June 7, 2021
Is Change Coming to Philanthropy?

Is Change Coming to Philanthropy?  The pandemic has changed us all, at least in the short term. Is it too soon to come to conclusions on how the pandemic has changed philanthropy?  In an interesting recent piece, Ben Soskis, a historian of philanthropy, comments on the shifts that he perceives in what he calls the […]

May 24, 2021
Smart Data, Smarter Charities

Do discussions about “data” make your eyes glaze? Why is it important for you to pay attention and why now? The answer is that, as the last two years have shown us, we need good data more and we need it urgently. We are surrounded by a sea of data. In the digital age, we can […]

May 10, 2021
The Deep Importance of Language in Philanthropy

How much does language matter to philanthropy? Deeply, as it turns out. A stimulating piece by Rhodri Davies from the Charities Aid Foundation on the uses and misuses of philanthropic language got me thinking recently about how much it affects us. I can’t count the number of times that I have seen the word “philanthropy” […]

April 23, 2021
Evidence, Policy and Practice: Charities and Disbursements

The 2021 federal Budget made disappointingly few regulatory announcements affecting charities, although it did commit to important new spending that will support many of the charities and beneficiaries who have been hard hit in the pandemic. There is no shortage of policy ideas and suggested law and regulation changes for the charitable sector. We have […]

April 12, 2021
Today’s Crisis, Tomorrow’s Challenges

This has been an extraordinarily hard year for communities; the urgency of present needs has intensified the pressure on philanthropy to provide more resources, more flexibly, to more diversified recipients. It is certainly true that endowed foundations can act as counter-cyclical sources of funds to ease the strain on struggling organizations and charities. And a very […]

March 24, 2021
Reimagining the Post Pandemic World

A year ago, towards the end of April 2020, Philanthropic Foundations Canada hosted a conversation about Canadian philanthropy and its commitment to a world in the throes of a growing pandemic. In that conversation, the participants were forward-looking. Even though we were being pressed by fear to hunker down, to think locally, we wanted to look […]

March 14, 2021
Philanthropy and the Pandemic Year: Past and Future

This past week was the first anniversary of the global pandemic and the end of a remarkable twelve months that we have experienced together. As with other anniversaries, this one prompts a reflection on what happened, how we reacted and what is to come. This is my contribution, reflecting in particular on how Canadian philanthropy […]

February 28, 2021
Next Philanthropy: Taking the Long View

Many years ago, I read a mind-expanding book called The Art of the Long View, by Peter Schwartz, an American futurist. It’s a book about telling stories – about the future, or as many futures as you can imagine. Written as a tool for strategic planners using the techniques of scenario planning, it also makes a […]

February 15, 2021
Learning, Plumbing and Imagination

What do learning, plumbing and imagination have to do with each other? They’re all connected to philanthropy’s response to the pandemic and after. As we wait through this seemingly interminable time to the end of the pandemic, we can reflect on what we have learned (and are still learning). What are foundations and funders of various […]

January 25, 2021
The New Agenda Part Three: A Home in Government

Twenty years ago, in 2001, the federal government and the social good (then known as the voluntary) sector together negotiated and signed an Accord that set out the values, principles and commitments necessary for a stronger relationship. The objective of formalizing the relationship was to facilitate greater mutual understanding. To quote, the Accord “focuses on what unites […]

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