Weekly News Recap: May 24, 2019

Tsuut'ina officially opens largest sportsplex on a southern Alberta First Nation. Brenden Crane is the Tsuut'ina Nation's project manager. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Valor withers without adversity. — Seneca


  • A scholarship endowment that has changed an entire rural county in the U.S. forever
  • Cannabis and UFC, a partnership made in high heaven
  • A billion dollar drug trial deal for the UofC
  • Largest class of black women ever to graduate from West Point
  • Why retreat is often necessary while surrender is almost never good
  • $40 million of student debt is wiped out in a single commencement speech and the man who chose to do it
  • What to do with high-maintenance donors
  • Philanthropy in France is on the rise
  • Attracting the next generation to our museums and workplaces
  • How fundraisers spend their time
  • The free admission trend
  • ...And so much more

Upcoming events

  • The Secrets of Personal Philanthropy (Eventbrite) GRANDE PRAIRIE STORY Paul Nazareth is the Vice President, Education & Development at the Canadian Association of Gift Planners. He is speaking in Grande Prairie as a guest of the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta on Tuesday, July 18, 2019. If you are in the area and want to see Paul you can get your free tickets at the link above. May 2019

AFP Global

  • Canada Foundation Announces Spring 2019 Recipients of the National Scholarship Program (AFP Global) CANADIAN STORY Congrats to all! "The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada is proud to announce that nine fundraising professionals have received scholarships to pursue key continuing education opportunities across North America." 5/16/19

  • MEMBER VALUE MATRIX (AFP Global) CANADIAN CONTENT In case you were wondering about your membership value -- it's right here. "AFP Canada and our members hold a special place within the worldwide philanthropic landscape. While as Canadians we share many attributes similar to other world citizens, still we have a distinct voice and strongly embrace the values, beliefs, history and biases that make us unique. At the core, we are stewards of those who wish to make our communities greater and are fierce agents of the organizations that bring about the good that we want to see and be in the world." May 2019



  • List of Charities - basic search (Canada Revenue Agency) CANADIAN CONTENT CRA just updated its charities search feature. We look up charities and their status all the time. You should too! "Confirm whether a Canadian charity is registered, revoked, annulled, penalized, or suspended (to help guide your donation decisions) or view a charity's contact information, general activities, and financial information, including the public portions of a charity's annual information return." 5/22/19


  • Aurora and the UFC pen 'multi-million dollar' CBD deal (Daily Hive) EDMONTON STORY Sounds like a great partnership. Truly. "Edmonton-based licenced producer Aurora, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) are looking to choke the market unconscious (sports metaphors are hard) with a new deal to develop CBD products and education for athletes." 5/21/19

  • U of L's Dhillon School of Business Benefactor to be Given Honorary Degree (CJOC) LETHBRIDGE STORY Nice. Well deserved. "The University of Lethbridge is recognizing international real estate developer Navjeet (Bob) Dhillon by presenting him with an honorary degree. Last year, he made institutional history by pledging a $10-million gift to the U of L as it transformed its Faculty of Management to the Dhillon School of Business." 5/21/19

  • Oprah surprises New Jersey principal, students with $500K donation (ABC) Oprah has always been generous and she loves innovation and education. Nice work everyone. "Oprah Winfrey surprised a high school principal in Newark that is making a huge difference in his community. Winfrey surprised West Side High School's Principal Akbar Cook [...] and donated half a million dollars to help keep his Lights On program running." 5/18/19

  • Dalhousie University names its new president (CBC) HALIFAX STORY Congrats and welcome back to Canada Dr. Saini. "Dalhousie University has appointed biologist and administrator Deep Saini as its next president. The Halifax university said Saini was the selection committee's unanimous choice. He is currently the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra in Australia and previously worked at four Canadian universities." 5/16/19

  • U of C buzzing about release of digital bee collection (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY Love the corny headline. If they didn't use it, I would have. "A new online collection of high-resolution pictures of bees will transform the way people think about the insects, according to a University of Calgary associate professor." 5/16/19

  • Heart of University of Calgary campus undergoing placemaking transformation (Daily Hive) CALGARY STORY Stunning! "Disruptions caused by construction within the very core of the University of Calgary’s campus are proving to be well worth the wait, now that progress on the project is accelerating and becoming very visible — turning what was an old structure into an architectural jewel." 5/16/19

  • Billion-dollar autoimmune drug deal a ‘dream come true’ for University of Calgary researcher (The Star) CALGARY STORY Wowza! "A University of Calgary researcher says he’s hopeful a deal worth up to $1 billion between his drug company and a U.S. biotechnology firm could one day lead to autoimmune disease treatments that don’t make patients more vulnerable to infections or cancer [...]. University of Calgary president Ed McCauley said the big-ticket investment affirms how important it is to invest in fundamental research." 5/16/19

