Front cover of booklet

5 years of catalyzing collaboration

Download the Catalyzing Collaboration booklet (PDF) View the 5th Anniversary celebration photo album

Affiliate Organizations | Incubator Start-ups | Engagement |Timeline| Students | Partners | Community | Funding | Peace Innovators

Paul Heidebrecht and Helen Epp Director Paul Heidebrecht is shown here visiting with Helen Epp at an Incubator showcase event at the Waterloo branch of Kindred Credit Union. As innovative trailblazers for peace, the Epp Family inspired the Grebel Peace Incubator. Read the message from the director.

7 affiliate organizations have been co-located in the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement

We provide an inspiring and flexible work environment for our core collaborators, as well as access to researchers, students, and community engagement opportunities.

Intercultural Dialogue Institute LogoIntercultural Dialogue Institute advances social cohesion across cultures, faiths, and ethnicities through dialogue and partnership.

Mennonite Central Committee Logo Mennonite Central Committee shares God’s love and compassion for all through relief, development, and peacebuilding work in Canada and abroad.

Project Ploughshares logo

Project Ploughshares works with churches, governments, and civil society in Canada and abroad to advance policies and actions to prevent war and armed violence.

Tamarack Institute Logo

Tamarack Institute develops and supports collaborative strategies that engage citizens and institutions to solve major community issues, both across Canada and abroad.

The Ripple Effect Education Logo

The Ripple Effect Education supports and equips youth with conflict resolution tools that allow them to support their peers with empathy and problem-solve respectfully.


Christian Peacemaker Teams Logo

Christian Peacemaker Teams sends volunteers who are trained in nonviolent peacebuilding to advocate for justice and stand in solidarity with the oppressed.


Waterloo Public Interest Research Group supported University of Waterloo students and community members to research, educate, and take action on pressing social and environmental justice issues.

Branka from Project Ploughshares
Branka Marijan, Senior Researcher at Project Ploughshares, highlights the potential consequences of killer robots at True North 2019, Communitech’s “Tech for Good” conference in Kitchener.

19 peace start-ups have been supported by the Grebel Peace Incubator program

Embedded in Waterloo region's dynamic social innovation ecosystem, our incubator program attracts students and community members who benefit from our particular approach to mentorship, training opportunities, and seed funding.



Behavioural Skills Company



The Ripple Effect Education

Growing Hope Farm


Intercultural Dialogue Institute


Food not Waste

EpochMarlena Books
Demine Robotics
Conflict on the Startup Team

Peace Works

Global Peace Centre Canada

Mennonite World Conference

Rotaract Club

Theatre of the Beat

Pastors in Exile


Thinking and working politically to advance peace

Richard Yim and Demine Robotics
In 2017, the efforts of Richard Yim of Demine Robotics contributed to the Government of Canada’s $12 million pledge in new funding for landmine clearance efforts.
Engaging governments is often a crucial step in the process of achieving systemic change. The Grebel Peace Incubator program is making a unique contribution to Waterloo’s innovation ecosystem by equipping start-ups with the ability to think and work politically. From Demine Robotics’ work in advocating for increased funding for landmine clearance, to the efforts of Growing Hope Farm in working with a local federal prison to allow inmates to volunteer, Incubator participants are navigating complex systems to advance peace.

184 individuals have been formal participants

A diversity of peace practitioners, entrepreneurs, and researchers creates a dynamic community that breaks out of disciplinary and institutional silos.

Coffee break at the Centre

Catalyzing collaboration through community connections

Every week, the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement community gathers to share updates, discuss current projects, and make connections in their work. Emerging start-ups can connect with established organizations, student researchers can connect with Research Fellows, and entrepreneurs can connect with peace practitioners.

Mutual transformation

Mennonite Central Committee’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) is a year-long cultural exchange opportunity for young adults. IVEP emphasizes peacemaking and building understanding across cultures, while providing the opportunity for learning and mutual transformation through the development of intercultural skills.

SocheataSocheata Poum

Joining IVEP from Cambodia in 2016-2017, Socheata became immersed in Waterloo’s innovation ecosystem, sparking an interest in innovation and value creation that led her to a graduate degree in Global Management. Socheata plans to start her own social venture in education technology to bridge the gap of access to digital literacy among students in South East Asia.

