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August 30, 2020
20 Questions for Nonprofit Directors in 2020

I received some valuable comments on my recent piece on the sevens sins of nonprofit governance. They prompted me to add a coda about what makes a “good” nonprofit board. The seven sins of governance that I referred to essentially revolve around a lack of attention to the duty of care. This is a concept familiar […]

August 24, 2020
The Seven Sins of Nonprofit Boards

As a long-time nonprofit director, I have reflected on what we can learn from the governance car crash that appears to be the WE Charity and its affiliated structures. I have wondered: where was the WE Charity board as this evolved? Charity Intelligence and others have pointed out the multiple failures in this situation. But […]

July 31, 2020
Thoughts on Philanthropy and Giving It All Away

The pandemic is a clarifying moment for philanthropy. A spotlight is shining harshly on the familiar endowed foundation model. It is being aimed even more pointedly at the form of endowed philanthropy known as the donor-advised fund or DAF.  The point is sharp: in this time of crisis like no other, when charities and communities […]

June 29, 2020
Canadian Philanthropy 2020 Part Two

Back in January when COVID 19 was a faraway menace to us, I speculated in a blog post on three important challenges in 2020 for Canadian philanthropy. I suggested that foundations could make an important difference in the Canadian nonprofit landscape if they used their funds and influence to help provide a platform for unheard […]

June 13, 2020
Philanthropy after 2020: Reverse Gear or Fast Forward?

Three months, a quarter of a year, since the pandemic lockdown began. Long days, short weeks for many in the nonprofit sector and their funders. The troubling impacts of the lockdown on charities are piling up: lost revenue, staff layoffs, shuttered programs, and negative increases in social indices such as mental illness, domestic violence and food […]

May 22, 2020
Canadian Philanthropy in a Connected World

We don’t exist in a bubble in this world. We exist in a web. This is how we need to think about our situation as a philanthropy sector, as a country, as a region and as human beings on our planet. The inevitable push in this pandemic is towards closure, towards turning inward and locking […]

May 5, 2020
Spend Now or Spend Later: A False Choice?

I participated this week in an important discussion facilitated by Tides Canada and Future of Good on the need for foundation philanthropy in Canada to step up its giving in response to the COVID emergency. The spark for this discussion was a call to action by Give5, a new movement dedicated to encouraging foundations to give […]

April 24, 2020
Past, Present and Future

I am the granddaughter of a historian and I grew up in a family that valued history for what it can tell us about our present and possibly our future. So, I am intrigued by what history might have to say about our responses to the current pandemic. More specifically, I am interested in what […]

April 10, 2020
Philanthropy’s Lessons from the Pandemic

I am learning some unexpected things as I look for news about the effects of the pandemic and lockdown. The bad news is all too easily found through print and other media. Watching CNN is a frightening experience right now.  But I am also finding much good news, especially through social media. Imagine this lockdown five or […]

March 29, 2020
Crisis and Opportunity for Canadian Funders (part 2)

The COVID-19 emergency has faced private funders with an enormous opportunity for change. A week ago,  I wrote about how groups of private funders are coming together to create and commit to pledges for a more responsive relationship with their grantees and communities. Four funder associations in Canada have now come up with a strong collective […]

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