June 7, 2024
Philanthropy and the Outer Commons

As I look around at the lack of political consensus on what to do about poverty, public health or climate, and as I listen to the arguments and debates in the media, I do wonder where and whether we might have agreement on what is the common good. Is there a common good?  Or are […]

May 9, 2024
Philanthropy for the Future

I have always been a fan of science fiction - not fantasy fiction but hard science fiction. Partly it’s because science fiction assumes that there will be a future for humanity, however strange. And partly it’s because these alternative futures are often mind-opening. William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer (published in 1984) was one of those memorable […]

April 22, 2024
Reading Philanthropy

Six years ago, I began reviewing books on philanthropy and social purpose leadership for The Philanthropist Journal. I can now look at a bookshelf’s worth of reviews – 16 books written by 20 authors.  These authors are all from the English-speaking world, primarily the US and the United Kingdom, joined by two Canadians, an Australian […]

April 15, 2024
From Charity To Change: The Next Stage

In early April, the leaders of two relatively new Canadian foundations, Definity Insurance Foundation and Daymark Foundation, joined me at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners to share their experiences and insights on the evolution of strategic philanthropy. Here is some of what we talked about... We live in a better […]

February 19, 2024
Moving From Two to Three

When should a foundation start thinking of moving from two to three? Most relations between funder and recipient are of course binary, involving two parties. But sometimes a funder might provide resources to a recipient in between the funder and another recipient. The awkward term “intermediary” is often used in these circumstances where a funder might grant to […]

January 16, 2024
Tools for Thinking Ahead

One of the most difficult things for any organization is to think ahead, to imagine new scenarios, to picture different or more innovative strategies for your work. At the beginning of a year, there is both opportunity and temptation to draw back for a period and consider the present and the future. But how to do […]

January 5, 2024
What Next for Philanthropy in 2024?

January rolls around once more and we try to make sense of the year behind and the year ahead. Last year, I avoided predictions, as did others, given the turbulence of our world. Instead, I listed some hopes and fears for 2023. It turned out to be a roller coaster year, with more downs than ups. […]

October 25, 2023
Philanthropy’s Choices

The conversation about the need for transformation in the practices of philanthropy continues across the philanthropy field. We hear about the what and the how of change. But we don’t hear as much about the reasons why change is so difficult. These often have to do with some of the built-in tensions and need for […]

September 25, 2023
Philanthropy and Climate: Hope and Opportunity

It has been a very tough summer for the world, weather-wise. Heat, storms, floods and fires affected countries across the map. The changing climate convinces many of us that these are partly human-made, not just “natural”, disasters. This could be cause for despair. But there is still room for hope. And philanthropy can be both […]

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