From the Editor

We launch this new volume with investigations of public and private policy. Public policy is examined at the speculative level by Arthur Drache, who considers whether Canada needs an equivalent to England’s Charity Commission (he thinks we do). At a more practical level, Blake Bromley castigates some of the measures in the February 1997 federal Budget as a deliberate attack on the ability of charities to raise large sums from private donors.

On the private side, Shamin Lalani warns charities to be careful about what gifts they accept, pointing out the risks but also the ways to manage the risks of problem donations. Also in private philanthropy, Anne Golden replies to an earlier “Viewpoint” on the United Way of Greater Toronto’s Tomorrow Fund.

Public policy will be the focus of future numbers in this volume too. The (late) Ontario Law Reform Commission has published its lengthy report on the law of charities. We will comment in some detail on that report.

We will also report on recent Ontario legislation simplifying or avoiding the necessity for applications for certain routine charitable changes (Bill 61, the Government Process Simplification (Attorney General) Act, second reading June 1996); establishing by regulation the “proper” ways to deal with conflicts of interest, such as the purchase of directors’ and officers’ liability insurance or the payment for services to the charity, without having to seek court approval (Bill 79, the Courts Improvement Act, 1996, Royal Assent October 1996); and abandoning the “legal list” of investments permitted to trustees in favour of a “prudent person” text, subject to certain guidelines (the Red Tape Reduction (Ministry of Attorney General) Act, first reading February 1997).

In the present number we also offer a more general overview of the Budget and a review of a book on women philanthropists.

With this volume The Philanthropist marks its 25th year of publication. The brief history in this issue reveals some of the reasons that we are at Volume 14 after 25 years! But the content of these pages shows that the remarks of the first editor, reprinted at pages 5-7 remain relevant, for better or worse, a quarter of a century on. It is a pleasure to be associated with the journal and the very able and dedicated people who make it appear: the helpful and enthusiastic Editorial Board, notably John Hodgson, the eminence grise since the first day, the indefatigable Associate Editor, Joyce Forster, the advisory board members past and present, and the contributors, bless them, sine quibus non.

JOHN D. GREGORY

Editor