  • RDC recognizes shared values with BGIS (rdnewsNOW) RED DEER STORY Thanks BGIS! "Red Deer College has recognized this week a long-time partner and key contributor to its Shaping Our Future campaign. [RDC] recognized BGIS at an event in the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris for their donation toward building the facility. College officials say the meeting room adjoining the Ice Arena’s first floor entrance has been named the BGIS Geothermal Room." 5/16/19

  • West Point is about to graduate its largest class of black women (CNN) What a milestone. Very inspiring. "Thirty-four black women are expected to graduate from West Point [this week]. That will be the largest class of African-American women to graduate together in the military academy's lengthy history, West Point spokesman Frank Demaro said." 5/15/19

  • Central Alberta artist makes “monumental gift” of his works to Red Deer museum (Red Deer Advocate) RED DEER STORY Such a lovely gift. Thanks Mr. More. "Having spent most of his life painting the region’s fields, streams and skies, local artist Dave More wanted to ensure that a broad array of this artwork stays right here, to be enjoyed by central Albertans. The practising artist and retired Red Deer College visual arts instructor has made the largest single donation in the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery’s history by donating nearly 200 of his sketches, drawings and paintings to the facility." 5/15/19

  • U of L’s new Science and Academic Building to officially open on September 13th and 14th (Lethbridge News Now) LETHBRIDGE STORY Congrats! What a beautiful building. "It’s been nearly a decade in the making but come this fall the Destination Project at the University of Lethbridge will open to the public officially. The U of L, in partnership with Economic Development Lethbridge and Beakerhead Creative Society, is planning a community celebration to mark the official opening of the new Science and Academic Building. The two-day event will take place on Sept. 13 and 14 and will feature a host of interactive programs designed to showcase the 38,500 sq. metre building, celebrate ingenuity, science education, research and discovery." 5/15/19

  • Dementia patients should be offered music and dance therapy (The Telegraph) Music and movement will save us all. "More people with dementia should be given music or dance therapy in a bid to prevent them being ‘over-medicalised’, the Health Secretary has said. It follows research which found that giving people with dementia personal playlists resulted in a 60 per cent reduction in the need for mind-altering drugs." 4/6/19

First Peoples of Canada

  • Tsuut'ina officially opens largest sportsplex on a southern Alberta First Nation (CBC) TSUUT'INA STORY We shared the invite in last week's recap (and there’s still time to RSVP). Congrats again to the Tsuut'ina Nation on this wonderful facility. "The largest sportsplex on a southern Alberta First Nation is officially open to nation members and the public. On Tuesday, Tsuut'ina Chief Lee Crowchild declared the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex & Chief Jim Starlight Centre open — something he said was a long time coming." 5/21/19

Life and career hacks

Uncommon knowledge

  • The new kilogram just debuted. It’s a massive achievement. (Vox) Yep, the world is a-changing. Well, at least the world of standards and measurements. BTW, I still weigh the same. Sadly. "Starting [this month], the kilogram will be defined by the Planck constant. The Planck constant is a concept in quantum mechanics (i.e. the study of how the tiniest components of the universe works), which describes how the tiniest bits of matter release energy in discrete steps or chunks (called quanta). Basically, you can think of the Planck constant as the smallest action an electron can take." 5/20/19


  • Andy Haldane: ‘We have allowed the voluntary sector to wither’ (The Guardian) Mr. Haldane has some very useful suggestions to go along with his assertion (which I agree with). I encourage you to give this a read. "Much of the discussion of the fourth industrial revolution relates to the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence, robotics, biotech, and big data on the world of work and business. It could lead to huge gains in productivity, wealth creation and human happiness. Equally, it may kill millions of jobs, fuel social tensions, and widen inequality. Civil society’s place in this massive societal shake-out, reckons Andy Haldane, is relatively unexplored – but it will be profound." Thanks to Ron Bailey for sharing this article. 5/22/19

Philanthropic personalities

  • The 15 biggest private donations to universities by the ultra rich (Business Insider) "Here are the 15 largest donations to public and private colleges, tracked using data from The Chronicle of Higher Education." 5/21/19

  • Lu Weiding Named the Most Generous Chinese Philanthropist (Barron's) "Lu Weiding, chief executive of China’s largest auto components company Wanxiang Group, became the country’s most generous philanthropist, with a single donation of US$720 million in the year ending March 31, according to Hurun Philanthropist List." 5/21/19

