Weekly News Recap: April 19, 2019

Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris. Photograph: François Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. -- John Maxwell

Joyeuses Pâques

From all of us at ViTreo, we wish all of our friends, clients, colleagues, and recap readers a joyful and happy Easter weekend. We hope your time is filled with family, food, and, of course, chocolate, bunny rabbits, and Easter egg hunts.

Notre Dame


  • Honorary degree and Order of the University of Calgary recipients announced for June convocation (UToday) Congrats to all the the recipients and special congratulations to Dr. Vianne Timmons, President of the University of Regina; Hal Kvisle, former CEO of Talisman Energy and TransCanada Corporation; Dr. John Lacey, Calgary arts patron; Dr. Rochelle (Robbie) Babins-Wagner, CEO of the Calgary Counselling Centre; John Geiger, CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society; and, Diane and Doug Hunter, principal donors to the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 4/16/19

  • Province pulls $20M in funding from OCAD University expansion (The Star) TORONTO STORY OCAD is an important institution. I am saddened by this. "OCAD University is determined to move forward with a campus expansion project after receiving “devastating news” that the province is withdrawing millions in funding. The move by the Progressive Conservatives affects the Creative City Campus, a downtown Toronto project that’s been in the works for about a decade." 4/16/19

  • High Level Bridge streetcar making tracks towards Whyte Avenue (CBC) EDMONTON STORY I have ridden it many times. It's a gem. "It's one of Edmonton's best kept summer secrets, unfortunately. But an 800-metre track extension might change that. The Edmonton Radial Railway Society is extending its High Level Bridge Streetcar line from its current terminus north of the ATB Financial Arts Barns, to just north of Whyte Avenue at Gateway Boulevard." 4/16/19

  • Here are the winners of the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes (Poynter) "The winners of the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes were announced at Columbia University in New York City on Monday. Pulitzers are regarded as the highest honor a journalist can receive." 4/15/19

  • VIDEO: New charity raising funds for Saskatchewan Cancer Agency (Global News) We shared this story in our January 25th recap but now the Foundation is getting its message out. ViTreo is proud to have helped birth the Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation. Congrats to them and to our friend, Nora. "Nora Yeates, CEO of the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan, explains the reason behind the new charity which supports the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, and how people can donate." 4/12/19*

  • MacKenzie Art Gallery nixes free admission in favour of $10 fee (CBC) SASKATOON STORY "Core membership fees have been reduced and people under 17 will continue to have free admission" 4/12/19

  • HMCS Regina crew names helicopter after Humboldt Broncos (CBC) CANADIAN STORY Beautiful. Truly. "As they sail hundreds of miles away from home, crew aboard HMCS Regina felt the need to carry a little piece of home with them. The call sign of the ship's new patrol helicopter has now been changed to Bronco, in honour of the 16 people who died and 13 people who were injured in the team's bus crash in Saskatchewan last year." 4/11/19

  • Sweet! Nanaimo bar goes postal with announcement of new stamp (CBC) CANADIAN STORY Honestly, what took them so long. "The Nanaimo bar's prominent place in Canadian confectionery is getting a sweet boost thanks to the announcement by Canada Post that it will be featured on a stamp." 4/11/19

  • 'Ghost dogs' hit the tracks on Edmonton's new art train (CBC) EDMONTON STORY I heart this. So. Much. "A city train adorned with sprightly red dogs dancing across the windows is the latest addition to Edmonton's urban art gallery. The work by Edmonton-based artist Halie Finney turns static illustrations in acrylic ink into a moving mural as the train slides along the city's LRT tracks. The project is called the YEGCanvas Super Train." 4/10/19

  • Sask. camp for kids dealing with grief and trauma finds the volunteers it needed (CBC) SASKATCHEWAN STORY Way to go guys. "A camp in Saskatchewan for kids coping with grief is going full-speed ahead after almost turning campers away due to a lack of male volunteers [...]. As of last week the camp only had two male volunteers and risked turning away boys . It put out a call to the community. 'We received a flood of phone calls, emails and Facebook messages from people wanting to help and offer to volunteer for camp weekends,' said Dupuis. She said they went from having 19 volunteers to 44, half of whom are men, which means none of the kids will be turned away." 4/10/19

  • 8 artistic events to check out in Calgary this Spring (O.Canada.com) Been to Billy Elliot, brilliant. Go! Am going to the all you can eat cereal and cartoon event at CUFF (join me). Big fan of Fairy Tales and all the rest. What a great list. "Spring is here and Calgarians are busy with all kinds of arts events. There are plenty of things for creative-minded people to do in the city in April and May. Here are a few picks to get you started." 4/11/19

