Weekly News Recap: January 19, 2018

Dr. Catherine Zahn, president and CEO of CAMH, said "some people understand that perhaps an anonymous gift may be the most sacred way of giving.” (VINCE TALOTTA / TORONTO STAR)

Information consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. -- Herbert Simon

Events of note

  • CCVO Connections 2018 (CCVO) CALGARY CONTENT The annual Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) Connections Conference is being held on April 11, 2018. Former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, is a featured speaker. ViTreo's Scott Decksheimer will be moderating a panel on "Thinking Differently About Alberta and Canada – changing perspectives." Register today January 2018.

Just cool


  • East Village to see flurry of 'milestone' development in 2018 (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY "As a decade of revitalization efforts begin to take hold in the East Village, the next few months will see the pace of development ratcheted up even further ahead of the opening of the New Central Library next fall." 1/16/18

  • First community donation made to new cardiovascular surgery program in Thunder Bay, Ont. (CBC) THUNDER BAY STORY "The Cardiovascular Surgery Program at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre got a significant boost earlier this week thanks to a $500,000 donation from Tbaytel." 1/16/18

  • Northumberland Humane Society ‘at a loss for words’ after receiving donation of nearly half-a-million dollars (Global News) NORTHUMBERLAND STORY "The Northumberland Humane Society say they are speechless after receiving what it calls a life-changing donation of $444,208; one of the largest donations it has received during its 50 years in operation [...]. Josephine Pattaschery [...] donated the amount from her estate to the shelter." 1/15/18

  • World's biggest YMCA opens in Rocky Ridge, with library, rinks and gymnasiums (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY Congrats! ViTreo is very proud to have been the YMCA's fundraising counsel on this project. "The largest YMCA in the world officially opened in Calgary’s northwest on Monday. The Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge boasts typical health and fitness offerings like pools, ice rinks, gymnasiums, running track and climbing wall, and exciting extras including a 250-seat theatre, art-making spaces and even an express library." 1/15/18

  • 'It's almost like you're connected to the horizon': Why Remai Modern is getting international attention (CBC) SASKATOON STORY Congrats! Well-deserved accolades. "Remai Modern is gaining international attention — not only for the art within it, but for the design of the building itself. Architecture and design magazine Azure named it one of the top 10 best new buildings in the world, and the New York times named Saskatoon one of its 52 places to visit in 2018, thanks to the new art gallery." 1/11/18

  • Campaign grows to donate rebate gift cards to food banks (CBC) CALGARY STORY How great is this? "The social media campaign urging Calgarians to give the Calgary Food Bank their free grocery store gift cards — available to customers after a bread price-fixing scandal — just got a little more streamlined, thanks to Save-On-Foods. The food chain, which has stores across Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C., announced it's offering $25 gift cards to people who were members of its More Rewards loyalty program prior to Dec. 31, 2017." 1/11/18

Case study

  • Large Gift Spurs Chicago Church to Reach Out in ‘Risky Acts of Love’ (Christian Reformed Church) This is an interesting case study on how the Church decided embrace generosity. "Rev. Laura Sumner Truax wasn’t sure what to think when a lawyer told her in 2014 that her nondenominational church near downtown Chicago would be receiving a check for $1.6 million. The money came from the sale of a housing-complex property that her church and other churches in the area had helped develop in the 1970s." 1/15/18

Books to read

Life and career hacks

Uncommon knowledge

  • The Science of Hiking (Medium) Want to refresh and replenish your brain? You guessed it. Go for a hike. And now the science behind what my hiking guru and wife, Christine, has always known. 11/19/18

Philanthropic personalities

  • 'You have to earn trust and respect': David Werklund named to Order of Canada (CBC) CALGARY STORY Congrats Mr. Werklund! Very well deserved. "From a hugely successful career in oil and gas through spearheading environmental protection practices and a focus on youth leadership and public education, David Werklund credits his values and drive to growing up on the family farm in Valleyview, Alta." 1/16/18

