Weekly News Recap: October 20, 2017

Gord Downie, the Tragically Hip frontman who united a diverse array of music lovers with his commanding stage presence and Canadiana-laced lyrics, has died. (David Bastedo)

I left your house this morning; About a quarter after nine; Could have been the Willie Nelson; Could have been the wine -- Tragically Hip, Bobcaygeon


  • Tragically Hip's Gord Downie dead at 53 (CBC) CANADIAN STORY We knew it was coming. We hoped it would not. We are deeply saddened that it has. RIP Mr. Downie. You have and will continue to inspire us. "Gord Downie, the Tragically Hip frontman who united a diverse array of music lovers with his commanding stage presence and Canadiana-laced lyrics, has died." 10/18/17
  • University mourns passing of former president and vice-chancellor William Cochrane (UToday) CALGARY STORY Our thoughts go out to the friends and family. RIP Dr. Cochrane. "The University of Calgary is saddened to announce the passing of Dr. William A. Cochrane on Oct. 6, 2017. In 1967, Cochrane became the founding dean of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine (now the Cumming School of Medicine), where he established one of only two three-year MD training programs in North America. During his time as president and vice-chancellor from 1974-78, he also established the faculties of humanities and law." 10/18/17
  • Calgary's downtown office vacancy glut shrinks for 1st time since downturn began (CBC) CALGARY STORY Not exactly a 'barnburner' of a return but we'll take it. "CBRE says Calgary's downtown office space got a little less empty in the last quarter for the first time since the sector was gutted by the oilpatch downturn. The commercial realtor says the vacancy rate dropped by 30 basis points to 27.4 per cent in the three months to the end of September, the first dip since the same quarter back in 2014 before the downturn hit." 10/16/17
  • Coventry Hills launches campaign to replace 14 playgrounds (CBC) CALGARY STORY Cool project. One of our recent clients, Vivo, is helping to facilitate this campaign. "The Northern Hills Community Association is undertaking an ambitious plan to replace 14 playgrounds in its neighbourhood, and wants to hear from residents about what they want the new playgrounds to look like, said community association spokesperson Moraig McCabe on the Calgary Eyeopener Monday." 10/16/17
  • Sun Ice founder's charity gives gift of self-sustainability through sewing (CBC) CALGARY STORY ViTrēo is proud to be working with Sewing Seeds Canada. "Started by Sylvia Rempel after moving to Calgary from Germany, Sun Ice got its start when local ski shops showed interest in hand-made winter clothes Rempel had made for her kids, just like her mother used to do for her. She started the company in 1978 with only one seamstress, but fast forward 10 years and Sun Ice was a household name, a Calgary success story and the official outfitter for volunteers at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. By 2006, Rempel sold the company and put her energy toward a new project called Sewing Seeds Canada — a charitable group that builds schools in underprivileged countries to teach sewing skills to women, with the goal of developing self-sustaining businesses and communities." 10/14/17
  • WATCH: RBC invests $450,000 in Red Deer College (Red Deer Express) RED DEER STORY "The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) recently announced a $450,000 investment in Red Deer College (RDC) that will be directed towards many initiatives including mental health and the College’s Shaping Our Future Campaign." 10/13/17
  • Bob McPhee saluted in grand style (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY Bob, you remain amazing. So glad you were feted in this way. "McPhee retired after a 19-year term as general director and CEO of Calgary Opera this past spring. Under his leadership, Calgary Opera thrived, becoming a leader in the creation of new repertoire. Eight new works were commissioned and Calgary Opera became one of only four companies offering comprehensive young artist training programs in the country [...]. Scores of guests gathered at the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Oct. 3 to pay tribute to McPhee and his amazing contributions to the arts community." 10/13/17
  • UAlberta Lands In Top 5 Of Maclean’s University Ranking, Yet Again (Public Now) EDMONTON STORY Nice work UofA. Proud of you. "The University of Alberta has cemented itself as one Canada's elite universities-again ranked fifth in Maclean's University Rankings. The 2018 rankings, to be released in the Canadian news magazine's Oct. 18 issue, saw the U of A hold steady in the top five 'Medical Doctoral' universities, a place it has occupied since it moved in for good in 2007." 10/12/17
  • Aritha van Herk named a Fellow of the Glenbow Museum (UToday) CALGARY STORY Congrats! "To say that the work of author Aritha van Herk has been widely celebrated over the years is an understatement. The veteran professor of creative writing and Canadian literature at the University of Calgary has been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and she’s won the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award. Add to that the Alberta Order of Excellence and a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to culture and the arts. This is but the tip of the iceberg." 10/12/17
  • New Chamber CEO intends to grow business community (Red Deer Express) RED DEER STORY "Congrats on your new role Robin! The Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce began their annual general meeting with speech from their new CEO Robin Bobocel." 10/12/17
  • College President David Walls signs contract extension (e-know.ca) CRANBROOK STORY Congrats! "Jesse Nicholas, Chair of the College of the Rockies Board of Governors, is pleased to announce David Walls has been offered and has accepted an extension to his contract as President and Chief Executive Officer of College of the Rockies." The College of the Rockies located in the southeast corner of British Columbia. The main campus is in Cranbrook, with regional campuses in Creston, Fernie, Golden, Invermere, and Kimberley. 10/12/17
  • Calgary Zoo unveils Brian Keating Conservation Endowment for endangered animals (CBC) CALGARY STORY What a perfect name for this endowment! I love it! "The Calgary Zoo has unveiled an endowment fund of at least $1 million aimed at saving endangered animals. The Brian Keating Conservation Endowment was named for the zoo's former head of conservation outreach. The initial $1 million comes from donations and a variety of funding sources that Keating helped secure during his 30 years with the zoo. The zoo will also match up to $1 million in additional donations to the endowment." 10/11/17
  • Architects propose park to connect downtown with Whyte Avenue (CBC) EDMONTON STORY Brilliant! Shades of the High Line in NYC. "A local collective has a bold new vision for central Edmonton that includes a park that would connect downtown with Whyte Avenue. Architect Michael Zabinski, along with a group of young creative and design professionals, has been working on the High Level Line project for a year." 10/11/17