  • New scholarship equals financial help for Burman students (Lacombe Online) LACOMBE STORY Congrats. ViTreo is proud to have worked with Burman University on their campaign to build a new library. "Burman University is able to relieve some financial stress from some students thanks to a Servus Credit Union partnership. $50,000 was given to the Burman University scholarship committee to decide the amounts and number of scholarships that will be awarded each year." 4/11/19

  • The Uber IPO Is a Landmark (The Atlantic) "The numbers in the company’s SEC filing are truly eye-popping. Uber has delivered 1.5 billion trips. People paid $41.5 billion for Uber rides in 2018 alone, up 32 percent from the previous year. Uber took $9.2 billion of that as revenue. The company had 3.9 million drivers in the last quarter of 2018." 4/11/19*

  • University of Calgary celebrates installation of Dr. Ed McCauley as president and vice-chancellor (UToday) CALGARY STORY Congratulations Dr. McCauley. "In a room full of accomplished academics and university leaders from across the country, as well as students, faculty, staff, alumni and community leaders, President Ed McCauley said he is thrilled to have been selected to take over the leadership of the University of Calgary." 4/10/19

  • This couple found a year-old lottery ticket worth $750K in a book – two days before the deadline (USA Today) MONTREAL STORY One word. Synchronicity. "A Canadian couple found a winning lottery ticket they had purchased more than a year earlier in a book that had been stored away for months – and they claimed the nearly $750,000 prize just days before the deadline, lottery officials say." 4/4/19

First Peoples of Canada

  • NASA engineers encourage Indigenous youth to reach for the stars (CBC) ALBERTA STORY How awesome will it be when we celebrate the first Indigenous person in space? "Kids on Stoney Nakoda First Nation are looking to the stars for their future careers, after a series of workshops with NASA engineers. After Skyping with a Costa Rican engineer during a NASA-themed class, students at Stoney Nakoda Elementary gave thanks to the presenter in their native language. They had the opportunity meet the author of the book, To the Stars: Costa Rica in NASA, and some of the engineers it features. Bruce Callow is from Calgary but is now based in Central America. He arranged for some of the engineers featured in his book to speak with the students about pursuing future careers in the field of space." 4/17/19

  • McGill dumps Redmen team name after calls from Indigenous community (CBC) MONTREAL STORY Good move! "Montreal's McGill University has announced it will change the name of its men's varsity sports teams — the Redmen — after Indigenous students, faculty and staff said the name is discriminatory. Suzanne Fortier, the principal and vice-chancellor of McGill, announced the decision by email to students Friday morning, saying it was based on new principles of commemoration and renaming that the university established in December 2018." 4/12/19

  • 'Legends of the Northern Sky': Movie explores Cree culture's connection to the stars (CBC) EDMONTON STORY Oh man, I want to see this. How cool! "Legends of the Northern Sky, the first full-dome digital projection film to play at the Ziedler Dome in more than 30 years, is a local production featuring students from Ermineskin Elementary School in Maskwacis." 4/10/19

Books to read

  • This Is How Human Extinction Could Play Out (Rolling Stone) Cheery. "Food-system collapse, sea-level rise, disease. In his new book 'Falter,' Bill McKibben asks, 'Is it Too Late?' In 2015, a study in the Journal of Mathematical Biology pointed out that if the world’s oceans kept warming, by 2100 they might become hot enough to 'stop oxygen production by phyto-plankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis.' Given that two-thirds of the Earth’s oxygen comes from phytoplankton, that would 'likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.'" 4/9/19

  • Algorithms should take into account, not ignore, human failings (The Economist) "In her latest book, 'Hello World,' Ms Fry demystifies how the technologies work, looks back into history to explain how we came to adopt data-driven decisions and offers a clear-eyed analysis of the pros and cons. The benefit is that AI can often perform tasks more quickly and accurately than people; the drawback is that if the data are biased, then the output may be discriminatory." 4/8/19

Life and career hacks

Uncommon knowledge


  • Opinion: $100 million donation cements U of T’s global leadership (The Varsity) TORONTO STORY I, for one, agree. "U of T’s plan to build a new 750,000-square-foot innovation research complex exhibits its commitment to artificial intelligence (AI) and biomedical research leadership, which will greatly enrich our collective university experience. This breakthrough, courtesy of the university’s recent $100 million donation from Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman, firmly anchors its leading status in Canada and its rising position in the world." 4/15/19

