Weekly News Recap: March 1, 2019

Indigenous Leadership program at Banff Centre. Photo by Chris Amat Photo.

Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious. — Thomas Edison


  • WHO SAYS I CAN'T (ESPN) Read this. Watch this. I love this guy. "How could someone born without arms or legs, who's never held a football, teach high school players how to throw, tackle or block? Rob Mendez is doing it as head coach of a California JV team." 2/16/19

  • The Night NASA Said Goodbye to Oppy (Space) Yes, I cried. Not in sentiment but in awe of human exploration. We need more of this. #FarewellOppy 2/13/19

Analysis - A five-part series on Alberta. Thanks CBC.

  • Why there is no quick fix for Alberta's malaise, no matter how much we want one (CBC) ALBERTA STORY First in a five-part series: "Alberta. The future of the province is uncertain and past prosperity is just that — past. From the beginning of the recession more than four years ago to the sort-of recovery we find ourselves in today, governments (at all levels), economists, academics, institutions, experienced business owners and entrepreneurs have sought solutions. The search continues." 2/19/19

  • The reality of the recession bites some Albertans harder. What that means for the election — and whoever wins (CBC) ALBERTA STORY Second in a five-part series: "Let's call it the perception problem. As Albertans are poised to head back to the polls after four years of NDP government, one of the main factors that will guide their ballots is the perception of where the economy is today." 2/20/19

  • The growing pains Alberta faces as it sheds its boom-and-bust past (CBC) ALBERTA STORY Third in a five-part series: "Alberta won the geological lottery back in 1947 with Leduc's famous gusher, and we've been a place of boom and bust ever since. Here in Calgary, in particular, we have come to accept that economic roller-coaster. But this time, somehow, the wild ride feels different." 2/20/19

  • Calgary's moment of choice: How the city can break its mould but preserve its soul (CBC) CALGARY STORY Fourth in a five-part series: "In practical terms, Schryvers says Calgary must reckon with how to attract more people — particularly talented young people — to come and build their lives here, even during hard economic times. To be in it for the long haul, because they see more on offer from this place than a fat but capricious paycheque." 2/22/19

  • How Calgary's maverick mythology, as mask and reality, can influence the roads ahead (CBC ) CALGARY STORY Fourth in a five-part series: "Like all cities, Calgary has its mythology. Not mythology as in untruth, but as in grand narrative. The stories we tell ourselves about who we are, where we come from, and how that should shape and determine our future. It's the way we market ourselves to ourselves — and to the world." 2/24/19


  • Stampede partnering with CMLC to develop Victoria Park (660 News) CALGARY STORY "Thanks to a new marketing arrangement, a redeveloped Victoria Park is easier to envision. The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is partnering with the Calgary Stampede to attract private investment to around 30 acres of land owned by the Stampede." 2/21/19

  • Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery (Eckville Echo) RED DEER STORY "The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) is hosting its first ever Dream Home Lottery. Tickets start at $35 and could result in a new home, a car, jewellery, gas for a year and more making up over $1.8 million in prizes." 2/20/19

  • Alberta woman free to give away $1.7M home in contest, lottery regulator rules (CBC) MILLARVILLE STORY It pays to do your homework. Glad this worked out for everybody. Now, start writing your letter. "A homeowner in Millarville, Alta., is free to give away her $1.7-million home in a creative essay contest. Alberta's lottery regulator has finished investigating the contest and has determined it contravenes no rules." 2/20/19

  • U.S.-based Devon Energy to sell oilsands assets and leave Canada (CBC) ALBERTA STORY "Another foreign company is exiting the Alberta oilsands. Devon Energy has hired advisers to help sell off the company's oilsands assets as the firm plans to leave Canada by the end of the year." 2/20/19

First Peoples of Canada

  • VIDEO: Ice-road jigging social media challenge turns into throwdown for northern chiefs (CBC) CANADIAN STORY It does not get any more Canadian than this. In the land of ice and snow, ice roads are critical pieces of our transportation infrastructure. #ILoveMyCountry. "Two men jig enthusiastically on a patch of ice in northern Saskatchewan, their feet slipping as they throw down their hats and, speaking in Dene, invite a friend to join them. Elsewhere, a man stands on an ice road with headlights illuminating the scene, while a truck queues up fiddle music for him to jig to." 2/24/19

