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 […]

March 22, 2020
Crisis and Opportunity for Canadian Funders (part 1)

Does the COVID 19 pandemic offer an opportunity for change in Canadian philanthropy? And if so, what and how? It’s much too soon to tell, probably. But it’s interesting to note the observations made in the last week by U.S foundations  that this is the time for radical response.  It’s not too soon to say that the […]

March 17, 2020
Philanthropy In the Pandemic: What Must Be Done?

“The path forward is to realize that we do have power, even in the face of something that makes us feel incredibly small, and that it lies where it always has—in remembering that we are in this thing together and in finding ways to embrace our collective responsibility and accountability to each other.” – Grant […]

February 25, 2020
Can Philanthropy Get REAL?

I was intrigued by a recent Twitter thread from Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy at Charities Aid Foundation(CAF) in the United Kingdom and leader of CAF’s think tank, Giving Thought.  Rhodri is a thoughtful and experienced observer of philanthropy and the big questions that foundations face as social actors. In his thread, @Rhodri_H_Davies notes that […]

February 10, 2020
Reflections on Moving from Generosity to Justice

Philanthropy is always about generosity. But should it and must it also be about justice? This is the question asked by Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, in his book From Generosity To Justice (2019). Walker was inspired to write this thoughtful book (and create an online forum) by his reflections on Andrew Carnegie’s […]

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 […]