Weekly News Recap: November 2, 2018

Sarah Roth is president and CEO of the B.C. Cancer Foundation. PNG

The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks. — Mortimer Adler

Andrea McManus posted to the Provocateur Blog earlier this week. Her post, titled Disrupting Philanthropy: Sacred Cows. deals with the “sacred cows” of fundraising. Galas, year-end appeals, yearly campaigns, programs and events that are repeated annually. What are your sacred cows? In a time of accelerating change such as we are experiencing now in just about every sector, including philanthropy, should you be holding on for dear life to the sacred cows of fundraising? Read and subscribe on our website to never miss a post.


  • He spent 30 years shining shoes -- and raised more than $200,000 for sick kids (CNN) ”Every Tuesday and Thursday, Albert Lexie shined shoes at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He did this every week, for 30 years. He died earlier this month at age 76. What makes Lexie's story so remarkable is what he did with the money he collected in tips. He donated them all to a fund that helped sick kids. More than $200,000.” 10/25/18

  • Meet Morgaine McFarland (Outdoors For All) A beautiful and powerful fundraising case for support. Thank you to Mick Mulloy for sharing this story. ”This year, [Outdoors For All] welcomed Morgaine McFarland and her parents, Jenny and Michael, to share their story and how Outdoors for All programs have impacted them. Almost five years ago, Morgaine was in a near fatal car accident that has left her still recovering today. But her tenacity has her making unfounded progress in her recovery and Outdoors for All has helped her to be able to get back to experiencing activities like cycling, kayaking and skiing.” 2018


  • Edmonton veterinary clinic helping 'poorest of the poor' provide for their pets (CBC) EDMONTON STORY ”Connie Varnhagen knows pets can be a crucial lifeline for Edmontonians living below the poverty line. As a veterinary nurse and president of the Alberta Helping Animals Society, Varnhagen helps provides some of the city's most marginalized people access to veterinary care for their animals. Her clients are isolated by poverty, illness or addiction. Their pets provide stability, routine, comfort and companionship.” 10/30/18

  • 25 charities earn accreditation - Investing in trust, building excellence through common standards of practice (Imagine Canada) CANADIAN STORY Congrats to all. ”Imagine Canada, the umbrella for Canada’s charitable sector, announces the most recent group of organizations to have achieved accreditation under its national Standards Program. Twenty organizations were successfully reaccredited while five earned their accreditation for the first time, bringing the growing number of accredited organizations to 242.” 10/30/18

  • Library windows offer patrons opportunity to create lasting legacy (CBC) CALGARY STORY It’s a big week for Calgary and the Calgary Public Library. Congrats on your opening festivities. ”Thanks to an innovative fundraising program, there will be more than just sunlight shining through those 485 exterior glass panels of the new Central Library. Windows of Opportunity is a program that allows donors to have their names embedded into the new downtown library, which opens its doors to the public on Thursday at 10 a.m.” 10/29/18

  • Wildlife corridor in southwest Alberta named after former premier Jim Prentice (CBC) ALBERTA STORY A fitting tribute. RIP Mr. Prentice. ”A swath of land in southwestern Alberta has been protected and named in honour of former premier Jim Prentice. The Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor, which is in the Crowsnest Pass, is roughly five kilometres wide from east to west. It will connect Crown forest reserve land in the north to the Castle parks, as well as to Waterton Lakes National Park in the south and the adjoining Glacier National Park on the U.S. side. Prentice's widow, Karen Prentice, said the family is strongly behind the legacy project.” 10/26/18

  • Family of Barry and Honey Sherman offers reward of up to $10M for information about killings (CBC) TORONTO STORY ”The family of Honey and Barry Sherman is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of suspects in the deaths of the billionaire couple, whose bodies were found in their mansion last December.” 10/26/18

