Building the charitable sector’s policy muscle
The need for the sector to lead on policy advocacy has been described as a moral imperative, yet it often faces criticism that it has lost its sense of urgency and become too content as a service-delivery vehicle. Contributor Tim Harper looks at policy institutes across Canada that are teaching the pragmatic skills of building support, refining a policy “ask,” and having bureaucratic and political doors open.
Volunteerism: In crisis or at a crossroads?
With volunteering in Canada in decline, contributor Yvonne Rodney looks at the data and talks to sector leaders to ponder the way forward. The solution, she writes, includes acknowledging the impact of the pandemic, understanding generational differences, and convincing funders to do more to help organizations.
William MacAskill’s latest book is an argument for long-life philanthropy
“Future people count. There could be a lot of them. We can make their lives go better.” These statements capture the essence of the argument made by the author of What We Owe the Future. William MacAskill is widely known as the primary exponent of effective altruism, an approach to “doing good,” in his words, that has as much impact as possible on the well-being of people across the world.
From storytelling to rights-based participation
The meaningful participation of people and communities with lived experience is key to a human-rights-based approach to poverty. Storytelling is a start, but it is only one side of the process, says Maytree’s Elizabeth McIsaac. We need to think deeply about how we receive those stories and incorporate people’s expertise into decision-making, she says, and we will improve our practice if we admit that we have lots to learn.
Investment powers for charities in Canada
With a patchwork of laws across Canada governing the investment of charitable funds, and a lack of clarity and CRA guidance around impact investments, charities that operate in more than one province must spend considerable time and money on ensuring compliance – resources that would be better directed toward their charitable work.
Meet Generation Z and learn how to engage these digitally savvy change-makers
How much initiative is a non-profit taking to connect with Generation Z? The answer to this question could hint at the organization’s potential for long-term growth and success.
Philanthropy and Funding
Gender-based philanthropy: Where did we go wrong?
Toronto Foundation’s Nicola Hives reflects on her organization’s three-year learning journey via the Trust Collective, a group of women philanthropists and community organizations serving women and girls. “We made a lot of mistakes,” she says, but they also learned some important lessons. First and foremost: “We can’t let our ambition to make a difference get the better of us. Thoughtfulness and partnering with community are everything.”
Philanthropy must challenge misogynoir
The term “misogynoir” refers to a particular form of discrimination against Black women, girls, and gender-diverse people. As we mark Black History Month, the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Paulette Senior calls for those with philanthropic clout to vie for better work, invest in better futures, and join the uproar for policy-making that actively includes Black women and gender-diverse people.
Case Studies & Guides
Housing as a human right: Shifting the conversation through narrative change
In the midst of Canada’s housing crisis, there’s a strong narrative that housing is a commodity rather than our right. Bonnie Mah, strategic narrative lead at Maytree, considers the opportunities and challenges of rights-based framing and talks about how she and her colleagues are trying to shift the conversation on housing in Canada.
Comeback Society reconnects urban Indigenous communities with their culture through food
Grassroots organizations are an integral part of the non-profit sector, responding to needs and shaping how communities care for each other. This profile, the fourth in a series, looks at how two sisters, starting with a podcast aimed at amplifying Indigenous voices from across Turtle Island, followed by a meal program to help the residents of a homeless encampment in Regina, are helping urban Indigenous youth reclaim their culture.
Decolonization and Reconciliation
New pathway to partnership opens with CRA draft guidance on qualifying disbursements
Hopes are high that changes to the Income Tax Act will make it easier to fund non-qualified donees, meaning more resources, more flexibility, and more collaboration between funders and organizations that have often been shut out. The two-month consultation period on the draft guidelines ends January 31.
Climate transition requires a sense of urgency, sector leaders say
Philanthropic foundations can manage their investments to provide much-needed support on the most urgent issues facing the planet in a variety of ways: divestment, transition financing combined with shareholder engagement, impact/ESG investment – or even winding down and freeing up their endowments to accelerate work toward a net-zero Canada by 2050.
Series on 50 Moments
50 years, 50 moments (part 1)
On the occasion of The Philanthropist Journal’s 50th year of publishing, we look back at 50 notable moments, movements, and trends that have affected the non-profit and charitable sector in Canada.
50 years, 50 moments (part 3)
On the occasion of The Philanthropist Journal’s 50th year of publishing, we look back at 50 notable moments, movements, and trends that have affected the non-profit and charitable sector in Canada. Part 3 focuses on the long road to improving sector–government relations.
50 years, 50 moments (part 2)
On the occasion of The Philanthropist Journal’s 50th year of publishing, we look back at 50 notable moments, movements, and trends that have affected the non-profit and charitable sector in Canada. Part 2 focuses on the pivotal moments that have shaped philanthropy and funding.
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Consistently inconsistent: Unincorporated associations owning real property in Canada
Registered charities, non-profit organizations, and other tax-exempt entities often choose to operate as unincorporated – or voluntary – associations, because of the lack of legal requirements (and fees) associated with this type of organizational structure. As a result, however, these organizations can’t enter into legal agreements, can’t hold title to real property, and can’t protect members from liability.
‘Era of uncertainty’: How leaders in Canada’s non-profit sector are preparing for 2023
Polarization, giving trends, equity, HR issues, reconciliation, the data gap, the climate crisis: we asked leaders in Canada’s non-profit and charitable sector about the challenges and societal shifts they’ll be watching in 2023. Here’s what they had to say.
The future of non-profit work and workers post-pandemic
In the face of unprecedented demand for services, financial vulnerabilities, and a human resources crisis, the sector is at a crossroads. In this introduction to our Work in Progress series, which will examine the key issues relevant to the future of non-profit work and workers, contributor Yvonne Rodney outlines some of the fixes that are needed now.
Ontario Trillium Foundation: Four decades of impact
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. To mark the occasion, The Philanthropist Journal examines the impact the foundation has had on grantees, the non-profit sector, and Ontario communities.
More articles From the Archives
Charities and the rule against perpetuities
Charitable status is a legally privileged status. The law in numerous ways, ranging from the trivial to the noteworthy, confers legal advantages upon charities. These legal advantages are often misunderstood.
Charity and public welfare in history: A look at Ontario, 1830–1950
Several historical works have described 19th-century Ontario as lacking a conception of public welfare, where the poor were largely left to the benevolence of religious charities. This assumption, however, ignores the complex web of relationships that characterized the delivery of social services in Ontario and in many English-speaking regions across Canada.
Art, after virus: Seven questions for a sector on the edge
In 1999, the Metcalf Foundation collaborated with The Philanthropist to curate a series on the public value of arts and culture in Canada. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, there is a new urgency to the challenges facing the arts.
Strategies for a caring society
This article was developed from a paper presented at Investigating in the Whole Community: Strategies for a Caring Society, a conference organized by the Trillium
Miles Morrisseau is a Métis writer, journalist, and multimedia producer from the Métis homeland in Manitoba.
Christina Palassio is a non-profit communications professional and freelance writer. When she tweets, she does so at @mcpalassio.
Angela Long is a freelance writer currently working on a book about rural journalism in Canada.
Kareem Shaheen is a journalist based in Montreal. Previously, he was Middle East correspondent for The Guardian, based in Beirut and Istanbul.
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