Weekly News Recap: March 23, 2018

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Roman Catholic Church is the oldest continuous parish in Alberta, founded in the mid-1800s by the diocese of St Boniface. (David Thurton/ CBC)

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. -- Warren Buffett


  • Connections Conference - April 11, 2018 (CCVO) CALGARY EVENT "Join us Wednesday, April 11 for a stimulating day of discussion that builds on CCVO’s pivotal research on adaptive capacity in the nonprofit sector. Connections Conference 2018 brings together professionals from Alberta’s nonprofit, government, and business sectors to continue the conversation and explore new ways to work together. Hear from thought leaders who will stretch your thinking. Make valuable new connections across sectors. Be inspired to create positive change by thinking differently about how to lead, collaborate, innovate, and more." REGISTER HERE 3/21/18



  • PDF: Fiscal Plan | Budget 2018 - A recovery built to last (Government of Alberta) ALBERTA STORY For those who are interested in reading the entire 172 pages of Alberta’s Budget 2018, you’re welcome (hint: Skip ahead to page 59 for the really juicy bits related to capital investment). Some highlights include significant investment in health, higher-ed, and indigenous initiatives; Edmonton is getting a new hospital and the Calgary Cancer Centre is being significantly expanded; and, most heartwarmingly, a number of ViTreo’s current and former clients have had their projects funded including Winspear Centre in Edmonton, Vivo Healthier Generations in Calgary, and the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. 3/22/18*

  • Canada's privacy watchdog launches investigation into Facebook after allegations of data leak (CBC) CANADIAN CONTENT "Canada's privacy watchdog has launched an investigation into Facebook after a series of media reports alleged that private online information belonging to millions of Americans was obtained by a company working on U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign." 3/20/18

  • Janet Austin appointed as B.C.'s new lieutenant governor (CBC) BRITISH COLUMBIA STORY Congrats Janet! "Longtime community advocate Janet Austin has been named B.C.'s new lieutenant governor [...]. Austin has been CEO of the YWCA in Metro Vancouver for 15 years" 3/20/18

  • Minister slams University of Alberta budget cut, president pay (Edmonton Journal) EDMONTON STORY "Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt has slammed the University of Alberta board of governors’ recent decision to cut four per cent of its budget and raise student residence rents. " 3/19/18

  • Saving one of Alberta's northernmost and oldest churches (CBC) FORT CHIPEWYAN STORY "Founded by the diocese of St. Boniface in 1847, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Roman Catholic Church is the oldest continuous parish in Alberta, according to the book Many Foundations: Historic Churches of Alberta, written by Mary Oakwell. The present church was built in 1909 by the Oblate missionaries. And it's showing its age." 3/18/18

  • Resolve is down to final fundraising stretch of plan to build housing for vulnerable Calgarians (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY ViTreo is proud to have been with RESOLVE for the past seven years. Congratulations on all you have accomplished on behalf of Calgary's most vulnerable citizens. "To date, the innovative campaign that teams up with nine Calgary agencies has brought in more than $69 million, which is enough to fund affordable rental homes with support services for 1,738 homeless and vulnerable Calgarians, says Resolve. Its aim is to reach $90 million and help up to 3,000 people." 3/18/18

  • It’s goodbye to the Toronto Zoo pandas. They’re headed to Calgary on March 18 (Toronto Star) CANADIAN STORY Welcome to Calgary! "The Toronto Zoo said farewell on [March 19] to the adorable giant pandas that have won over the hearts of Torontonians for the last five years. The fuzzy creatures are headed to the Calgary Zoo to begin the second half of their 10-year Canadian stay. The pandas, the pair Da Mao and Er Shun and their cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, are in Canada on loan as part of the Global Giant Panda Conservation Breeding Program." 3/17/18

  • Province dedicates $6M to affordable housing project in Calgary (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY "New funding from the provincial government is going to assist a Calgary agency fighting homelessness, but the government is still tight-lipped about its response to a request for $22-million to help Calgarians in need of a home. The province has dedicated $6 million toward construction of the Bishop O’Byrne Housing Association’s Columbus Court project, which will provide affordable housing for around 250 vulnerable Calgarians." 3/16/18

  • Campus scholars warned about increasing problem posed by predatory journals and conferences (UCalgary) CALGARY STORY It's a 'brave new world' out there. Everyone needs to become more vigilant. 3/16/18

  • Canadian Geographic is taking a closer look at its racist past (CBC) CANADIAN STORY "Canadian Geographic is combing through its back catalogue for examples of racist portrayals of minorities after National Geographic acknowledged its own problematic record with race this week. After what it called an extensive investigation, the iconic American magazine confirmed that for generations it portrayed people of colour as savage, unsophisticated and unintelligent." 3/15/18

