Weekly News Recap: April 26, 2019

Two new Airbus H145 helicopters will join the STARS air ambulance fleet. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Without music, life would be a mistake. -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Most influential

  • MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE 2019 (Time) Some really wonderful names here: Sandra Oh (go Canada!), Naomi Osaka (go Japan!), Dwayne Johnson, Ariana Grande (my sweets saw her in Edmonton on Thursday), Mahershala Ali (Greenbook is terrific), Glenn Close, Remi Malek (you owned the legacy of Freddy Mercury), Jacinda Ardern (I still get emotional thinking about her leadership), Jane Goodall (a living saint), Pope Francis (best pope in my lifetime), Robert Mueller (he may yet save us all), Taylor Swift (oh my!), Michelle Obama (one of the best humans alive), Lady Gaga (a voice from the gods), and many many more. What is even more compelling about this list is the article authors for each. Shonda Rimes for Sandra Oh, Chris Evert for Naomi Osaka, Bill Gates for Tara Westover, Emma Thompson for Emilia Clarke, Robert Redford for Glenn Close, Robert Downey Jr. for Remi Malek, Celine Dion for Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio for Jane Goodall, Beyoncé Knowles Carter for Michelle Obama, Hilary Rodham Clinton for Nancy Pelosi, and on and on. This is worth a read. April 2019


  • Assassin’s Creed Unity Flooded With Positive Reviews Following Ubisoft’s Generous Donation (Appuals) I love this story on a number of levels not least because of Ubisoft's acknowledgement of the cultural importance of Notre-Dame as evidenced by its central role in Assassin's Creed Unity. "The recent Notre-Dame fire was truly a devastating tragedy. Days after the incident, a fund to rebuild the iconic cathedral soared past 1 billion euros as a result of numerous donations. France-based game developer and publisher Ubisoft also pledged €500,000 to aid the restoration efforts. Additionally, Assassin’s Creed Unity is being given for free [Note: this offer ended one day before the recap, sorry...] as a nod to the Notre-Dame. Ubisoft’s generous gesture has been met with massive respect from fans, who are now flooding Assassin’s Creed Unity with positive reviews." 4/20/19

  • Salma Hayek says her husband Francois-Henri Pinault won't claim tax credit for $113 million donation to Notre Dame repair (CNN) Nice gesture. "Actress Salma Hayek lavished praise on her husband's family for their generous donation to rebuild Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral -- and clarified that they won't be taking advantage of any tax credits [...]. 'My husband and father-in-law are two generous French citizens, who sincerely understand the importance of this spiritual, cultural and historical treasure from Paris to the world,' the actress added." 4/19/19

  • 'Very sweet': How donations are pouring in from around the world to fix Notre-Dame (CBC) I completely understand this. "In the offices of the French heritage foundation, near the banks of the Seine River just outside Paris, there's a buzz in the air. Not only is the mood unusually febrile, but cellphones are literally buzzing and landlines are ringing off the hook. The charity, whose official name is the Fondation du patrimoine, is acting as one of the government's main receivers of donations for the conservation — and eventual reconstruction — of Notre-Dame Cathedral. [...] The emotional reaction of donors has been overwhelming, said the organization's CEO, Célia Vérot. People 'are very sad. And they want to do something positive.'" 4/19/19

  • Black churches in Louisiana see $1.9 million surge in donations after fire at Notre Dame Cathedral (Vox) Good! As it should be. "A fundraising effort to support three historically black Louisiana churches burned down in recent arson attacks has seen a tremendous surge in support in the wake of a fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral, raising more than $1.9 million in donations as of Friday afternoon." 4/19/19

  • When Did We Stop Aspiring to Eternity? (Culture) "The cathedral is the artifact of a people who had faith incontinuity, in a future, of a civilization that still believed in itself." 4/18/19

