As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.
Name: Stacey Godsoe
Current role in the sector: Project Officer, “Pathways to Justice”, Be the Peace Institute
Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: 20 years.
What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
A defining moment for me was a volunteer opportunity while I was home with babies. I was asked to sit on the Midwifery Regulatory Committee for our regional health authority as a “consumer rep” to inform developing practices and terms of reference for free, accessible care from a midwife for anyone. It was an empowering moment for me to see a direct link between something I felt passionately about and actual change to an otherwise entrenched system. After that I was hooked! Any work I did thereafter had to be meaningful and sit with my principles of access and equity.
Describe your desk/workspace.
I work from home in rural Nova Scotia and my “office” is a corner of an open concept house surrounded by my children’s nature lab/craft space. I have my small corner of “order” amidst the chaos consisting of: an old pine table, my laptop, printer, small whiteboard, filing cabinet and phone, kids’ art, family photos and seminal books I should read!.
What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on Status of Women and our local Community Sector Council both provide excellent resources and research on professional development opportunities to help build capacity and connections between organizations.
My takeaway and continued motivation lies in this sector’s ability to provide recommendations for greater equity as well as innovative outside the box thinking around solutions. The non-profit sector’s grassroots proximity to both those affected by issues like violence and poverty, and to those who work directly with them helps keep a true pulse on what social/economic planning priorities should be for those in decision-making positions.
What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
I think one of the biggest struggles for this sector is sustained funding. Project work is often the catalyst for some of the most innovative work in this sector. Limited capacity for under-resourced host organizations makes it is difficult to continue the work beyond the funded period, particularly for organizations whose mandates focus on supporting the most vulnerable in our communities. The tendency is to scramble from project to project instead of being able to sustain ongoing work and make real, long-lasting change. Commitment from government around core funding guidelines is needed to advance the ongoing good work that will actually be a cost savings for society as a whole. Intimate partner violence alone costs our federal economy between 5-7.4 billion annually in productivity, justice system and health care costs.
Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org