Stats and Studies

  • Board Management Workshop: Is Your Board Structured for Impact? (Nonprofit Quarterly) There is a ton of good and current information related to best practices in board governance in this study. Of particular note are the findings related to how important it is to effective governance that a board deeply understands the programs of the organization. Another key finding is one I have long believed to be true: boards that have large amounts of social time together tend to be much more highly collaborative than those who do not. Thanks to one of the sector's gurus of governance, ViTrēo's own Andrea McManus for sharing this study. 10/13/17

Life and career hacks

  • Strategy Is Not A To Do List (thinkgrowth.org) A mistake many of us, me inlcuded, have and continue to make. This is a helpful reminder on how to avoid doing just that. 10/9/17
  • What’s in a Routine? (Medium)I get stressed out when someone messes with my routine. Most often though, it's me who did the messing. 9/1/17

Philanthropic personalities

  • George Soros donates $18B US to charity Open Society Foundations (CBC) An immense gift to democracy. "Investor George Soros has transferred about $18 billion US, the majority of his estimated fortune, to his Open Society Foundations, making them the second largest philanthropic grant-making group in the United States [...]." 10/18/17
  • Corporate philanthropy: Inside Shiv Nadars' world of good (Economic Times) "What follows business success is often philanthropy. Family businesses inspired by Rockefeller, Mellon and Gates and concerned about the social, educational, digital and other divides in India want to pay back to the society. Shiv Nadar, billionaire technology czar and founder of the HCL Group, is perhaps one of the early movers on this front, starting to give back early, in the mid-1990s, by setting up an engineering institute in Chennai." 10/16/17
  • Eli Broad, Patron of Los Angeles, to Step Down From His Philanthropy (New York Times) "Eli Broad, a billionaire who has been a dominant figure in this city’s cultural, philanthropic, business and political world for almost 50 years, announced [...] that he is stepping down from public life, saying that it was 'time to move on.'" 10/12/17
  • Bill Gates's Philanthropy Could Lose Him His Spot as the World's Richest (Bloomberg) "Bill Gates is losing hold of his title as the world’s richest person, with Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos once again mounting a challenge for the top spot. But if Gates weren’t so philanthropic, it wouldn’t even be close. Gates has a net worth of $86.8 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He would be worth $150 billion if he hadn’t given away almost 700 million Microsoft Corp. shares and $2.9 billion of cash and other assets to charity [...]." 10/12/17