  • Billionaires raced to pledge money to rebuild Notre Dame. Then came the backlash. (Washington Post) This is too bad. Donors have the right to make choices. "There was initial speculation that billionaire donors were contributing to Notre Dame to receive a generous tax break from the state. Typically, the French government allows corporations a 60 percent tax deduction on donations made in the realm of culture. 'Billionaires should pay taxes,' tweeted economist Julia Cage, 'not give when they feel like it, benefiting from enormous tax breaks.'" 4/18/19

  • The Walt Disney Company Announces $5 Million Donation for Reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral (AllEars.net) Beautiful! Also, I could not hold back a smile when I read the news source for this (AllEars.net - the Disney news portal)."'Notre-Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history,' said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, in a statement. 'The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbors in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a $5 million donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece.'" 4/18/19

AFP news

  • AFP Teams Up with AAUW to Train Fundraisers in Negotiation Skills (AFP Global) Great move AFP. Nice work AAUW. Note: This program is available to all AFP members regardless of gender. "The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has announced a new partnership with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and its Work Smart Online program to offer a free negotiation course to all members of AFP." 4/17/19


  • Mahon gets third term from U of L (Medicine Hat News) LETHBRIDGE STORY Congrats Mike! "President and vice-chancellor Mike Mahon will serve a third term leading the University of Lethbridge. The university’s board of governors has announced his reappointment for term ending in July 2023." 4/24/19

  • 74-unit affordable rental complex to be built in downtown Calgary (CBC) CALGARY STORY I like it! I even forgive the journalist for their spelling of philanthropists ('philaonthropists'). "A new apartment building to house the homeless, or people at risk of becoming homeless, will open in downtown Calgary next fall. The 74-unit building will go up at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Ninth Street S.W., land that was sold to charitable real estate developer HomeSpace at a $3.8-million discount by the city. The federal government committed $9.77 million to the project." 4/23/19

  • Glenbow president and CEO Donna Livingstone leaves to join Banff's Whyte Museum (Calgary Herald) BANFF STORY Congrats Donna. We will miss you. But you will not be far away and the Whyte Museum is awesome." 4/23/19

  • Calgary arts group takes work on tour to Dubai (CBC) CALGARY STORY Nice. Love this. "A group of Calgary artists are getting a rare opportunity to have their work displayed on another continent. Indefinite Arts Centre in Calgary, which provides artistic training and exhibition opportunities for people with disabilities will have 13 of its artists' works displayed both in Dubai's Historical District and at one of the world's busiest airports." 4/20/19

  • 'Tallest residential tower in the city' proposed for Beltline site near Elbow River (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY Good news all round. A boost for the Beltline. A boost for affordable housing. "If approved by city council, the project would be the tallest residential tower in the city and the first in Calgary to take advantage of new provincial rules enabling the city to grant developers additional density in exchange for providing affordable-housing units. The developer, Cidex, has promised to build 22 affordable-housing units in the first phase of the project that will be interspersed throughout the building instead of on dedicated floors." 4/19/19

  • STARS gets first new helicopters in fleet-wide transition (CBC) CALGARY STORY Congrats! They are beauties! "STARS air ambulance showed off its two new helicopters on Thursday, which should be ferrying critical patients around Alberta by the summer. The two Airbus H145's are the first of a new fleet of nine helicopters the organization hopes to acquire, with $91 million of an estimated $117 million needed for the fleet already raised. 'We're over the moon. This is an epic, unbelievable day for us,' said STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson. 'You see the beautiful machine behind us. It is 34 years newer than our current fleet.'" 4/18/19

  • Environment charities may benefit from new Alberta premier's vow to fight them (CBC) ALBERTA STORY "Alberta's incoming premier plans to take on environmental charities that he says are blocking exports of the province's oil, but those groups may be saying 'Bring it on.' [...] The federal Conservative government under Stephen Harper tried the same thing in 2012 by spending $12 million to audit environmental charities the Tories suspected of breaking the rules. Donations to those charities subsequently skyrocketed. [...] 'If Mr. Kenney wants to drive tens of millions of dollars to a few environmental groups, to the detriment of 1,200 other environmental charities in Canada, just do what the previous federal Conservatives did,' said Mark Blumberg, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in charities. 'It would be a major fundraising coup for these few groups, and terrible for the charity sector.'" 4/18/19

