Weekly News Recap: December 22, 2017

Eva Friesen, president and CEO of the Calgary Foundation (CF). Photo by EWAN PHOTO VIDEO.

There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for. ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers


  • Wealthy philanthropist leaves $1M in will to city for golf course (CBC) CALGARY STORY "A Calgary philanthropist has bequeathed the City of Calgary $1 million — to be spent [on] a public golf course. David McClement died on April 10, 2016, at the age of 85. His will revealed that he wanted to give the city $1 million for the Shaganappi Point Golf Course, where he often played." 12/20/17

  • Province funds Inuit Art Centre, heritage centres (Winnipeg Free Press) WINNIPEG STORY This looks awesome. "The Inuit Art Centre will be a world-class attraction, predicts Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox." Thanks to Ron Bailey for sharing this and the following great post from Winnipeg 12/19/17

  • Local charities find donations are down this Christmas (Winnipeg Free Press) WINNIPEG STORY "Where is Winnipeg’s Christmas spirit? Local charities operating holiday campaigns to help the hungry are finding their donation stockings emptier so far this season. Winnipeg Harvest and the Salvation Army are reporting large drops in donations, the Christmas Cheer Board says it is running a bit behind but it is still positive, and Siloam Mission is praying the donations it still needs come during the next two weeks." 12/19/17

  • BMO makes $250K donation to the Children’s Discovery Museum (Global News) SASKATOON STORY Thanks BMO! "The capital campaign for the PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum has now reached 70 per cent of its goal after a donation from BMO Financial Group." 12/18/17

  • Dialog’s Singhmar Centre marks Tom Sutherland’s final design (Canadian Architect) EDMONTON STORY I worked on a number of projects with Tom. A brilliant and kind human. A lovely legacy, among many. "Opened in time for the first day of classes as finishing touches were being applied in September, the expanded Singhmar Centre for Learning brought a major new presence to Edmonton’s NorQuest College. Designed by Canada’s Dialog, the newly opened $192.3 million expansion project represents the last work of late Dialog Principal Tom Sutherland, who tragically passed away in a 2015 skiing accident." 12/18/17

  • Nenshi's chief of staff, Chima Nkemdirim, resigns after 7 years in the role (CBC) CALGARY STORY I, like many, count Chima as a friend. He has served our city very well. Thank you Chima and good luck in your next adventures. "Chima Nkemdirim, the chief of staff to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, has resigned after seven years at the mayor's side. 'He is leaving the city to pursue an opportunity in the private sector in mid-January," Nenshi announced during Monday's city council meeting.' 12/18/17

  • Billionaire philanthropists found dead in basement under suspicious circumstances, police say (Washington Post) TORONTO STORY "Barry Sherman, 75, the founder of Canadian pharmaceutical giant Apotex, was one of the richest people in the world. Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.2 billion, good for the 12th spot on the list of the richest Canadians. He’d appeared on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires for 15 years." 12/17/17

  • Nick Lees: NAIT's 'incredibly ambitious' fundraising campaign almost at finish line (Edmonton Journal) EDMONTON STORY Congrats to NAIT and to all the donors that made this possible. ¨In time for festive celebrations, NAIT reports being a snowflake away from its $100-million campaign target, a critical goal in its vision to be celebrated as a world-leading polytechnic.¨ 12/15/17

  • Bea Arthur gave big to homeless LGBTQ youth in her will. This is what came of it. (Upworthy) Oh, I love this story. I miss Maude. Even more now. Thanks to Mary Beth Taylor at Creaddo Group for sharing this post. "Back in 2009, Carl Siciliano wasn't sure if his nonprofit was going to survive the throes of the Great Recession. The Ali Forney Center, a group committed to helping homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City, was on the brink of eviction [...]. Then he got a phone call from the estate of Bea Arthur. Arthur ('Maude,' 'The Golden Girls') had recently passed away. And Ali Forney was in her will. It wasn't necessarily shocking news — the late actor had been a supporter of the organization, giving donations to the group and using her one-woman show, 'Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends,' to raise funds for the nonprofit's work. But Ali Forney, Siciliano learned, was at the top of her will's list of charities. Arthur left $300,000 to The Ali Forney Center." 12/14/17