  • She's Alberta's first artist in residence, so how will Lauren Crazybull spend her year? (CBC) ALBERTA STORY Congrats to Ms. Crazybull. "She's a 24-year-old painter who lives and works in Edmonton, and beyond the usual business of hustling to make ends meet, Lauren Crazybull has an exciting new item on her to-do list this week: make a plan for being Alberta's provincial artist in residence." 2/21/19

Books to read

  • If You Only Read a Few Books in 2019, Read These (Books) Where to start? ‘Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill’ or ‘The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca’ or ‘Leisure: The Basis of Culture’ ...so many books...so little time (I am a huge admirer or Clementine Churchill -- will likely start there). 6/22/19

Life and career hacks

Uncommon knowledge

Philanthropic controversy

  • UK companies lost almost £1m through this donation scam (Yahoo Finance) "A Stockport-based company that conned almost £900,000 from small businesses though 'bogus' drug awareness campaigns for schools has been shut down by the courts. The high court ordered Data Northern Limited to be wound up in the public interest this week, after a probe by the Insolvency Service found it had tricked its sponsors out of about £880,000." 2/22/19

  • Hidden Hand: Just How Self-Interested is Corporate Philanthropy? (Inside Philanthropy) "Especially at the highest levels, corporate philanthropy is becoming increasingly strategic, more tightly weaving together the quest for social impact with the drive for profit. Some leaders in that push, JPMorgan Chase among them, argue that supporting causes like community development or workforce training contribute to the long-term bottom line. Of course, these efforts also generate nice PR and, in the case of the big banks or companies like Walmart, help repair battered reputations. Such investments exemplify enlightened self-interest. But there’s a seamier side to strategic corporate giving, one that’s generated plenty of anecdotes over the years, but little rigorous corroboration. In a 2018 working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a team of researchers led by Marianne Bertrand of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business attempts to change that. Their findings are significant and troubling. In a nutshell, the research suggests widespread corporate use of charitable giving as a tool to influence federal rulemaking, swinging regulatory deliberations in companies’ favor." 2/20/19

Trends and shifts

  • The writing of this AI is so human that its creators are scared to release it (CBC) Crap! Fake news now has an AI...and it's really good. Thanks to Scott Deckheimer for sharing this story. "A new text generator driven by artificial intelligence is apparently so good that its creators have decided not to make it publicly available.The tool was created by OpenAI, a non-profit research firm whose backers include Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman and which was founded with the mission of 'discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence.'" 2/25/19

  • Solutions for All: How an Energy Grantmaker Evolved and Went All in on Climate Justice (Inside Philanthropy) "When the Solutions Project officially formed back in 2014, it was an unlikely team-up of a Hollywood A-lister, a businessman, and a Stanford professor built around the catchy and ambitious rallying cry of 100 percent clean energy. As the Mark Ruffalo-founded outfit brought that target into the mainstream in the following years, it also emerged as an influential intermediary grantmaker, championing grassroots activists and frontline organizations, along with responsive, grantee-friendly giving practices." 2/22/19

  • “Aging is Living.” The Couple Working on Several Fronts to Confront a Graying America (Inside Philanthropy) "The over-65 population is the fastest-growing demographic in America, according to the United States Census Bureau, yet few foundations dedicate themselves to working on behalf of this group. Frustrated with this dynamic, Gary and Mary West are pursuing community-, state- and national-level change through their foundation, research institute and policy center. The couple made their money through West Corporation, a private telecommunications provider based in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2006, the Wests sold their shares of the company for $1.4 billion. That was when they turned their sights on philanthropy, founding the Gary and Mary West Foundation." 2/21/19

  • OPINION: The Boundaries are Blurring Between Philanthropy and Business (PRObono Australia) "Philanthropy is increasingly adopting business means, while business is increasingly pursuing philanthropic ends – a trend which is likely to continue and expand, writes Michael Moody, from the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, as part of their 11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2019." 2/21/19