LorenzoLorenzo Fellycyano

In 2017-2018, Lorenzo joined the Centre for Peace Advancement from Indonesia. Lorenzo has recently finished training in Cambodia with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and will soon be commissioned as a Global Mission Fellow for a two-year overseas mission service.

SuyeonSuyeon Kang

The Centre for Peace Advancement’s most recent host from 2018-2019, Suyeon, joined IVEP from South Korea. Suyeon’s year with the Centre exposed her to the options available for peacebuilding in her own region. After returning to South Korea, Suyeon attended the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute summer training program in Nanjing, China.


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Foundational Moments

  1. 2011
    1. Susan and Brent shaking hands
      November 2011

      Announcement of transformative gift from Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (now Kindred Credit Union)

  2. 2012
    1. Ground breaking for new building at Grebel
      March 2012

      Ground breaking

    2. Outside of the new Grebel building
      June 2012

      Grebel Board approves vision and mission

  3. 2014
    1. Paul Heidebrecht at opening of Centre
      June 2014

      Paul Heidebrecht named director

    2. September 2014

      Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement opens (Now Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement)

    3. Michelle Jackett
      November 2014

      Michelle Jackett named coordinator

  4. 2015
    1. Students chat at Gallery opening
      September 2015

      Epp Peace Incubator program launches (now Grebel Peace Incubator program)

      Grebel Gallery team formed

  5. 2016
    1. Students chat at Grebel Gallery Exhibit Launch
      July 2016

      Renamed as Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement

    2. Women from Grebel Gallery exhibit
      October 2016

      Grebel Gallery Fund established

  6. 2017
    1. First cohort of Peace Innovators
      August 2017

      First cohort of Peace Innovators

    2. September 2017

      Peace Incubator Fund and Barry Bauman Mentorship Fund established 

      Annual Peace Week for Waterloo Region is first coordinated

    3. Katie Gingerich and Amy Zavitz in Incubator
      November 2017

      Epp Peace Incubator Mentorship Circle is formed (now Grebel Peace Incubator Mentorship Circle)

  7. 2018
    1. October 2018

      Facilitated UWaterloo's participation in Map the System for the first time.

  8. 2019
    1. Demine Robotics team member Jared Baribeau
      September 2019

      Inaugural PeaceTech Living-Learning Community

    2. Anniversary celebrants gather in the Centre for Peace Advancement lobby
      September 2019

      Celebrating the Centre's 5-year anniversary.

    3. Mitacs
      November 2019

      Epp Peace Incubator approved as the first social innovation incubator in Mitacs' Accelerate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur International programs.

  9. 2021
    1. June 2021

      Epp Peace Incubator re-branded as Grebel Peace Incubator


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100 students have worked for the Centre for Peace Advancement, affiliate organizations, and incubator start-ups

We connect bright and committed university students from a variety of disciplines to practical learning opportunities with the peace practitioners, entrepreneurs, and researchers who call the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement home.

Students at opportunity fair
Student placements not only cultivate important skills and abilities, they provide invaluable pathways into high-impact careers. Placements with participants in our Centre can open doors by making connections with important networks, and help mentor students in their next steps—whether academic or professional.

Charity Nonkes

Charity Nonkes

As a Peace and Conflict Studies student at Grebel, Charity’s co-op placement as the Centre for Peace Advancement’s Communications Assistant in Fall 2017 exposed her to the role that innovation and entrepreneurship play in solving social and environmental challenges. Charity went on to intern with Mennonite Central Committee’s Ottawa Office, and then the University of Waterloo’s Entrepreneurship at Environment program. “The Centre for Peace Advancement introduced me to social innovation and using entrepreneurship as a vessel for change. My time at the Centre gave me a lens to look at problems as part of a system which has helped me to understand the social/environmental issues I work with.”