  • ‘Philanthropy Changed My Life’: Elton John on What’s Next for His AIDS Charity (Chronicle of Philanthropy) "Elton John may be the best-known advocate on the planet in the battle against HIV/AIDS. He started his nonprofit 25 years ago as the epidemic was bursting into the world’s consciousness. The deaths of Rock Hudson, Arthur Ashe, and Rudolf Nureyev, among many other celebrities, helped fuel concern about the rapid spread of the infection. John’s foundation has since raised more than $400 million and is getting an extra push because he is making fundraising a part of his farewell tour — and it probably won’t hurt that Rocketman, a biopic of the star, is coming out May 31." 5/21/19

  • Who is Morehouse billionaire benefactor Robert F. Smith? (CBS) "The 56-year old Smith, who holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a master of business degree from Columbia University, is the founder of the nearly 20-year-old Austin, Texas-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. His P.E. firm, which manages more than $46 billion in assets from pension funds and other big institutional investors, buys major stakes exclusively in software, data and technology companies. It has an exceptional annualized rate of return of 22%, according to Forbes. The magazine also estimates the business whiz is worth about $5 billion." 5/20/19

  • ‘Lt. Dan’ actor Gary Sinise awarded for military philanthropy (Fox News) "Gary Sinise, an actor and philanthropist best known as 'Lt. Dan' from the film 'Forrest Gump' and for his charitable work with the armed forces, received an award from the United Services [Organization]." 5/18/19

  • ALIBABA SAYS PHILANTHROPY AT CORE OF ITS BUSINESS MODEL (Alzila) "Alibaba Group [...] released its first-ever philanthropy report, detailing the charitable projects of the company and its employees. According to the report, Alibaba currently operates three related platforms: Alibaba Philanthropy, Alipay Philanthropy and 'Each Person Three Hours,' which connects aspiring volunteers in China with organizations in need of help. In the past 12 months, the Alibaba Philanthropy and Alipay Philanthropy platforms, together with 440 million people across China that used the three platforms, raised over RMB 1.27 billion ($184 million) in charitable donations, said the report. In the same period, over 15 million people registered on the 'Each Person Three Hours' platform, which listed over 3.05 million volunteer opportunities from 937 local nonprofit organizations." 5/16/19

  • Hero of the Week: David Attenborough Dedicates His Last Years to Saving the Planet (Goalcast) Sir Attenbourough, we can never thank you enough. "An icon across four generations, he’s the voice that everyone instantly recognizes: David Attenborough has delighted, entertained, educated and inspired countless people across the world. Aged 93 now, the naturalist has turned his full attention to raise the alarm of climate change, a cause that captivated him from childhood." 5/10/19

Philanthropic controversy

  • Podemos attacks Zara owner’s €320 million healthcare donation (El País) We shared earlier versions of this story in our Jun 23, 2017 and April 7, 2017 recaps. "The Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos has questioned donations made by Inditex founder Amancio Ortega to Spain’s public healthcare system. The business mogul – who, with a fortune of €56 billion, according to Forbes magazine, is Spain’s richest man – promised in 2017 to donate €320 million through the Amancio Ortega Foundation so that public hospitals across Spain could buy new equipment to diagnose and treat cancer patients." 5/21/19

  • When Is a High-Maintenance Donor Not Worth the Trouble? (Town & Country) "Institutions in the real world [...] often have the [following] problem: Benefactors’ gifts come with an increasing number of strings attached. There are, of course, the high profile examples of this, such as when Blackstone Group’s Stephen A. Schwarzman expected to have Abington Senior High School, which he attended in the 1960s, renamed after himself in exchange for a $25 million donation last year, until students and alumni revolted. This followed a brouhaha in which Sanford and Joan Weill’s efforts to change the name of upstate New York’s Paul Smith’s College to Joan Weill–Paul Smith’s College were rebuffed in court. (That ruling led to their rescinding a $20 million donation.)" 5/20/19

  • Why paying for pandas is not so black and white (BBC) "Wang Wang and Funi came to Australia from China a decade ago. Their relationship is best described as complicated. Despite considerable medical assistance, they have never managed to produce offspring. It has put a big question mark over whether they will be permitted to remain in Australia. The fate of the two giant pandas may now depend on the outcome of the federal election on May 18. Keeping the couple at Adelaide Zoo includes paying about A$1 million a year to the Chinese government." 5/18/19

  • Name and Shame: A New Initiative Tracks Undue Donor Influence at Universities (Inside Philanthropy) "One of the more problematic byproducts of the higher ed fundraising boom is the proliferation of ‘strings-attached’ gifts in which a donor is given a say in university decision-making, potentially jeopardizing an institution’s academic independence and reputation. Complicating matters is the fact that those concerned with undue donor influence can’t fall back on an established framework to objectively gauge the propriety of such arrangements." 5/16/19

