January 22, 2020
Does Philanthropy Work?

This month the BBC hosted a thoughtful panel conversation on the topic Does Philanthropy Work? The question posed to the panel was “Should the rich give more of their money to the state instead of to charitable foundations?” This is a perennial question. Is it more effective, more democratic, more equitable, to tax the wealthy and redistribute […]

January 7, 2020
Three Challenges for Canadian Foundations in 2020

January is a useful month for setting challenges, both for people and for organizations. Your new challenge may be one; it may be several. It may be an extension of a previous strategy or it may be a new stretch. Regardless, the exercise of reflecting on a challenge for the year ahead is useful because it […]

December 8, 2019
Yes You (Funders) Can!....Make Better Public Policy 3: Building Capacity

In the first two pieces in this series on funders and public policy, I made the case for why funders should engage in public policy development, and I offered some examples of how Canadian funders are active. In this third blog, I argue for more foundation investment in developing public policy capacity for the Canadian […]

November 25, 2019
Collaborating with the “other”: What have we learned?

How do you work, as a philanthropic funder, with the “other”?  The “other” can be someone you don’t know, or who you don’t agree with, or who responds to different expectations, drivers or accountabilities.  Is it possible? Is it necessary? And is it worthwhile? At the recent PFC symposium in Calgary, Alberta, foundations explored these […]

November 22, 2019
Yes You (Funders) Can!....Make Better Public Policy 2: Here’s How

In the first article in this series on funders and public policy I suggested that the decisions made by policy makers matter a good deal if you are thinking about your approach and the outcomes you hope for as a funder. Think of reducing poverty, improving education, preventing illness or fighting climate change. Then think […]

October 20, 2019
Private Philanthropy and Public Legitimacy

What makes a private foundation “legitimate”? And what role does public scrutiny play in answering this question? My reflection was piqued by two recent thought pieces on private philanthropy and public legitimacy.

September 22, 2019
Yes You (Foundations) Can!....Make Better Public Policy

It’s federal election season in Canada.  Surely a time to consider public policy and its importance to the work of philanthropy. But public policy decisions and programs can have a profound impact on philanthropic goals. The decisions made by policy makers matter very much if you are designing any philanthropic strategy. Think of reducing poverty, […]