  • Fort McMurray charities see higher need for holiday donations (CBC) FORT MCMURRAY STORY "Fort McMurray charities are seeing more need and fewer donations as the effects of the 2016 wildfire and a lagging local economy continue to linger. One of the season's largest charity campaigns, Santas Anonymous, is in its final push to collect toys and other items for about 1,000 families who have signed up this year." 12/15/17

  • Majority of Albertans support public funding for religious schools, poll says (CBC) ALBERTA STORY "A new poll suggests a majority of Albertans support at least partial public funding for religious schools [...]. The survey results in Alberta found that 30 per cent favour no funding for religious schools, 27 per cent said there should be partial funding, and 43 per cent said religious schools deserve full funding on par with public schools." 12/15/17

  • Inn From the Cold abandons plans for Erlton shelter after neighbourhood opposition (CBC) CALGARY STORY "A local non-profit has axed its plans to move its homeless shelter from its downtown location to a former school in southwest Calgary after facing heated opposition from area residents. Inn From the Cold executive director Abe Brown said the charity's current spot on 11th Avenue S.E. is not ideal for homeless families with young children looking to get back on their feet." 12/14/17

  • The societal problem of poverty, and the work Streets Alive Mission is doing to deal with it (Lethbridge News Now) LETHBRIDGE STORY Streets Alive does fantastic work in southern Alberta. At ViTreo, we are proud to be working with Streets Alive Mission. "The holiday season is a time when people help give back to the less fortunate in their community, but it isn't the only time of year the less fortunate need help. 'Poverty is not an issue, it's a real societal problem that affects real people, including here in Lethbridge.' That from Marie McLennan, the Associate Director of Philanthropy with Streets Alive Mission." 12/13/17

  • A Champion of Charity (Business Calgary) CALGARY STORY This is a great article and so terrific to see a non-profit leader on the cover of Business in Calgary says ViTreo Group Chair and Partner, Andrea McManus. "Eva Friesen spends much of her time measuring impact. As president and CEO of the Calgary Foundation (CF), her focus is on the community, the charitable organizations serving it, and, most importantly, the outcomes of this service. The who, why and what of charitable work are what most interest her. At the same time, her impact – not only at the CF but on the city as a whole – is, by all accounts, immeasurable." 12/1/17

  • U of C study links increased demand for Calgary Food Bank with other social assistance needs (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY Not a surprising finding but a confirming one. "As the charity braces for a holiday season clientele nearly 45 per cent larger than its normal traffic, demands for the Calgary Food Bank are rising in tandem with social assistance needs, states a University of Calgary study." 12/13/17


  • Opinion: Public libraries are not the place to cut costs (Edmonton Journal) EDMONTON STORY I could not agree more. ¨While Colin Craig justifiably wants to ensure government and public services are run as cost-effectively as possible, public libraries are always struggling to work efficiently. In many cases, library funding is at such a level that boards struggle with increasing demands from patrons for new services and materials, while at the same time meeting the new legislated minimum-wage requirements. One thing is certain, whether it is in large centres or in tiny, rural municipalities, public libraries are often the last safe, inclusive public space many families have access to in these tough economic times.¨ 12/16/17

Life and career hacks

Uncommon knowledge

  • Deep Dive Into Graph Traversals (freeCodeCamp) Ever wondered how Facebook makes its friend recommendations? Yep, this is for algorithm nerds only. You're welcome. 12/10/17

