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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 […]

January 6, 2021
The New Agenda – Part Two

The nonprofit sector in Canada went through a difficult year in 2020, as noted in Part One of this blog. What about 2021? We don’t want to recreate the past, just in a better version. If that’s true, if we want to innovate for a very challenging next decade, what’s our new agenda?   The answer […]

January 2, 2021
The “Old” Normal and the “New” Agenda

At the turn of this pandemic year 2020, we are once again in a place of semi-lockdown, asked to stay home and away from others, unable to meet in person, wary of human contact. Being in this place forces us to stand back, to reflect and to try to understand both what has happened yesterday […]

November 30, 2020
Capability and Responsibility: Philanthropy as Relationship

I’m still thinking about some of the deep conversations that are going on in philanthropy today around “shifting” power. To me the word “shift” assumes a transfer of something from A to B. As I wrote in my last blog on this topic, I don’t see power as fixed, to be had only by one […]

October 26, 2020
Power, Trust and The Measure of Philanthropy

Shift the power! We hear this everywhere now. In politics, in the economy, in communities, in the justice system, in media. And it is being used by many, with sincere conviction, in reference to philanthropy. The exhortation to big donors and foundations is to shift the power they hold because of their wealth, their status, their […]

October 8, 2020
Philanthropy Swimming Upstream in The Syndemic

How can philanthropy confront the harsh syndemic we face today? Yes, I wrote syndemic, not pandemic. The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, describes a syndemic as “characterised by biological and social interactions between conditions and states, interactions that increase a person's susceptibility to harm or worsen their health outcomes.” In other words, being poor, […]

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