Philanthropic controversy

  • Questioning Big Philanthropy At The Skoll World Forum: Is It Too Powerful And Out Of Touch? (Forbes) "At a panel discussion entitled 'Is Philanthropy Part Of The Solution Or The Problem?' the moderator began by asking the roughly 250 people in the audience if they agreed with this statement: 'Philanthropy is at a moment of reckoning.' Nearly everyone raised their hand." And most of these folks are major philanthropists. 4/16/19

  • 'Disgusting and opportunistic' $2M Humboldt Broncos-inspired fund embroiled in conflict (CBC) SASKATCHEWAN STORY "Former Humboldt Broncos board members say a fund set up in the days after the fatal bus crash was an attempt by the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League president to go behind their backs and capitalize on the tragedy. " 4/14/19

  • A Charity Accepts Uber Stock as Donations. Then Uses It to Pay Staff Bonuses. Is That O.K.? (New York Times) At ViTreo, we can see both sides. It's an interesting story. "Here’s how it works: Entrepreneurs who own sizable stakes in private companies can donate some of their equity to Charity: water. When their company goes public or is sold, some of the proceeds will be paid out as bonuses to Mr. Harrison’s staff. Already, founders and paper billionaires from Uber, WeWork and Casper have pledged at least 1 percent of their shares to the new program, which Charity: water is calling The Pool. That all but guarantees that the organization’s 78 employees will share in the spoils from some of the most hotly anticipated initial public offerings in the history of Wall Street." 4/11/19

  • Is Instagram's Upcoming Donation Sticker Just A Way To Lure Credit Card Numbers? (Forbes) "Last February, Facebook announced that it will release a donation sticker feature on Instagram, giving its users the possibility to support charitable organizations through Instagram Stories. [The] upcoming Instagram donation sticker would certainly facilitate the acquisition of users’ credit card information. After all, you’re much more inclined to give up your payment data if a trusted friend asks you to support a human rights organization rather than if you have to buy the umpteenth pair of sneakers from a large, anonymous corporation. But, of course, once your credit card number is stored in the app that alluring pair of sneakers becomes literally just a click away...In a way, it seems that Facebook will use philanthropy as a lubricant oil to ease its transition from a social media platform to an e-commerce one." 4/11/19

  • More than 10,300 Canadians lost their lives to opioids in less than 3 years (CBC) CANADIAN STORY Most were men. Many were young men. "More than 10,300 Canadians died as a result of an apparent opioid-related overdose between January 2016 and September 2018, Public Health Agency of Canada says. 'During the first nine months of 2018, 3,286 Canadians lost their lives to apparent opioid-related overdoses,' the agency said in a release on Wednesday." 4/10/19

Trends and shifts

  • China's Philanthropic Growth Drives World's Next Big Impact Powerhouse (Forbes) "Philanthropy in China has grown exponentially, with charitable giving growing 20% year-on-year, compared to GDP growth of between 6% and 7% annually. Despite being a new joiner to global philanthropy (interest in charitable giving surged in 2008 following the Sichuan earthquake and has been growing ever since), Chinese philanthropy is evolving from reactive or cause-driven giving to designing interventions for long-term, transformative change." 4/14/19

  • The Future Of Healthcare (The Mission) Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing healthcare but not in the crazy scary ways you might imagine. Ironically, AI is actually humanizing healthcare. Read on. 4/11/19

  • How Big Business Is Hedging Against the Apocalypse (New York Times) "[An] Irishman named Declan Flanagan, chief executive of the renewables company Lincoln Clean Energy, was addressing his own shareholders in Copenhagen when he delivered a cryptic announcement. Lincoln, he said, was going to build a solar farm in the Permian Basin — the heart of West Texas oil country — with funding put up by a 'blue-chip counterparty.' Flanagan let this hang for a moment in the room while he breezed through a jargony update on regulatory matters. Finally he returned to the story. 'I mentioned the blue-chip counterparty,' he reminded his listeners. 'That,' he said in his strong Irish accent, 'is Exxon Mobil.'" 4/11/19

  • How Can We Stop Failing People Experiencing Homelessness? (with blockchain) (Blockchain Trailblazers) CALGARY STORY "You need the smartest people you can find to solve a problem as difficult as homelessness. The Calgary Board of Education chose Knight when she was young for their Gifted and Talented Education program. Now as an adult she’s added an MBA to her certification from Stanford University. Knight is an expert at converting strategy into action through technology. " 4/10/19