  • Colin Kaepernick to complete $1M donation pledge to social causes (Fox Business) "Free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick says he will complete his pledge to donate $1 million to social justice causes on Wednesday, more than a year after he first announced his intent to give back to disenfranchised communities." 1/16/18

  • Hispanics in Philanthropy has a new president (Al Dia News) Congrats to Ms. Argilagos. "Ana Marie Argilagos, former deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama Administration, is the new Latina in charge of one of the most important charitable Hispanic organizations in the United States." 1/12/18

  • Who’s the New Funder on the Anti-Human Trafficking Scene? (Inside Philanthropy) Have you heard of N2 Publishing? Me neither. But I have now because their philanthropic giving arm, N2GIVES, announced that it was giving $2.5 million to 35 nonprofits around the world taking direct aim at ending human trafficking. 1/11/18

  • A Conversation with Rockefeller Foundation’s Rajiv Shah (Stanford Social Innovation Review) Great interview. For some local context, in 1920 the Rockefeller Foundation made a gift of $100 million for the improvement of medical education North America. Of this, the University of Alberta received $500,000. "Rajiv Shah took the helm of the Rockefeller Foundation in March 2017. He recently visited the offices of SSIR [Stanford Social Innovation Review], where senior editor David Johnson asked him about his work leading the more than 100-year-old foundation with more than $4.2 billion in assets, the role of philanthropy in times of austerity, and the new initiatives that Rockefeller is undertaking both domestically and abroad." 1/11/18

  • Who is Greg Abel? Meet the Canadian who could be the next Warren Buffett (Financial Post) CANADIAN CONTENT "The person most likely to succeed the world’s most successful investor, Warren Buffett, is an Edmontonian with a University of Alberta business degree." 1/10/18


Philanthropic controversy

  • Couple sues non-profit over allegedly misappropriated donation (Insurance Business America) Gift agreements are crucial. "A couple from Pennsylvania is suing a Merchantville, NJ-based non-profit, alleging that the organization did not honor an agreement related to a previous donation. Berwyn locals Christopher and Carol Garavente claimed in the suit that their $250,000 donation was made to the non-profit then known as Friends of L’Arche New Jersey with the condition that their son Louis could live in the home once he reached the age of 21. While the organization later utilized the funds to purchase a house, the agreement was seemingly forgotten." 1/16/18

  • Soros donation helped to boost Amnesty’s revenue by 8% (Irish Times) We first shared this in our Dec 15, 2017 recap. "The controversial €137,000 donation from a George Soros funded organisation to Amnesty International Ireland contributed to a 8 per cent boost in human right’s group’s revenues in 2016." 1/14/18

  • B.C. museums feel 'belittled' by McDonald's ad (CBC) CANADIAN STORY "A new McDonald's advertisement suggesting $5 is better spent on a meal than learning about dinosaurs has upset supporters of B.C.'s museums. 'You could get a museum tour for $5,' the male narrator in the 15-second radio spot says. A woman playing the role of a museum guide then cuts in. 'There were dinosaurs and then there weren't,' she says. 'OK, then, exit through the gift shop!' The narrator then returns to inform listeners that, alternatively, they could spend their $5 (plus tax) on a value meal with a sandwich, fries and drink, 'at participating restaurants.'" Update: McDonald's Canada apologized and pulled the radio ad one day after CBC aired the story. 1/10/18

Trends and shifts

  • Philanthropy in Asia hampered by trust issues, says report (devex) "Philanthropy could be a huge resource for development organizations in Asia, but a host of factors are keeping Asia’s billionaires and philanthropists from giving more, according to a new report. Asia plays host to the largest number of billionaires in the world, with about 637 as of 2017, surpassing the number of billionaires in the United States (563) and Europe (342) for the first time, and the concentration of wealth in Asia is projected to grow over coming years." 1/16/18