  • 'Financial crisis' leaves Calgary charity's resource centres in danger of permanent closure (CBC) CALGARY STORY "A local charity that supports Calgary women and their families in their time of need is in danger of shutting down its family resource centres. 'We are in a bit of a financial crisis,' Karen Ramchuk, the executive director of Women In Need Society, told CBC News." 3/15/18

  • George Lucas breaks ground on LA's Museum of Narrative Art (CBC) "Wielding a silver shovel instead of a lightsaber, Star Wars creator George Lucas joined a handful of elected officials Wednesday in breaking ground on a billion-dollar museum dedicated to the art of visual storytelling." 3/15/18


  • In the #MeToo Era, Here's What Philanthropy Can Learn From Women's Foundations (Inside Philanthropy) "The #MeToo movement is challenging power structures that long enforced the silence of women who endured sexual harassment, abuse and assault. But while the start of this movement is often traced to revelations last October about Harvey Weinstein, it's important to recognize that there's a much deeper backstory, here—one in which philanthropy has played an important role." 3/14/18


  • Why the hiring process for university principals could use a revamp (Globe and Mail) CANADIAN CONTENT Interesting and thoughtful article on why the hiring process for university presidents and principals could really use a fresh look. 3/17/18

  • Does Calgary have the world's most walkable city centre? (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY "One of the best things about living in Calgary’s city centre is its walkability. I have visited dozens of cities around the world from Hong Kong to Berlin and I haven’t found a city more pedestrian-friendly than Calgary. Here are the Top 9 reasons Calgary’s city centre is one of the most walkable urban places in the world." 3/16/18

  • Philanthropy’s Seven Deadly Sins (Nonprofit Quarterly) An interesting take on the "sins" of philanthropy. Thanks to Andrea McManus for sharing this story. 3/15/18

Tools and resources

Life and career hacks

Studies and reports

  • Most people say celebrity endorsement does not affect donation decisions (Third Sector) "A representative survey of 1,830 people, carried out in December and January by Harris Interactive on behalf of Third Sector, found that 69 per cent of respondents said the involvement of a celebrity in a campaign made them neither more nor less likely to make a donation." 3/19/18

  • Philanthropy in Pakistan (Stanford Social Innovation Review) "When it comes to charitable giving, Pakistan is a generous country. It contributes more than one percent of its GDP to charity, which pushes it into the ranks of far wealthier countries like the United Kingdom (1.3 percent GDP to charity) and Canada (1.2 percent of GDP), and around twice what India gives relative to GDP. A study conducted by Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy shows that Pakistanis give around PKR 240 billion (more than $2 billion) annually to charity. The same report indicates that about 98 percent of people in the country give in one form or another—if not with cash, then with in-kind donations or by volunteering for needy causes." 3/19/18

Uncommon knowledge

Philanthropic personalities

  • Obituary: Mac chemistry professor made one of the largest donations in Canadian history (Hamilton Spectator) HAMILTON STORY RIP Dr. Tomlinson. And thank you. "McMaster University chemistry professor Richard Tomlinson made Canadian history when he gave his alma mater McGill University a $60-million donation. The gift in May 2000 was, at the time, the largest amount ever given by a Canadian philanthropist to a Canadian charitable institution. Tomlinson, who died Jan. 29 at St. Joseph's Hospital at 94, made his millions by starting in 1973 to invest on the advice of a friend in Burlington-based Gennum Corp." 3/18/18

  • A Foundation for Giving: How This Real Estate Mogul Has Built His Philanthropy (Inside Philanthropy) "Real estate mogul Bill Cummings, 80, rose from humble beginnings to create Cummings Properties in Woburn, Massachusetts, outside of Boston. The commercial real estate business, which began in 1970 with one small building, now boasts 11 million square feet in nearly a dozen communities north or west of Boston. Cummings' success is closely entwined with the growth of the Route 128 corridor, one of the largest hubs of technology companies outside of Silicon Valley. But don't look for Bill Cummings on the Forbes list of billionaires. Nearly all of the buildings managed by Cummings Properties are owned by and operated for the benefit of the Cummings Foundation, which Cummings and his wife Joyce established in 1986." 3/18/18

  • VIDEO: Spielberg discusses March For Our Lives donation (Mississippi Valley Publishing) *The March for Our Lives march takes place on March 24 "Director Steven Spielberg talks about why he’s donated $500,000 to students organizing the March For Our Lives demonstration on March 24, which will urge U.S. lawmakers to enact tougher gun control legislation." 3/17/18*

  • The father of modern philanthropy was a millionaire who lived like a stingy pauper (Quartz) "George Peabody’s incredible 19th-century wealth and business empire gave rise to the likes of JP Morgan and other massive banking institutions. Yet even his outsized influence on the modern financial world was eclipsed by his reputation as one of history’s pioneering philanthropists. He is said to have gifted $9 million of his over $16 million fortune throughout his lifetime." 3/16/18