Philanthropic controversy

  • Keep, Return, or Regift? How to Cleanse Your Hands of Tainted Money (Nonprofit Quarterly) "There’s no law requiring a campaign to return a contribution from someone like Weinstein, who now stands accused of harassing, molesting, bullying and belittling women for decades in Hollywood. But the political consequences for campaigns that don’t cut ties with a donor who might be a crook or a sexual predator or a white supremacist can be harsher than anything the law could dish out." 10/17/17
  • Anglicare faces internal ructions over Sydney diocese $1m no campaign donation (The Guardian) This is related to a story we posted in last week's recap. "The $1m donation to the campaign against same-sex marriage from the Sydney Anglican diocese has infuriated sections of the church’s charity arm, who fear it will undermine the separation between the two bodies. On Wednesday Anglicare Australia, which is made up of representatives from the charity’s state bodies, tweeted that it 'hasn’t donated to the no campaign' and wasn’t 'a party to the Sydney diocese’s decision to make a donation'." 10/12/17
  • OPINION: How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian's donation on a stupid football scoreboard (Boing Boing) This is disturbing. We first shared this story in our September 9, 2016 recap. "In September 2016, we learned that the University of New Hampshire was going to use $1 million that an incredibly frugal librarian saved while working as a library cataloger for 50 years to buy a new scoreboard for its stadium. Now, an enraging investigative piece by Craig Fehrman in Deadspin reveals how the university cynically planned to spin its decision to blow $1m of this librarian's generous gift on a useless frippery for its ill-starred football team while only directing $100k of his donation to the library he loved." 10/11/17
  • Planned Parenthood says $100K donation from Harvey Weinstein ‘went unfulfilled’ (Washington Times) "Planned Parenthood says disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein never made good on a $100,000 donation he pledged at a fundraiser for the nation’s largest abortion provider earlier this year. 'Harvey Weinstein is not and has never been a donor to Planned Parenthood Federation of America,' a Planned Parenthood spokesperson said in a statement. 'The $100,000 pledge referenced went unfulfilled.'" 10/11/17
  • U. will not return $100k donation from Weinstein Foundation amid sexual assault allegations (The Daily Targum) Where exactly the gift was made feels more than a bit...ironic. "Rutgers stood firm in its decision not to return the $100,000 gift bestowed to the University by the H. Weinstein Family Foundation in April despite multiple allegations of sexual harassment against the producer. The donation was given to the University as part of a campaign to raise $3 million for the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies, said Lisa Hetfield, director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL)." 10/11/17

Trends and shifts

  • Philanthropy’s Missing Trillions (Stanford Social Innovation Review) I remain skeptical. Not about the dollar amount being transferred but by how much will flow to philanthropy. "In the next 20 years, an estimated $30 trillion will be inherited in the United States as the large and prosperous Baby Boomer generation passes its wealth on to the next generation. This is the largest wealth transfer in human history, and may be the single greatest opportunity for philanthropy in the modern era." 10/16/17
  • The tipping point for impact investing (The Philanthropist) "We are at a tipping point for impact investing by foundations in Canada. A growing number are using this approach to support organizations and projects that share their mission. They are investing more capital to address issues such as sustainable food production, renewable energy and adjustment to climate change, affordable housing – to name a few – while also making a financial return." 10/16/17
  • Can You Hear Me Now? Another Community Signals the United Way Model Is Outdated (Nonprofit Quarterly) A trend I have also been observing for a while. "Yet another United Way, this time in the Mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon, is reeling from reduced receipts in workplace giving programs. The result has been abrupt cuts in grants to nonprofits, even though those dollars had been already promised and partially allocated [...]. NPQ has reported on similar challenges all across the country." 10/16/17
  • Water Systems Are In Crisis. How Can Funders Help? (Inside Philanthropy) Water has always been important. In the coming decades, there is no doubt that these crises will only increase. Philanthropy can and should play a role in this vital area. 10/11/17