  • Bitcoiners turn to philanthropy (Brave New Coin) "Using Bitcoin to send donations is a well-worn and proven concept, and 2017’s unprecedented bitcoin gains have enabled various early adopters to launch philanthropic endeavours [...]. BitGive then developed a charity donation tracking platform that [...] helps streamline the process of donating to charities in a much more transparent way than was previously possible." 1/15/18

  • United Way comes up $500,000 short; will start new donation campaign at Wegmans (Syracuse.com) This has emerged as a disturbing trend. "The United Way of Central New York has come up short on the goal for its annual Community Campaign, leaving funding for some programs in jeopardy." 1/12/18

  • Is Personalized Learning the Next Big Thing in K-12 Philanthropy? (Inside Philanthropy) Clearly, this is a large mountain to climb but some funders think it's worth it. I agree. "A former senior program officer at the Gates Foundation has noticed something changing when people talk about personalized learning. 'A lot of the conversation would be about why. Why do you need personalized learning? Why is it a good innovation and direction we should be going in?' Helayne Jones said. 'And now, you’re not hearing the questions about why. You’re hearing the questions about how.'" 1/11/18

Large gifts

  • Rose-Hulman looks to boost diversity work with $1M donation (Miami Herald) "Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in western Indiana is planning to work on improving the diversity of its faculty and staff with a $1.1 million donation. The Terre Haute school says that graduate Richard L. Conn gave the money to the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering." 1/17/18

  • Johns Hopkins Just Got the Largest Donation Ever Given to a Philosophy Department (Chronicle of Higher Education) Wow! Just wow! "A well-known investor is giving a $75-million donation to the Johns Hopkins University’s philosophy department, and the university is calling the gift the largest ever for a philosophy program." 1/16/18

  • EduTech co-founded by Heriot-Watt graduate receives $1m Bitcoin donation (FutureScot) "A non-profit, co-founded by a Heriot-Watt graduate, has received an anonymous donation of $1m from one of the world’s largest holders of Bitcoin. Quill, which helps children become better writers, said the money will be used to develop the online tool’s artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities." 1/16/18

  • Chan Zuckerberg philanthropy taps UMass Amherst to create AI scientific research tool (Boston Globe) Nice! I hope it works. "A philanthropy started by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan has awarded a $5.5 million grant to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Data Science to create a free tool that would make millions of published scientific and medical findings easily accessible to researchers worldwide." 1/16/18

  • Songbook Foundation considering what to do with donation of $30M Simon Estate (Current) Gifts of land can be tricky. "Great American Songbook Foundation officials announced Jan. 4 that the nonprofit will accept the donation of the $30 million Asherwood Estate, a gift too generous to pass up, they said [...]. Foundation officials expect to take three years to study the 107-acre site donated by Bren Simon, widow of shopping mall magnate and Indiana Pacers co-owner Mel Simon, and weigh their options." 1/16/18

  • Stockton's mayor announces $20 million donation to send high school students to college (ABC) Thanks to a $20 million anonymous donation, between 700 and 800 students from the Stockton Unified School District will get a 'free ride' to college. 1/16/18

  • NorQuest College gifted $2 million, largest in 77-year history of civic employees charitable fund (Edmonton Journal) EDMONTON STORY "The donation — which represents the efforts of over 11,000 members, from nine different unions and associations — was unveiled Tuesday at NorQuest’s downtown campus. In recognition of the gift, the college’s Heritage Tower is to be renamed the Civic Employees Legacy Tower." 1/16/18

  • Raptors' Lowry donates $1-million to Villanova campaign (Globe and Mail) CANADIAN CONTENT "Toronto Raptors point guard and Villanova alum Kyle Lowry and his wife have pledged $1-million to [Villanova University's] comprehensive capital campaign, 'For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change.'" Villanova University is a private research university located in Radnor Township, a suburb northwest of Philadelphia. 1/14/18