  • This Top Funder of Higher Education Keeps Stepping Things Up (Inside Philanthropy) "Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation isn't a household name among university development officers, given that much its money flows to a handful of states in the Midwest. But it also engages in a growing amount of national funding of research and collaborative initiatives. In fact, given recent increases of its grantmaking, Great Lakes is now one of the biggest overall philanthropic players in the higher education space." 3/16/18

Philanthropic controversy

  • #MeToo Hits the Humanitarian Aid Sector (Nonprofit Quarterly) "[Recently], PRI’s The World ran a story by NPQ’s senior investigative correspondent Amy Costello about sexual abuse in the humanitarian aid sector [...]. Now, Amy brings to light the stories of women working in aid organizations who were sexually assaulted by their colleagues, whose efforts to report the incidents and seek help were met with indifference or even outright hostility by these organizations." 3/21/18

  • Job-protection provision in UNLV donation questioned (Las Vegas Review Journal) "Nine days after UNLV President Len Jessup received an evaluation that detailed “several weaknesses” in his job performance, he secured a donation for $14 million that required him to remain in his position through 2022. The pledge toward the construction of UNLV’s new medical school building included a provision that medical school Dean Barbara Atkinson also keep her job through 2022, according to a memo obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal." 3/16/18

  • Billionaires funding a Goldman philanthropy charity unmasked by IRS snafu (The OCR) If I was one of these three, I would be asking some hard questions of the Goldman DAF. "Three of America’s most discreet billionaire philanthropists have emerged as the biggest donors to the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund after the IRS accidentally revealed their identities." 3/14/18

  • Kevin O’Leary uses Olympic charity to attract donors to pay off debt from failed leadership bid (Globe and Mail) CANADIAN STORY Umm..."Kevin O’Leary is using a taxpayer-funded program for Olympic athletes to attract donors to an event to pay down the $530,000 debt remaining from his failed federal Conservative leadership bid." Thanks to Scott Decksheimer for sharing this story. 3/13/18

Trends and shifts

Large gifts

  • Cal Poly Pomona receives $10 million donation, this is how it will spend it (Daily Bulletin) "Cal Poly Pomona officials [have] announced [...] The Collins College of Hospitality Management had received the single largest donation in its history. Longtime philanthropic supporters Carol and Jim Collins donated $10 million to the college, according to Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley in a news release." 3/20/18

  • FVCC College Center project nets $2M donation (KPAX.com) "Whitefish residents Al and Lisa Stinson have pledged $2 million through the Stinson Family Foundation to support the development of a new College Center on FVCC's (Flathead Valley Community College) Kalispell campus." 3/20/18

  • Blackstone's David Calhoun Gives $20 Million to Virginia Tech (Bloomberg) "A Virginia Tech alumnus and private equity executive is giving $20 million to the public school to fund scholarships and help students gain interdisciplinary skills, such as those needed to address issues surrounding driverless cars. The donation [is] from David Calhoun, 60, senior managing director for Blackstone Group LP and former chief executive officer of Nielsen Holdings NV [...]." 3/19/18

  • Burr and Burton receives $20 million gift (CBS) "The Bennington Banner reports Burr and Burton Academy administrators announced [recently] the independent Manchester school had received the gift from Barry and Wendy Rowland." Burr and Burton Academy is an independent, coeducational New England secondary school located in Manchester, Vermont. 3/19/18

  • Record $10 million gift will fund new UMaine engineering building (Portland Press Herald) "The donation from the family of a UMaine engineering graduate who wishes to remain anonymous is the largest gift ever to the Orono campus from a living donor." 3/19/18

  • Rare WWII-era code machines part of 'once-in-a-lifetime' donation to Carnegie Mellon (PennLive) Way cool! "Rare World War II cryptography machines and dozens of vintage calculating devices have found a home at the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries. The special collection totals more than 50 machines, letters and books donated to the Pittsburgh university by Pamela McCorduck." 3/16/18

  • SETERF Receives $3 Million Donation from Motiva for Harvey Recovery Efforts (Orange Leader) "Southeast Texas Emergency Relief Fund (SETERF) announced today it has received $3 million from Motiva Enterprises for Hurricane Harvey recovery and rebuilding efforts in Port Arthur and the surrounding areas of Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties." 3/16/18

Welcome to our recap of the week's news, articles, and information of note. ViTreo Group Inc. provides this information for the benefit of our clients, associates, staff, partners, and stakeholders. The content is collected and curated by ViTreo partner Vincent Duckworth. If you would like to submit a link for consideration, please send an email to info@vitreogroup.ca

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