  • Airbus H145 chosen to replace STARS air ambulance fleet (CBC) CANADIAN STORY ”STARS, the air ambulance service, has found new helicopters to replace its aging fleet — and now it just needs to find a way to pay for them. The first two Airbus H145 helicopters will arrive in Calgary in late spring 2019[.] They come with a price tag of about $13 million each. The plan is to replace the entire fleet of nine helicopters by 2022 at a total cost of about $117 million, said STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson.” 10/25/18

  • Tumbler Ridge residents say yes to funding dinosaur museum — with caveat (CBC) TUMBLER RIDGE ”Museum's funding has been in limbo since council voted against awarding funding earlier this year […]. The residents of Tumbler Ridge have said yes to funding its embattled dinosaur museum — as long as it makes a few changes […]. Keith Bertrand, the mayor-elect of Tumbler Ridge, said 46 per cent of residents voted for funding the museum with added attractions and more child, tourism and family related services.” 10/25/18

  • New youth science program at Telus Spark aims to destigmatize mental health (Global News) CALGARY STORY Nice one Telus Spark! ”The Science of Mental Health workshop is geared towards youth (Grades 3 to 6 and 9 to 11), teachers and professionals, to explore what’s happening in their brains and bodies — or their physiology — when they’re dealing with stress.” 10/25/18

  • The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy Announces 2018 High Performers List (PR NewsWire) Congrats to all but especially to the Canadian organizations on this list. ”The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) has recognized 54 U.S. and 10 Canadian development organizations as high-performing fundraisers in the health care industry for fiscal year 2017 [...]. The full list is available here.” 10/24/18

  • Homeless man didn't like the shelter breakfasts, so now he's a cook there (CBC) FORT MACLEOD STORY ”It started with a conversation with a homeless shelter employee about the lacklustre breakfast offerings. For three years, Gainford was in and out of detox programs and living on the streets of Fort Macleod, Alta., and nearby Lethbridge. Today, he's celebrating one year working at the Foothills Detox Centre. In fact, he does two jobs there. He helps new clients and works in the kitchen.” 10/24/18

  • Senate passes bill that would ban whale, dolphin captivity in Canada (CBC) CANADIAN STORY ”After a multi-year legislative battle, a bill to outlaw keeping cetaceans like whales and dolphins in captivity has cleared the Senate — all but ensuring the end of a once-popular theme park attraction in Canada. S-203 — first introduced by now-retired Liberal senator Wilfred Moore in December 2015, with the backing of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May — would ban keeping and breeding these marine mammals in captivity through amendments to the Criminal Code.” 10/24/18

First Peoples of Canada

  • Rollinmud’s art displayed at new Central Library (Rocky Mountain Outlook) CALGARY STORY ”Stoney Nakoda’s renowned artist Roland Rollinmud is on the verge of a historic moment in his storied career. Artwork from six Indigenous artists – all connected to Treaty 7 – including Rollinmud, will be prominently featured in Calgary’s new Central Library [...]. ”10/25/18

  • Alberta band settles long-standing land claim for $113M and swath of land (CBC) ALBERTA STORY ”After decades of failed negotiations, broken promises, standoffs, arrests and global condemnation, Alberta, Canada, and the Lubicon Lake Band have announced a landmark land settlement and compensation deal. Premier Rachel Notley said the deal sets aside 246 square kilometres of land in the area of Little Buffalo, in northern Alberta. The federal government is delivering $95 million in compensation, and Alberta will add $18 million.” 10/24/18

Life and career hacks

Uncommon knowledge

  • Franken-algorithms: the deadly consequences of unpredictable code (The Guardian) Yep, we have. “In some ways we’ve lost agency. When programs pass into code and code passes into algorithms and then algorithms start to create new algorithms, it gets farther and farther from human agency. Software is released into a code universe which no one can fully understand.” 8/30/18