Grace Wright

Grace Wright

Grace joined the Centre for Peace Advancement as the Communications Assistant in Winter and Fall 2018. Grace’s experiences with the Centre for Peace Advancement encouraged her to actively pursue the intersection of peacebuilding with technology, and allowed her to explore the ethical and social implications of new technologies. Grace used the skills and knowledge she learned from her time at the Centre at her next co-op placement with the University of Waterloo’s Ethics, Technology, and Social Impact Committee. “Working in the Centre positioned me incredibly well for this role, as it was the source of my interest in this impact space and allowed me to explore more questions and what they mean for the world.”Grace went on to rejoin the Centre for Peace Advancement as a PeaceTech Living-Learning Community Peer Leader at Grebel.


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106 partners have collaborated on projects

We are eager to draw in organizations and individuals beyond the Centre for Peace Advancement's community to strengthen our capacity and extend our reach.

Mentors chatting with Incubator participants Since its inception, the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement has established countless partnerships with the players involved in innovation in Waterloo. We are inspired by our partners as we work together to push the edges of social innovation. The Centre for Peace Advancement coordinates the Social Disruptors Group at the University of Waterloo, is an active member of the Innovative Corridor Impact Network, and is connected with many more initiatives that support students and community members seeking to make a positive social impact.
Korea Art Forum Gallery OpeningIn 2018, a collection of rarely seen artwork from North and South Korea, China, and the United States, focusing on diverse aspects of people and landscape formed: A New Era of Peace and a Peaceful Land, curated by Heng-Gil Han, director of the Korea Art Forum based in New York City. This exhibit was made possible through a partnership with Mennonite Central Committee.

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18,375 community members have been engaged through events and projects

We are an outward facing program of Conrad Grebel University College that promotes - and is shaped by - mutual learning and shared action between our campus and broader community.

Sarah Martin Mills at Spotlight on Restorative Justice
In 2016, the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement partnered with Community Justice Initiatives to shine a spotlight on six exciting new initiatives that are creatively building safer communities using restorative approaches. Sarah Martin-Mills (pictured speaking left) from Growing Hope Farm, an Epp Peace Incubator program member, was a featured speaker at the event.

A few memorable events

Incubator LaunchSeptember 22, 2015
Incubator Launch

Ernie Regehr Book LaunchOctober 29, 2015
Ernie Regehr Book Launch


peace incubator showcaseNovember 7, 2017
Peace Incubator Showcase


Advancing peace through the arts

The Grebel Gallery gives life to the Centre for Peace Advancement’s strategic commitment to being a place to craft, record, map, and perform stories of peacemaking. Since its creation in 2014, the Grebel Gallery has hosted 16 exhibits. These exhibits have featured professional and emerging artists, and have engaged local and global partners.

New Fraktur artist Meg Harder

Tesatwiyat Exhibit Gallery Opening

Beyond Essays Gallery Opening


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$743,815 in external funding has been leveraged for projects with Centre participants

Participating in our community generates new business models and opens up new funding opportunities.

Velocity Fund Finals with Cassie from LunariaThe Peace Incubator Fund provides seed funding that accelerates the learning and stimulates the development of ventures in the Epp Peace Incubator program. The Grebel Gallery Fund supports the curation and promotion of art exhibits on peace themes, and allows the Centre for Peace Advancement to organize events to engage the community on issues of peace. To learn more about supporting the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, contact: Fred W. Martin, Director of Advancement. Epp Peace Incubator start-ups have also received over $440,000 in awards and grants from other sources.

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15 Peace Innovator participants

We collaborate with Kindred Credit Union and The Ripple Effect Education (TREE) to engage young people in a unique approach to peacebuilding through the Peace Innovators Scholarship and Mentoring Program.

Peace Innovators LogoThe Peace Innovators Scholarship & Mentoring Program works with a select number of young leaders to equip them with skills to tackle a community problem they are passionate about. Networking with mentors and peers throughout the year, participants gain the skills to launch an event or campaign to address their cause.

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Congratulations from Kindred Credit Union!

Congratulations on five years of innovative, collaborative peacemaking! Our ongoing partnership with the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement is a natural extension of who we are—it fits perfectly with our purpose: cooperative banking that connects values and faith with finances, inspiring peaceful, just, and prosperous communities. Kindred is pleased to have walked this journey with you from the beginning. We’re excited to see what the future holds with your growing influence in the peacebuilding community, both locally and globally!

5th anniversary celebration photo album