Philanthropic personalities

  • Getting Realist: Charles Koch Ramps Up Efforts to Reshape U.S. Foreign Policy (Inside Philanthropy) Great (and balanced piece) on the Koch Brothers. "As a general rule, the Koch Brothers' higher ed giving aims to advance the pair's free market libertarian views. Conservatives cheer, but left-leaning critics caution that such gifts are often Trojan Horses for more nefarious and self-centered purposes." 12/14/17

Philanthropic controversy

  • In fight against fentanyl, Edmonton society raising money and red flags (CBC) EDMONTON STORY Um...this is a really big crisis and, actually, many agencies (all of whom know what they are doing) have stepped up. "An Edmonton-based group called the Canadian Fentanyl Prevention Society says it wants to raise awareness about the deadly opioid epidemic, which has cost the lives of 143 Albertans in the last three months alone. But those leading the non-profit fundraising group admit they have no background in health or addictions, leading some critics to question if the organization is equipped to take on the job." 12/15/17

Trends and shifts

Large gifts

  • CVS announces $1 million donation to area nonprofits (Providence Journal) "Nearly 80 area nonprofit organizations across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts were beneficiaries of last summer’s CVS Health Charity Classic golf tournament, the company’s president and CEO Larry Merlo announced on Tuesday." 12/19/17

  • Fisher Catholic receives $1 million donation (Lancaster Eagle-Gazette) "The William V. Fisher Catholic Education Foundation and the St. Mary's of the Assumption Foundation will share a $1 million donation from the estate of Harold R. and Libby Schorr and Robert Schorr to help students receive an education at the high school and grade school." 12/19/17

  • St. Vincent Healthcare receives $1 million donation for spiritual care program in Billings (KTVQ.com) "Former Billings neurosurgeon Dr. John Moseley and his wife Cheryl, a retired registered nurse first assistant, donated the gift on the heels of a successful SAINTS Ball fundraiser that also netted funds to benefit 'Healing Beyond Medicine Campaign.'" 12/19/17

  • Million-dollar donation creates agriculture academy (NBC) "The Howard G. Buffett Foundation gave $1.65 million to the Decatur Public School Foundation toward the creation of what will be called the Dwayne Andreas Ag Academy. It’s meant to give students at Eisenhower and MacArthur schools a chance to learn about careers in the agriculture industry." 12/19/17

  • Lindner Center in Mason gets whopping $75M donation for mental health care (Cincinnati.com) I love this! "Two prominent Cincinnati families have delivered the largest financial contribution to an Ohio health care facility in more than a decade. The Fath and Lindner families announced Monday they are giving $75 million to the Lindner Center of Hope in Mason to address mental health care across the region." 12/18/17

  • Virginia Tech announces $15.2 million donation to athletic department (Roanoke Times) A large anonymous gift dedicated to creating a 17,000-square-foot, all-sports, state-of-the-art student-athlete performance center. 12/18/17

  • SENS Research Foundation Receives $1 Million Bitcoin Donation From Pineapple Fund (Global NewsWire) "SENS Research Foundation announced today the receipt of a $1 million bitcoin donation from the Pineapple Fund. The Pineapple Fund recently announced its commitment to donating $86 million in bitcoin to charities and causes around the world." The SENS Research Foundation (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence Research Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and regenerative medical research foundation co-founded by Michael Kope, Aubrey de Grey, Jeff Hall, Sarah Marr and Kevin Perrott. 12/15/17

  • RIT graduate donating $50 million to alma mater (ABC) "A 2009 RIT graduate who started a business in his parents' basement will now donate $50 million to Rochester Institute of Technology – the biggest donation in the school’s history [...]. Austin McChord is the founder of Datto. He developed technology that helps companies with backup and disaster recovery services and focused his business on an underserved market of small and medium companies such as doctor’s offices and accounting firms." 12/13/17

  • A million-euro donation from Otava Group and the Otava Book Foundation helps establish a programme in writing (UniArts Helsinki) "Otava Group and the Otava Book Foundation will donate a million euros to [...] be allocated to the master's programme in writing." 12/12/17

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