  • Non-profit overhead (Seth’s Blog) Oh Seth, as usual, you are AWESOME. ”Everywhere else in our lives, we happily invest in the best solution to our problem. Whether it’s surgery, vegetables or a designer, we seek to invest in expertise and resources that not only fit our budget but get the job done. If a problem is worth solving, it’s worth engaging with the right people to solve it with urgency, isn’t it?” Thanks to Kelly Morris for sharing this post. 10/29/18

  • The Millennial Myth (The Agitator) The Agitator never minces words. This is one of the reasons we love this blog. ”Or, as marketing professor Mark Ritson puts it in Marketing Week: ‘If your segment is populated by different people who want different things, it is not a segment. It’s a joke and so are your skills as a marketer.’” 10/29/18

Philanthropic personalities

Philanthropic controversy

  • Pro sports charities hoarding cash, overspending on fundraising, watchdog says (CBC) CANADIAN STORY ”Group cites lack of transparency, high fundraising costs and excessive cash reserves.” AFP Canada’s response to this story can be found here. 10/31/18

  • 25 Charities Directed by Blake Bromley &/or Employees of Benefic Group Inc: THIS is Charity? (Rethink Campaigns) This is an evolving story and was breaking news in the Globe and Mail last week. Alas, we could not (and still can’t) share the story properly in the recap because it is behind a paywall. Instead, here is the original story source for the Globe’s story. If you are a Globe subscriber, you can get the story here. ”Blake Bromley, a Vancouver-based lawyer, claims to have registered more than 650 charities and executed more than $2 billion worth of charitable giving. Mr. Bromley refers to himself as ‘one of the world's foremost experts in charity law, and the recognized pioneer of charitable law and gifting in Canada.’ Of the 650 charities that Mr. Bromley has been involved with, so far I have taken a look at the finances of 70 registered charities. Of these, the charitable status of 20 has been revoked; seven had their status revoked following an audit by the CRA while 13 revoked their status voluntarily. All of these charities share a common core of directors, including Blake Bromley and the employees of his company, Benefic Group.” 5/18/18

Trends and shifts

  • Peeling the onion of Russian philanthropy: reflections on the Russian Donors Forum annual conference (Alliance Magzine) ”Underneath the skin of the mighty onion of philanthropy in Russia lies another layer, and another, and another, each adding freshness and zest of an essential ingredient of the goulash of civil society. Proof of the progressiveness and thoughtfulness within the field was provided in the topic ‘Philanthropy is more than money – non-financial resources of philanthropic activity’ that the Russian Donors Forum chose for its annual conference in Moscow [...].” 10/30/18

  • “Where Do We Go From Here?” Philanthropy and What’s Next for the #MeToo Movement (Inside Philanthropy) ”A persistent challenge of social movements is to translate early energy and activism into long-term changes in policies and institutions. This struggle is much on the minds of advocates and funders a year after the #MeToo hashtag went viral with a tweet from Alyssa Milano in response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations.” 10/29/18

Family Foundations

  • FAMILY FOUNDATIONS BENEFIT FROM DIVERSE BOARDS (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy) ”Having voices from outside the family as independent trustees and advisors has proven a vital step toward sharing power, bringing us closer to the issues and communities we care about, and pushing us to have the most positive impact possible.” 10/23/18

Reports and studies

Large gifts

  • Swiss philanthropist donates $1-billion to conservation efforts, including an Indigenous Protected Area in the Northwest Territories (Globe and Mail) CANADIAN CONTENT Now this. This.Is.Amazing. ”A Swiss businessman and philanthropist will donate a billion dollars over the next decade to protect more of the Earth’s lands and waters from development, and one of the first projects he will help fund is an Indigenous Protected Area in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Hansjorg Wyss, 83, announced during a teleconference from Washington on Wednesday the launch of the Wyss Campaign for Nature. Its objective is to convince world leaders, who will meet in 2020 to set biodiversity preservation targets, to agree to conserve 30 per cent of the world in its natural state by 2030. That would double the amount of planetary surface that is currently protected.” 10/31/18

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