Large gifts

  • Calgary man makes multimillion-dollar donation to B.C. junior hockey team (Globe and Mail) KIMBERLEY STORY That is a ton of cash for a junior hockey club. Good for them. Thanks Mr. Gould. "Mike Gould's love of family and hockey was behind the Alberta man's decision to make a multimillion-dollar donation to a hockey club in southeastern B.C. Giving $7.5-million to the Junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League will help the team in a number of ways [...]." 10/16/17*
  • Hospital gets $3 million donation for project (Finger Lakes Times) "Two longtime local benefactors have committed a combined $3 million for an upcoming renovation project at Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic. Marjorie Morris and G.W. Lisk Co. are making the donation for a $32 million project that will expand and improve the hospital’s primary and preventive care facilities. It will create a new 75,000-square-foot outpatient 'medical village1'." 10/16/17
  • Raiders donate additional $1 million toward North Bay fire relief (Mercury News) "The Raiders will apparently add a sizable donation to the North Bay fire relief efforts on top of their contribution last week with other Bay Area sports franchises. The team pledged $1 million for wildfire relief and recovery [...]." 10/15/17
  • Steel Magnate Renames South Asia Institute with $25 Million Donation (The Harvard Crimson) "Steel magnate Lakshmi N. Mittal and his family donated $25 million to establish an endowment at Harvard’s South Asia Institute, retitling the institute in his namesake. Mittal is the chair and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, and has no prior affiliation with Harvard." 10/15/17
  • Houston Methodist Hospital receives record-breaking $101M donation (Becker's Hospital CFO Report) "Houston Methodist Hospital received a $101 million donation from Rusty and Paula Walter — the largest philanthropic gift in the hospital's 98-year history [...]. The donation [...] will advance the hospitals neuroscience research efforts. About a quarter of the donation will go toward hiring nearly 40 additional physician researchers and the remainder of the donation will help translate scientific discoveries into treatments and create an innovation fund to help spur new research ideas." 10/13/17
  • Dolly Parton announces $1M donation to Children's Hospital (NBC) "In a surprise announcement, Parton pledged to donate $1 million to the hospital in honor of her niece, who was treated there for leukemia several years ago. 'We are here in honor of my niece, Hannah Denison, and I pledged a million dollars because that will help go a long way for some care of the kids,' Parton said. 'Because they were so wonderful with Hannah when she had leukemia here, it was the least I could do.'" 10/13/17
  • $1 million donation for Port Moody hospital (Tri-City News) PORT MOODY STORY "A $1 million donation from a local family will help expand the cardiology department at Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody. The announcement was made at the recent Evening of Caring Gala, when Sharon Perry, a local accountant and daughter of Bruce Kehler, who passed away suddenly in April 2017, gave a keynote address about her experiences at Eagle Ridge Hospital when her father was treated. Her mother Georgina and sister Dawn also joined in the announcement." 10/12/17
  • Salesforce’s philanthropic arm aims for $2 million fire donation (SFGate) "Salesforce.org, the philanthropic arm of San Francisco software company Salesforce, has become the latest technology group to announce donations for fire relief. It will donate $500,000 to “support students and schools in need.” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, are donating $500,000 as well, and the company hopes to raise another $500,000 through employee donations, which Salesforce.org will match dollar for dollar — making for an aspirational goal of $2 million." 10/12/17
  • Jennifer Aniston Makes $1 Million Donation to American Red Cross and Ricky Martin Foundation for Hurricane Relief (People) Everbody needs Friends like this. "Jennifer Aniston has donated $1 million for hurricane relief, PEOPLE has confirmed exclusively. The actress made two big donations this week to help victims of hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma. The first half of the donation went to the American Red Cross to help further its efforts in providing relief and support to people affected by the hurricanes. Another $500,000 went to the Ricky Martin foundation to help relief in the singer’s native home of Puerto Rico, which continues to struggle with lack of resources and electricity." 10/12/17
  • Cleveland Clinic receives $3 million donation from Mandel foundation (Cleveland Jewish News) "The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation has donated $3 million to Cleveland Clinic’s department of preventative medicine in Cleveland. The funds will support projects and programs to better understand and advance personal wellness in areas like applied clinical genetics, cardiovascular disease prevention and cognitive disease prevention." 10/11/17

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