  • Awesome Games Done Quick Sets New Donation Record: $2.26 Million (PC Magazine) Nice work gamers! "Charity speedrunning event Awesome Games Done Quick wrapped up its annual fundraising marathon this morning. And it wasn't just the streamers that were breaking records over the event's seven days of non-stop, 24-7 gaming. While some donations might still trickle in even after the event's official sign-off, Awesome Games Done Quick raised a record $2,263,839.19 as of this article's writing—beating the previous year's total by just over $41,000." 1/14/18

  • Boca Raton Regional Hospital has big plans for $35 million in donations (Palm Beach Post) "Three donors gifted the Boca Raton Regional Hospital $35 million, which will help fund a seven-story patient tower and intensive care unit. Stanley and Marilyn Barry, Christine E. Lynn, and Richard and Barbara Schmidt donated the $35 million in what the hospital is calling 'one of the most profound displays of philanthropy' in the hospital’s history." 1/13/18

  • Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford Makes Largest Single Donation Ever to San Diego Zoo (NBC) This is one of the world's greatest zoos. What a great gift. "Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford announced that he is making a $30 million donation—the largest single gift the San Diego Zoo has ever received. This generous gift will go toward the estimated $69 million cost of constructing a brand-new, completely reimagined children’s zoo, to be named The Sanford Children’s Zoo." 1/13/18

  • Jeff Bezos just donated $33 million in college scholarships for 'dreamers' (CNBC) Could this be the start of the Bezos' philanthropy? Even if not, this is a wonderful gift. "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos donated $33 million in college scholarships for "dreamers" — childhood undocumented immigrants granted stay in the country under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program." 1/12/18

  • Children's Mercy receives $150 million donation for new Children's Research Institute (NBC) "Doctors researching cures for childhood cancer, studying ways to use a patient's genes to better treat them, and preventing chronic kidney disease will have a new space for their work in Kansas City come 2020. [Children's] Mercy Hospital announced its largest, one-time gift ever, which will make building the Children's Research Institute possible. The Hall Family Foundation and the Sunderland Foundation each donated $75 million to the institute." 1/12/18

  • Texas women's basketball receives largest donation in history (247 Sports) "Longtime Lady hoops supporters Julia Hickman and Cecil Reynolds are donating $20 million to Texas Athletics. Their joint gift will establish the Cecil Reynolds and Julia Hickman Center for Student-Athlete Brain & Behavioral Health." 1/11/18

  • Anonymous donor gives Centre for Addiction and Mental Health record $100M (CBC) TORONTO STORY Humungous boom! Wow. Double wow! What a truly magnificent gift to Canada's largest mental health hospital, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). And it's anonymous. And unrestricted. Terrific all around. We are proud to be working with CAMH in support of their fundraising campaign. 1/11/18

  • Penticton hospital tower fundraiser closer to goal with $1 million donation (INFOnews.ca) PENTICTON STORY "John Moorhouse with the foundation says the $1 million donation from Ed and Claire Festel's estate has put the fund to the $16 million mark of the $20 million campaign." 1/11/18

  • OSU lands $2 million donation for new concert hall (Gazette Times) "The university [...] announced it had received a gift commitment from the family of a Portland-area arts advocate to build a new concert hall as part of the complex. The $2 million gift, from the family of the late Lynne Detrick of West Linn, will help develop what OSU hopes will be an acoustically superior concert hall that would seat between 400 to 600 people." 1/10/18

  • Creative Bath Products makes $5M donation to Lustgarten, MSK (Newsday) "Central Islip-based Creative Bath Products is donating more than $5 million in proceeds from a building sale to two area organizations that help fight cancer. The private label manufacturer is donating about $4 million to Woodbury-based The Lustgarten Foundation, and another $1.3 million to New York-based cancer care system Memorial Sloan Kettering [...]." 1/10/18

  • Raven gives 'historic' $5 million donation to South Dakota State University for Precision Agriculture Facility (Argus Leader) "A Sioux Falls company is donating millions of dollars toward building a home for the precision agriculture program at South Dakota State University." 1/9/18

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