First It’s About The People. All The People

We have a new name. We have been the Vancouver Volunteer Centre or Volunteer Vancouver for 66 years. Our new name is Vantage Point. You might ask, “Why the change?” The answer is: Because the world is changing. Fast. Really fast. Since the inception of our volunteer centre in 1943, Canadian society and volunteer engagement…

The End Of Endowments?

The economic swells of the last 18 months stress-tested the system of charitable endowments. Headlines announced spectacular losses to these long-term funds. My favourite was the headline to a Vanity Fair article that chronicled “Harvard’s Big, Dumb Financial Train Wreck.” The world biggest endowment lost $11 billion of its $36.9 billion.1 While it is tempting…

Civil Society Under Attack

Although politicians and powerful players pay lip service to civil society, the reality on the ground is different. Ask the human rights defender sentenced to ten years in jail in Uzbekistan or the Bosnian anti-corruption group forced to suspend its activities. It is doubtful these individuals would think their work was being properly valued or…

Emergence Of The Youth-led Sector

Introduction A number of years ago, another foundation colleague and I were discussing the emerging youth-led sector. Or, rather, I was trying to explain that there was an emerging youth-led sector and why this was exciting. The notion did not sit well with my colleague, who couldn’t get her head around who, why, and what…

Nonprofit Organizations In Tough Times: The View From Ground Level

The reality and perspective of the small and medium-sized organizations that constitute the majority of nonprofits in the country is critical to understanding the nonprofit landscape. A number of recent surveys have taken a snapshot through the lens of tough economic times, and their findings are significant. The economic downturn of the last eighteen months…

Book Reviews

Giving: Celebrated, Scrutinized, And Studied Sandy Houston Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker Bill Somerville with Fred Setterberg, Berkeley, Ca.: Heyday Books isbn 978-1-59714-084-3 Just Another Emperor? The Myths and Realities of Philanthrocapitalism Michael Edwards, New York, N.Y.: Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action and The Young Foundation (web publication: www.justanotheremperor.org) isbn 978-0-9816151-1-0 Giving,…

Social Media: Facebook for Nonprofits

Our plan was to begin a series of columns on the use of technology by civil society organizations with a glossary of terms and tools with a balanced consideration of the benefits and challenges inherent in each. Like many plans, ours has been overtaken by events. Pundits, journalists, bloggers, and even politicians had become aware…

What’s The Law: A Sketch Of The Income Tax Treatment Of Endowments

“Endowments” are held by many Canadian charities. However, the source of these endowed funds and the nature of the legal conditions applicable to these endowments vary widely. More and more often charities that hold endowments are seeking input on how they can or should spend their endowments. The answer to whether they can only spend income…