  • Charitable donors, 2017 (Statistics Canada) CANADIAN CONTENT "Total donations reported by Canadian tax filers rose to $9.6 billion in 2017, up 7.7% from 2016. This increase more than offset a 2.6% drop in donations in 2016, which was associated with slower economic growth that year for provinces rich in natural resources. Trends in total charitable donations do not always reflect trends in the overall economy, however, a similar rebound in donations was observed following the 2008 economic downturn." 2/8/19

  • Getting to know Canada's nonprofit sector: why we need better data (Imagine Canada) Old news, I know. But, it still matters. "Did you know that we can tell how many eggs are produced and how many asphalt roofing tiles are manufactured each month in Canada, but we don’t know how many charities and nonprofits there are? Unfortunately, knowledge about the composition and impact of the Canada’s ‘third sector’ has declined for more than a decade." 8/28/17

  • In the dark: The cost of Canada’s data deficit (Globe and Mail) CANADIAN STORY In a world where data is the new oil, this is disturbing. To say the least. "When it comes to basic data about its own citizens – from divorce rates to driving patterns to labour trends – Canada simply doesn’t have the answers. If information is power, this country has a big problem." 1/26/19

Reports and studies

  • Breaking the Inertia: Repositioning the Government-Sector Partnership) (Mowat Centre) CANADIAN STORY Very interesting an important report on the relationship between government and there social sector in Canada. If you work in government relations or care about government's role in the social fabric of Canada, this is a must read. January 2019

Large gifts

  • Multi-million dollar donation kicks off brain tumor research at UF (The Alligator) "Harris Rosen donated $12 million to a UF-led initiative to advance brain tumor research after his 26-year-old son died from the disease last November." 2/26/19

  • $10M gift to Banff Centre one of the largest ever received (CBC) BANFF STORY "The Suncor Energy Foundation has donated $10 million to the Banff Centre, one of the largest gifts in the facility's history. The money, doled out over five years, will go toward Indigenous leadership programs and social impact and social innovation courses. It will help pay for faculty, program design and scholarships for those from 'remote and under-served communities,' according to a news release." 2/26/19

  • Royal Academy Schools receive £10m donation (UK Fundraising) "The Royal Academy Schools has received its biggest ever donation – a gift of £10m from Julia and Hans Rausing. The donation is the most significant gift in the 250-year history of the RA Schools, and will fund a restoration and renewal project to ensure the institution’s future. The renewal project will begin in 2021." 2/25/19

  • $20 million gift helps Loyola University Chicago start school of health sciences (Chicago Sun Times) "Loyola University Chicago is set to launch a new school of health sciences and public health in the fall, thanks in part to a $20 million donation [...]. The donation is coming from two alumni: Robert L. and Elizabeth M. Parkinson." 2/25/19

  • Wharton receives $10 million from 76ers owner and alum Joshua Harris (Daily Pennsylvanianian) "Owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and 1986 Wharton graduate Joshua Harris and his wife Marjorie donated $10 million to the Wharton School as part of the university-wide Power of Penn fundraising campaign." 2/23/19

  • UPS pledges $5 million donation to Louisville athletics (Card Chronicle) "UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company and a leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services with its main Global Air Hub located in Louisville, has committed $5 million to University of Louisville Athletics." 2/22/19

  • St. Lawrence University receives $15-million donation (North Country Public Radio) "St. Lawrence University in Canton announced [...] that the school has received an anonymous donation of $15 million." 2/20/19

  • John Carroll University receives $20 million donation from an anonymous graduate (ABC) "A John Carroll graduate donated a whopping $20 million to the university, according to a news release. The graduate, an anonymous donor, voiced gratitude to the university, citing appreciation to academic leaders and Jesuits who impacted their college experience." 2/20/19

  • UNC’s dental school will be renamed following a record donation (News & Observer) "UNC-Chapel Hill’s dental school will be renamed following a $27.68 million gift, the largest in the school’s history [...]. The donation came as a bequest from Dr. Claude Adams III, a Durham dentist who died in 2018. " 2/20/19

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