  • Financial Firm Collins SBA Proves a 5-Hour Workday Can Increase Productivity (Inc.) "Could you run your company just as well if employees worked a five-hour workday instead of an eight-hour one? If Australian financial services company Collins SBA is anything to go by, you probably could. And you’d benefit from better work-life balance, higher employee morale, and improved recruiting and retention. Your staff would take fewer sick days, and productivity would likely rise." 2/8/19

  • How To Fix The Nonprofit World’s “Innovation-Aspiration” Problem (Fast Company) This is a somewhat dated article but it is even more relevant today. "Nonprofits are suffering from what’s been dubbed an 'innovation-aspiration' problem: While 80% of the top 145 nonprofit leaders say the sector needs to change practices in order to make greater societal gains, only 40% believe they have the capacity to do that, according to a survey by Bridgespan, a nonprofit consultancy, and the Rockefeller Foundation. 8/9/17

Stats and facts

  • International migration to Alberta (The Owl) ALBERTA STORY "Alberta’s economic advantages are often a key determinant for people who choose to make the province their new home when moving from abroad. As such, Alberta attracted close to 12 per cent of the 2.8 million net international migrants to all of Canada from 2009 to 2018." 4/11/19

  • National Report: Apparent Opioid-related Deaths in Canada (Statistics Canada) CANADIAN STORY British Columbia and Alberta are leading the nation...and not in a good way. April 2019

Reports and studies

  • First report on Asian philanthropy scholarships for higher education launched in Beijing (China.org.cn) "The CAPS' report stands out as the very first piece of research done on the impact of scholarships for higher education in Asia, with a special focus on the status quo as well as the possible trend of philanthropy scholarship. Through statistical analysis of massive data as well as drawing on specific case studies, the report evaluated the contribution that scholarships have made to the student, the community and the country, suggesting possible pathways to maximize the benefit of social investment in Asia. Experiences of scholarship winners from China, India and Philippines and stories of renowned philanthropists in Asia were also included in the report." 4/15/19

  • The Value of Volunteering in Canada (Volunteer.ca) A report for The Conference Board of Canada. Turns out, it is approximately $27 per hour. 4/5/18

  • Value of Volunteer Time (Independent Sector) In the U.S., it is currently $25.3 per hour. April 2019

Large gifts

  • $100 million donation to rename College of Engineering (Daily Illiini) "After the newest $100 million gift from The Grainger Foundation and more than $300 million in total support, the College of Engineering [at the University of Illinois] will be renamed The Grainger College of Engineering, pending approval by the University Board of Trustees." 4/16/19

  • Utah receives a record-setting donation from Garff family for Rice-Eccles Stadium expansion, renovations (Deseret News) "On Saturday, the University of Utah announced a $17.5 million pledge from the Ken Garff family for the expansion and renovation of Rice-Eccles Stadium. It’s the largest donation in the history of Utah athletics and the lead gift in the $80 million project." 4/13/19

  • Willamette Falls Trust Receives $7 Million Donation For Riverwalk Project (Oregon Public Broadcasting) "Willamette Falls Trust announced Thursday $7 million in donations toward the Willamette Falls Riverwalk — a project that will develop former papermill sites to provide public access to the iconic Oregon City waterfall. The funding came from two sources: Connie Ballmer of Ballmer Group donated $5 million and the Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust donated $2 million." 4/11/19

  • Trauma Center To Receive Multi-Million Dollar Donation (CBS) "University of Chicago Medicine has announced that a $9 million donation will help expand trauma care to help children and their families recover by going beyond just medical treatment to include things like psychiatric counseling [...]. It said in a statement that the Ellen & Ronald Block Family Foundation and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation made the donation [and] that the thinking behind existing and expanding programs is that 'trauma caused by violence is best treated holistically.'" 4/11/19

  • Longwood University receives largest donation in its history (ABC) "Longwood University has received its largest gift in the institution's history. Virginia philanthropist Joan Brock donated $15 million that will go towards the construction of a new convocation and events center, which will be built next to Willett Hall." 4/10/19

  • Who can argue with a $5 million donation to promote civility? (San Diego Union Tribune) How great is this! "[San Diegan] Elaine Galinson is doing her part to help future generations get along. She has donated $5 million to endow a program that’s now promoting civil discourse among 1,700 student leaders on the UC San Diego campus so it can continue in perpetuity." 4/10/19

  • Children's receives $30M donation for research campus at Walter Reed (Washington Business Journal) "Children’s National Health System has received a $30 million gift from the United Arab Emirates for its new research campus at the former Walter Reed Medical Center, which is scheduled to open next year." 4/10/19

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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