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. […]

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 […]