  • $20M in government funding brings new talent in sugar research to Canada and U of A (Folio) EDMONTON STORY The UofA has led the world in sugar research for more than half a century (thank you 'Sugar' Ray Lemieux). It is great that they are continuing the tradition. Welcome to Alberta Dr. Lara Mahal. "A world-renowned chemist is bringing her expertise to the University of Alberta to further her work in understanding how sugars interact with human health and disease, thanks to $10 million in federal funding over the next seven years through the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program. The funds will be matched by the Government of Alberta." 4/17/19

Life and career hacks

Uncommon knowledge


  • How to Redefine "Innovation" and Transform Your Charity's Work (Imagine Canada) CANADIAN CONTENT "For better or worse, the nonprofit sector has become obsessed with the concept of innovation. My inbox these days is filled with announcements about new social innovation funds, design thinking workshops, and the latest tech promising to make the world a better place." 4/9/19

Philanthropic personalities

  • Burdett Road in east London celebrates a GIANT of nineteenth-century philanthropy (InYourArea) "On this day April 21, 1814 philanthropist, Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1st Baroness Burdett-Coutts, was born. Born Angela Georgina Burdett, she was the daughter of Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Baronet. Inheriting her grandfather's fortune of approaching £2 million in 1837, she became one of the richest women in England. She was to spend the majority of her fortune on philanthropic causes." 4/21/19

Philanthropic controversy

  • The First Reparations Attempt at an American College Comes From Its Students (The Atlantic) Shame on Georgetown. Good on Georgetown students. "When sordid revelations surfaced in recent years of how the sale of hundreds of enslaved laborers in 1838 saved Georgetown University from the cliff of financial ruin, the college cobbled together a multipronged response. It summoned a working group to study how to make penance for the wrongdoing. It held a ceremony to deliver an official apology. It began giving descendants of the 272 enslaved people a bump in admissions. The Georgetown working group wrote that 'we are convinced that reparative justice requires a meaningful financial commitment from the University'—but so far, the university has done little to follow through on that recommendation. Students at the school have now taken matters into their own hands. Last week, in a student referendum, undergrads voted overwhelmingly to tax themselves the symbolically significant amount of $27.20 per semester to create a fund that will support the descendants of the enslaved people from whom the university profited. " 4/18/19

Trends and shifts

  • An AI frenzy at universities (Axios) Psst...hey you...yes, you! Wanna get into AI? It is likely a good move..."The frenzy at American and Canadian universities reflects the changing technology cycle, in which AI is expected to become perhaps the defining factor in economic and geopolitical power in the decades ahead. Students are pouring into computer science programs from coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada, university professors tell us. But the AI students among them still number at most in the low thousands in all at the moment, while companies say they are prepared to hire tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of AI experts." 4/19/19

  • How The Seattle Times is working with the Seattle Foundation to raise millions for its investigative work (Nieman Lab) I heart this trend. More please. "Nonprofit news donorship has taken off, with more than 50,000 new donors giving in a 2018 end-of-year fundraising campaign alone. Journalism crowdfunding has also taken flight with recent Kickstarter records from international to local news organizations. And it’s not just individual, small-dollar donors either; motivated to bolster democracy in a nuclearized version of the Trump Bump, community foundations and other local funders are showing brewing interest in supporting journalism directly." 4/22/19

  • To Spread Prosperity Further, Philanthropy Should Take Lessons From China (Stanford Social Innovation Review) China has catapulted itself into the forefront of global philanthropy. And it has paid huge dividends for its citizens. "In just four decades, about 800 million people in China have climbed out of poverty, lifting their income above the benchmark $1.90 or less per day. Remarkably, the country’s poverty rate is now less than 1 percent, down from more than 80 percent when I first conducted fieldwork in China’s rural Sichuan province in the 1980s." 4/17/19

