Job Title: Focus Grants Associate, Edmonton Community Foundation
Why She’s Top 40: She’s working on complex social issues to create tangible impacts within the community.
After withdrawing from her PhD in English and Film Studies, Ashley Dryburgh began her work with the Edmonton Community Foundation with a goal of changing the conversations taking place in the city. As part of the Grants team, which administered more than $25 million in grants to charitable organizations in 2017, Dryburgh and ECF partnered with the Skills Society three years ago to create a practice called the Shift Lab.
This social-innovation lab utilizes funding to address issues like racism and poverty. By engaging with these complex issues, Dryburgh, along with Top 40 Under 40 alumnus Ben Weinlick, hope to activate the community and create a real impact. “It seemed like it would be an effective methodology,” Dryburgh says. “What could we learn as finders about this new practice in the community?”
The Shift Lab has been testing its prototypes, which Dryburgh refers to as small interventions, in the hopes of spearheading conversations about the collected data in order to build the best practice values and offshoot real change. One example surrounds affordable housing, where the Lab is working on combating the myth that crime and traffic rates will go up while property rates will go down in communities that have it.
“Trying to figure out how to measure and communicate our impact has been a challenge for us,” Dryburgh says. “But we are creating conversations and inspiring other people to do work.”
Dryburgh works to create conversations in other ventures as well, from her Queermonton column for Vue Weekly to her involvement in a Safer Spaces policy at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival.