronger business community at

About the Social Purpose Institute
The Social Purpose Institute (SPI) at United Way exists to grow business for good, partnering with companies and collaborating with governments, allied organizations, and others to grow the Social Purpose Business movement.  We achieve this in several ways. We help businesses define and implement their social purpose to drive both business growth and societal good. We champion a purpose-led economy, accelerating the new business ethic to create long-term well-being for all. We are thought leaders, creating and curating insights and knowledge to define the transition pathway to the purpose-led economy. We convene the social purpose ecosystem – the partners and actors needed to bring social purpose to life in communities across Canada. Together, we build a better world through business. The SPI is part of the United Way of the Lower Mainland. For more information, visit us at or visit

Media Contact:
Tessa Vanderkop
Manager – Marketing, Programs and Sustainability
Burnaby Board of Trade
t. 604-789-8886  e.