  • College Kids Are Living Like Kings in Vancouver’s Empty Mansions (Bloomberg) VANCOUVER STORY We live in crazy times. I'm with Isaiah -- I would stay as long as I could as well. "Isaiah Boodhoo, 22, thought it was a 'complete hoax' when he saw a rental listing on Facebook for a bedroom in a Vancouver mansion for only C$1,100 ($825) a month. It turned out the glass chandeliers, luxurious blue drapes, steam room and billiards table were for real. The nine-bedroom home, dubbed 'The Castle' by the 14 students who share the property, is apparently owned by an Afghani pop artist, according to Boodhoo. 'Honestly, I would stay here for as long as I could,' he said, sitting on a white couch while sipping from a Slurpee cup. '$1,000 bucks for all this?'" 4/15/19

  • Interview With Penelope Burk: How Are Major Donors Changing Today? (AFP Global) A terrific interview with Penny Burk and Gail Perry. 4/1/19

  • PODCAST: Making the Case for Canada’s Charitable Sector (KCI Philanthropy) This is a great podcast. I subscribe. You should too! "As we’ve observed changes in how the generosity of Canadians is being expressed over the last few years, it begs the question if the relevance of the charitable sector is starting to get lost a little. Do Canadians really understand the essentialness of what we do and what our impact is…and what society would look like without us? And so, similar to the way organizations build a 'case for support' for themselves, there has been an awakening of late for the need to 'advocate', educate and build a case for our sector as a whole." April 2019

  • Recession, Blockchain, Drones and Other Tech Predictions for 2019 (Medium) #4 and #7 but really, #4. These and 16 other great predictions. 12/28/19

  • The Cognition Crisis (Neuroscience) No kidding. This is perhaps one of the "biggest deals" of our time. "[Our] brains simply have not kept pace with the dramatic and rapid changes in our environment — specifically the introduction and ubiquity of information technology." 7/9/18

Reports and studies

Large gifts

  • Shady Side Academy receives second-largest donation in its history (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) "A group of anonymous donors has given Shady Side Academy a $5.2 million gift, the second-largest in school history. The contribution will fund scholarships in honor of the academy’s late former middle school headmaster, David A. Mancosh Sr., and his wife, Rose Marie." Shady Side Academy is a private school in Pittsburgh for boys and girls in grades pre-k through 12. 4/22/19

  • NIGERIA GETS $5.7 MILLION DONATION TO SUPPORT ITS FIGHT AGAINST POLIO (Ventures Africa) Rotary, we salute you. Your single-minded support of the eradication of polio is one the truly great gifts of philanthropy. Thank you! "Three years after the last polio outbreak in the country, Nigeria is close to attaining its polio-free certification in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) specifications. This progress is the result of sustained efforts to eradicate the endemic disease in the region. Just recently, the Rotary International donated $5.7 million to support the fight against polio in Nigeria." 4/19/19

  • Jim Beam donation to create Kentucky spirits institute (San Francisco Chronicle) What took them so long? Oh, and can I please join the advisory committee for the Institute? I had to ask. "Jim Beam bourbon says it will donate $5 million to the University of Kentucky to establish the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits to teach the next generation of master distillers." 4/18/19

  • UW researchers developing permanent flu vaccine score $45M donation (MyNorthest.com) Wouldn't this be great if we had a universal and permanent cure for the flu. Oh, and go University of Washington! "The donation comes from The Audacious Project, an organization that looks to fund projects that can effect positive change on a global scale. UW’s Institute for Protein Design certainly seems to fit that bill, with research that covers a broad gamut of potentially groundbreaking science [including] a project in development to create a universal flu vaccine that provides permanent immunity from the illness. That in turn, could even break the door wide open for research on vaccines for HIV, cancer, and tons more." 4/17/19

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