Impact Organizations of Nova Scotia

The Community Impact (Nonprofit and Charitable) Sector provides critical services and solutions for our most pressing social and environmental challenges and the people affected by them. Impact Organizations of Nova Scotia (IONS) seeks to support the staff and volunteers who are organizing and working to build a more just and equitable Mi’kmaki. 

Formerly the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia, IONS was first established as one of 14 Industry Sector Councils in the province to address labour challenges, build organizational capacity, and increase access to resources and opportunities. Over time, IONS has continued to focus on labour market needs and broadened our scope of activities to include convening diverse organizations to collaborate and learn together, building networks, conducting and distributing research, sharing promising practices, and amplifying the vital work of the sector. 

Our work begins from the understanding that current systems and structures are not serving those working and volunteering in impact organizations, or the people they are serving. To address the challenges of our time, we recognize the crucial need for a more just, equitable, and community-driven approach to reimagining our work and society. Over the past few years, our focus has evolved and expanded to embrace our role championing the Community Impact Sector as leaders of transformative change.  

Our Purpose

It’s time to reimagine what’s possible in, with, and for communities. 

Our purpose is to contribute to a just and equitable society by empowering people in the Community Impact Sector to be leaders of transformative change. 

Our Commitment to Justice and Equity 

In the Community Impact Sector, we care for people, the land, and all beings. We exist because we believe in a just world where the Earth is respected and protected, and all basic needs are guaranteed so everyone has what they need to belong, connect, and thrive. 

Many of the systems we interact with are designed in ways that work against our goals. Real transformation is impossible without acknowledging how colonialism and capitalism affect power dynamics, how we work, and what we value. Decolonizing and anti-capitalist principles are an integral part of transformative, positive, and lasting change. As an organization located in Mi’kmaki and active beneficiaries of ongoing colonialism, we are holding ourselves accountable in commitment to more just and equitable workplaces, community spaces, and being. 

We believe that this is the path toward inclusive workplaces and humane ways of working that will enable us to tap into the creativity needed to identify solutions for the problems we’re facing. We are learning how to live these values and practicing what it means to embody justice and equity in everything we do and supporting others in their journeys.  

IONS Accountability Filters

Inspired by the Mi’kmaw concept of Netukulimk, we seek to use values of sustainability and stewardship to guide decisions related to our work. Our “4 Rs” provide a lens for reflection and accountability. 


We create spaces and opportunities to connect that intentionally build trust, alignment and mutual care. 


We seek to deepen our understanding of what people need and act on it with our networks.


We make sure that information, opportunities, and impact flow in both directions.  


We look inward and outward to spark new ideas for change that meets what we need now, and what we need to create a just future. 

Our Values:

We seek to live and embed our organizational values into our work. These concepts guide how we relate to one another in our team and with our networks. 


We reject individualism and scarcity mindsets. Our work is communal, celebratory, and radically generous. 


We are willing to challenge colonial and capitalist ideologies and practice different ways of working and being together.


We centre reciprocity and prioritize relationships to collectively inform and lead our work.

IONS Current Reports and Documents

2022-2023 IONS Impact Report

2023-2026 Strategy & Action Plan

Our Strategic Priorities:

Practice justice and equity in all our work 

We believe relationships and reciprocity are at the heart of all that we do.  

We value different ways of being  and uplift leaders of diverse identities  to build power within community. 

We support organizations in their journeys toward just workplaces and  in implementing equitable practices. 

We are committed to future generations by reimagining and transforming systems to enable a more just world. 

Connect the dots to someplace new 

We help people and communities  move from what’s not working to a better state that is inclusive, collaborative and impactful. 

We build bridges within the sector, across sectors, and with government. We shine light on the sector’s value in society. 


Create spaces for connection and action 

We believe that increased collaboration and knowledge sharing will help with problem solving and innovation 

We take a ‘network of networks’ approach and work intentionally with a wide range of partners. 



We engage intentionally in new ways of working within our organization and share what we learn to inspire others. 

We inspire change through experimentation and storytelling. 

What We Do

IONS’ action plan focuses on building community capacity for change, research and advocacy, and living our values. We support changemakers in caring for others and themselves. We model new ways of working to demonstrate new possibilities and inspire change. We support organizations in implementing just and equitable practices. We encourage collaboration and inclusion by bringing people together to connect, share ideas, and transform their work. 

Our team

IONS is working toward a vision of a decolonized, just and equitable Nova Scotia. We bring a myriad of diverse perspectives and lived experiences to the work. Our team has a culture rooted in learning, challenging dominant ways of working, and building trust-based relationships. We work collaboratively and passionately in service of the sector. We engage in continuous adaptation based on our experiences and feedback, both in relation to what we offer the sector and how we show up together internally.  

IONS Theory of Change

Our four main elements are design principles for our intended impact and all the work we do. Our strategy is grounded in these elements, the unique role we play, our strengths, and the needs of communities.  

We know that if we center reciprocity in community, provide the tools, and help remove barriers, people can realize their potential and have their greatest impact.  

A theory of change is an organizational compass, a “North Star” that offers a path toward the change we want to see. In the long term we are working for: 

  • Adequate, sustainable, and equitably distributed funding. 
  • Healthy, safe, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. 
  • Effective sector collaboration for change. 
  • Sector priorities and ideas reflected in policy decisions. 

With our sector’s leadership, collective knowledge, trusted relationships with community, and experience finding creative and innovative ways of mobilizing change – we can get to the root causes of challenges and offer some of the best solutions for complex problems. 


IONS can play a bridging role toward in this broader vision. A theory of change focuses on actionable steps in reimagining the change we want to see. It’s rooted in our beliefs that:    

  • Real transformation is impossible without justice and equity considered in all aspects of our work. Decolonizing and anti-capitalist values are an integral part of a just society. 
  • Making space for and prioritizing relationships and collaborations lead to innovation. 
  • People working to improve the conditions of their communities understand what’s needed and are full of ideas for how to make things better. 

Only by coming together and reimagining how we work, can we address complex barriers and build healthy communities. 

Find more IONS documents and search an expansive list of content in our resource library.