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May 5, 2022
Thinking Hard About Trust

One of the big debates swirling around in philanthropy today is the debate about trust. Can trust really exist between funders and the organizations they fund, given the power imbalances, the different communities that funders and grantees come from, the different operating models of grantmakers and operating charities? This matters a good deal to funders […]

March 25, 2022
Lending Ear and Raising Voice

I have been thinking again in the last few weeks about the uses of language in philanthropy today. And reflecting not only about speaking language but also about listening to it. What is said and what is heard in a philanthropic conversation can be very different than what is intended, based on the interpretations by […]

January 31, 2022
Philanthropy and the Pandemic Portal

Lucy Bernholz of Stanford is one of the thinkers I admire most in the world of philanthropy. Hers is an articulate and original voice. It helps me put into context the changes and arguments going on in the world of philanthropy, civil society and digital technology. Every year for the last thirteen, she has written what […]

January 10, 2022
Hopes, Fears and A Wild Guess

January, as always, is a time for forecasting by philanthropy observers and “opiners”. But during this never-ending pandemic period, as I read and listen to blogs and podcasts about the year ahead, I notice that no-one is being definitive about their forecasts. Uncertainty is greater than ever. People don’t want to make predictions. They would […]

December 13, 2021
Foxes and Hedgehogs: Governance in Uncertain Times

I had the pleasure recently of participating in a panel discussion with the Toronto Arts Foundation and its Creative Champions Network, which provides guidance on good governance to Toronto’s many arts board directors. The theme of the discussion was Some Damn Good Ideas for Building Back Better. The conversation was led by Jini Stolk, the […]

November 8, 2021
Philanthropy Truths and Dares

I have been listening to some interesting conversations recently in Canada, Europe, and the United States about what philanthropy has learned over the past two years. As we near the end of 2021, people are asking whether the changes that we see in the practices of at least some in the foundation world will be […]

September 3, 2021
Why Foundations Matter to the Social Ecosystem

There is shouting at the gates of institutional philanthropy these days. Give more…give without conditions…give more equitably…give with urgency. We were hearing these shouts before 2020. The pandemic and its consequences have justifiably turned up the volume and multiplied the voices. And there has been a response. One of the most striking has been that of MacKenzie […]

August 4, 2021
Canadian Philanthropy in North America

A talk given to a panel discussion on the future of North American philanthropy hosted by Alliance Magazine on July 14, 2021. Here is a summary and recording of the panel discussion We Canadians live in a small country that sits next to a very large, influential and noisy one. Inevitably our trajectory has been […]

July 7, 2021
Are You Listening?

I have been considering the importance of better listening over the last few days. Many voices are being raised in Canada calling for reflection, learning and inclusion in response to the grief and anger being expressed by Indigenous communities, and by other communities as well. People are talking about “hearing” these voices. That is necessary and important. […]

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