Weekly News Recap: January 5, 2018

Paul W. Armstrong, Janine Brodie and Eric Schloss all winners of the Order of Canada

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. -- Dalai Lama XIV

Books to read


  • Edmonton destined to be health innovation hub, says medical task force (CBC) EDMONTON STORY "Move over oil and gas, the next economic driver for the Alberta economy will be innovative health technology, if a gaggle of experts in Edmonton gets its way. Players from the private and public health, economic and technology sectors make up what's called Health City, a non-profit formed about a year and a half ago to support local talent and attract international investment." 1/2/18

  • Looking back at Calgary arts in 2017 (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY "It included two Ewan McGregors, a pregnant sci-fi heroine, irreverent 150th celebrations, Ian Tyson sing-a-longs and some truly bizarre public-art controversies. Yes, 2017 was a wildly entertaining ride for the arts in Calgary." 12/30/17

  • Where have all the donors gone? (Winnipeg Free Press) WINNIPEG STORY These are disturbing trends. "It’s been a similar story with some of the local seasonal charitable campaigns. The Salvation Army — both with its local Christmas Kettle campaign and the national one — has seen a dramatic drop in the amount of donations. Earlier this week, the Salvation Army was $150,000 short of its $375,000 local goal while the national campaign was $9 million below its $21-million goal." Thanks to Ron Bailey for sharing this post. 12/30/17

  • Three Edmontonians receive Order of Canada (Edmonton Journal) CANADIAN STORY Congrats to Janine Brodie, Dr. Paul Armstrong, and to Eric Schloss. Our additional congrats to the six Calgarians who will also be receiving the order including Jann Arden, Dr. Tom Feasby, David Werklund, and Dr. Howard Gimbel. 12/29/17

  • One Canadian project made Architectural Digest's most anticipated buildings of 2018 (CBC) CALGARY STORY What cans we say...we agree. "What do a Danish power plant, a public library in Calgary and a museum in Qatar have in common? Other than being man-made structures, all three construction projects earned spots on Architectural Digest's list of the 12 most anticipated buildings of 2018." 12/29/17

  • Manitoba charities feel hit as Canada at 10-year donation low (Global News) CANADIAN STORY "A recent study by the Fraser Institute in British Columbia shows the amount Canadians donate to charities is at a 10-year low. And some local charities have been feeling the hit this holiday season. Winnipeg Harvest’s December financial donations were at around $485,000 at their last check, which is well below the $900,000 – $1 million they usually receive during the month." 12/27/17

Life and career hacks

Philanthropic personalities

  • 2017 Was a Banner Year, With 3 Gifts of $1 Billion or More (Chronicle of Philanthropy) "It was a banner year for big gifts in 2017, with three donations of $1 billion or more, helping to make it the strongest year for giving in the past decade, according to Chronicle data." 1/2/18

  • Compelling Calgarians: Mary Rozsa (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY "When Mary Rozsa de Coquet took on leadership of her family’s private charitable foundation, she expected to attend a meeting once a year and 'write five cheques.' Instead, the former schoolteacher’s role as chair and executive director of the Rozsa Foundation has spanned 16 years, supporting Calgary’s arts community with grants, consulting and training programs that strengthen the 'back-of-the-house' business of running those organizations." 1/2/18

Philanthropic controversy

  • Barry Sherman’s donations sometimes used to wield political influence (The Toronto Star) TORONTO STORY "Barry Sherman was the philanthropist who once yanked back more than $25 million in promised donations — to a university, two hospitals and an aid group — because he was unhappy with decisions made on Parliament Hill. The founder of pharmaceutical giant Apotex, who died at 75 on Dec. 15, was notably generous throughout his lifetime, donating millions of dollars and plenty of time to charities, research and initiatives. He also used that donation power as a political tool." Thank to Ron Bailey for sharing this post. 1/2/18

  • Anne Arundel SPCA in battle over $750K donation left by former board member (Capital Gazette) "A $750,000 donation from a deceased Annapolis philanthropist to the county’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has landed in court. At issue is which of six organizations should receive the money [...]. The $750,000 was intended for the SPCA — with the condition the group must have “substantially completed a new building from which to conduct its principal activities in Anne Arundel County” during his lifetime or by 10 years after his death, according to court filings. Eisner died in 2007, and the SPCA has not built a new building in that time." 12/31/17

Trends and shifts

Large gifts

  • They work to save the world’s elephants. Now a grant makes Duke a partner (Herald Sun) "A $5 million grant to Duke University will enable students and faculty to work more closely with the World Wildlife Fund, the conservation group best known for its work to protect endangered species. The $5 million that investor Jeff Ubben and his wife, Laurie, gave the Nicholas School has already supported internships and a trio of Ph.D. students, and in 2018-19 will allow a group of undergraduates, graduate students and professors to team up for a special conservation project." 1/1/18

  • Pineapple Fund Donates $5 Million in Bitcoin as Seed Capital for the Poor (Bitcoin.com) "Pine, the anonymous bitcoin whale behind the $86 million Pineapple Fund, has announced a $5 million donation to the organization Give Directly, for its “seed capital for the poor” project. The donation will help sponsor direct cash transfers to people living in extreme poverty conditions in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda." 1/1/18

  • Groups Pledge $2 Million Toward Strengthening Young Adults’ Jewish Identity (Fast Forward) "Two international Jewish groups each pledged $1 million toward, respectively, helping Russian-speakers visit Israel in Taglit-Birthright trips, and supporting innovative projects that strengthen Jewish identity." 12/31/17

  • Open Philanthropy Project Announces $10.8 Million in Research Grants (Philanthropy News Digest) "The Open Philanthropy Project (Open Phil), a limited liability corporation funded largely by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna, has announced grants totaling $10.8 million in support of high-risk medical research." 12/29/17

  • Pharma CEO Makes Massive Donation To Columbia Medical School (MSN.com) "Former Merck CEO Roy Vagelos and his wife Diana gave $250 million to Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. This in order to help some medical students avoid debt. [Columbia] announced that the new scholarship program will allow approximately 20% of students to receive scholarships covering their entire tuition." 12/28/17

  • $2 million anonymous donation spurs First Baptist Church of Palmetto expansion (Bradenton Herald) "The First Baptist Church of Palmetto has a problem, but it’s a good one to have, according to Senior Pastor Phillip Hamm. 'The church membership has been increasing for the past several years, and that has led to some challenges with having enough space to accommodate different groups and programs,' Hamm said in a press release announcing a new $4 million welcome center that will begin construction in January [...]. Thanks to an anonymous $2 million donation toward the project, plans have been accelerated, with construction beginning early next month [...]." 12/28/17

  • The world's largest basic income experiment just received a $5 million donation in bitcoin (Business Insider) "Two of the year's trendiest niche ideas, basic income and bitcoin, have finally crossed paths. The Pineapple Fund, a charity project started by a bitcoin millionaire, has committed $5 million worth of bitcoin to GiveDirectly, an organization that is currently running the largest basic income experiment in history across dozens of villages in rural Kenya." 12/27/17

  • $1.5 million Beeghly donation creates YSU endowment and fellowships (NBC) "Members of a well-known Valley family have pledged $1.5 million to create two fellowships and an endowment at Youngstown State University. Bruce and Nancy Beeghly are making the donation to the to the university's 'We See Tomorrow' fundraising campaign. The gift will be used for continued support of the Beeghly College of Education, including the creation of a new endowment for the college, and for the establishment of two graduate fellowships [...]." 12/27/17

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