As a way to mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist profiled Canadians from across the non-profit sector and put a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector. As 2017 drew to a close, we published our final profile of 2017 — reaching our target of speaking with 150 people! The Philanthropist recognizes that Canada’s history did not begin 150 years ago. And it will continue beyond 150 years. In this spirit, we will continue to profile people in the non-profit sector throughout 2018.
Name: Tim Fox
Current role in the sector: Director, Indigenous Relations, Calgary Foundation
Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: Volunteering 20 years (since I was 15 because my mother forced me to) and have worked for 12 years in the sector
What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
My first job and defining moment in the sector was when I was hired as a youth mentor for the Sik-ooh-kotoki Friendship Centre in Lethbridge, AB. I was young, fresh out of high school, probably in my first year of a multi-media productions program at Lethbridge College. I had a supervisor who trained and introduced me to the world of youth work. The next summer student work experience involved a similar type role with Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society. I was more independent and it was then I discovered my passion for advancing the experiences of young Indigenous leaders.
Describe your desk/workspace.
I have an open work space that I try to populate with inspirational cultural objects as a reminder of where I come from and who I am working for. A picture of my family and a few of my daughter hang in my office as a deeper reminder and motivation that my work will make a difference for future generations. A quote by Senator Murray Sinclair is currently highlighted on my white board that reads, “Innovation isn’t always about creating new things. Innovation sometimes involves looking back at our old ways and bringing them forward to this new situation.”
What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I’m reading anything about truth and reconciliation and more recently, ways to create dialogue and promote justice for young people like Colten Boushie. I’m inspired by all things social innovation, ways to mobilize reconciliation efforts and to decolonize practices that impact systems to provide equal space and opportunity for the Indigenous community. I follow my colleagues, friends and mentors on social media such as, @TheCircleCanada, @WeyktKris (Kris Archie), @4rsYouth and finally @SenSincmurr (Senator Murray Sinclair) and @CalgFoundation. I also just finished reading An Army of Problem Solvers by Shaun Loney. I’m now tackling, Collaborating with the Enemy by Adam Kahane.
What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
Change. I believe most parts of any sector are driven by processes, policies and practice created from a dominant paradigm of thought and practice. I don’t believe sectors should feel guilt or shame in how the infrastructures of our operations exist, but the conversations should include ways to learn, unlearn, adjust and change our current ways that include voice, experiences, narratives and processes of others. “The problems we face today will not be solved by a grant. What needs to change is the public will.” Emmett D. Carson. Truth telling is needed to fully realize the potential of reconciliation.
Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org