  • The Met museum to reject donations from Sackler family over opioid crisis (The Guardian) "The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced [...] that it will stop accepting gifts from members of the Sackler family who own the company making the OxyContin prescription painkillers implicated in the US opioids crisis." 5/15/19

Trends and shifts

  • Philanthropy’s bad reputation could put big donors off giving – here’s why it matters (The Conversation) "Within hours of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, half a billion Euros had been raised in donations by leading French business people and their families to help pay for its reconstruction. The speed with which such enormous sums could be raised kicked off a global discussion about the rights and wrongs of that philanthropic reaction, largely focused on whether a building, however important, should be prioritised over the needs of the poor in Paris and beyond. But the philanthropic response to the Notre Dame fire also highlighted a less discussed issue: how major donors are negatively depicted in media coverage. And the impact this might have on the willingness of private philanthropists to step forward in future." 5/22/19

  • Philanthropy in France is rapidly evolving according to national survey (Alliance Magazine) "Philanthropy in France is a rapidly expanding sector according to a national survey on French foundations with more than one-third of the country’s 2,500 foundations currently in existence created after 2010 [...]. Beyond the increase in the number of organisations, there has also rapid growth in the assets of foundations between 2013 and 2017 including a 36 per cent increase in annual expenditure and 28 per cent growth in foundations’ resources." 5/21/19

  • Not your 'grandmother's museum': How Canada's major art galleries are chasing youth (CBC) CANADIAN STORY In a word, good! "Late-night, glow-in-the-dark painting sessions. Dance parties. Trendy food and drink stations. Intimate live performances. Hip-hop concerts. Social media stars dropping by. This ain't your parents' museum. Major art galleries and museums are pulling out all the stops to inspire young adults to visit, from diversifying the type of art that's displayed, to turning galleries into party hot spots, to dropping prices all the way to free." 5/18/19

  • Getting past the senior stereotypes: U of A researcher says attitudes need to mature (CBC) EDMONTON STORY Ahem...I am increasingly interested in this research. Just saying. "It's a stereotype as old as the hills: hit 65 and your body falls apart, your health gets dodgy and your value in society plummets. But it's not a stereotype that is well studied and, as the population increasingly skews to the plus side of 65, that's a problem, says a University of Alberta researcher and nursing professor." 5/16/19

  • Oxford announces new Institute for Charity (University of Oxford) Exciting times for charity research and education. "The Oxford Institute of Charity (OIC) represents a collaboration between the College and Charity Futures, the Third Sector think tank, and is the culmination of almost three years of discussion and planning. It is anticipated that the Institute will open its doors in the summer of 2022 in a purpose-built home on a newly developed part of the college site." 5/15/19

  • How to attract younger talent to the nonprofit sector: What are Millennials and Gen Z looking for?#.XOXzytNKjOS) (Charity Village) CANADIAN CONTENT Practical, credible, and authentic advice. "As we ask questions about attracting a younger demographic to the sector, addressing a looming workplace gap, we might make guesses about what they, meaning young people, want." 4/3/19

Stats and facts

  • Just the Facts: Asylum claimants (Statistics Canada) CANADIAN STORY "The number of asylum claimants—those individuals requesting refugee protection upon or after arrival in Canada—more than tripled from 2015 to 2017, rising from 16,058 to 50,389. Despite the increase, the pace of growth has slowed, with 55,023 asylum claimants arriving in Canada in 2018. The number of asylum claimants had reached previous peaks in 2008 (about 37,000) and 2001 (about 44,000). Released today, the article 'Asylum Claimants,' released as part of Just the Facts, provides more details on this trend, the characteristics of asylum claimants in Canada, and their outcomes after arrival." 5/22/19

  • Family matters: New relationships after separation or divorce (Statistics Canada) CANADIAN STORY "Families in Canada are becoming increasingly diverse. As a growing number of adults experience separation and divorce over their lifetime, the number of people who marry or live common law multiple times has also increased. This results in changes in family sizes, structures and life stories. More than one in four Canadians aged 35 to 64 who were in a couple relationship in 2017 were in their second or subsequent marriage or common-law relationship. These individuals had experienced family life in more than one context, with different partners and often children from more than one union. The increase in the number of repartnered families has implications for personal time use, health and well-being, as well as for Canadian public policy and the economy." 5/15/19

Reports and studies

  • How Are Fundraisers Spending Their Week? (AFP Global) Interesting read. I am still digesting. Curious to hear your thoughts... "A new report from global CRM leader, Salesforce.org, finds that fundraisers spend, in any given week, the most time on major gifts, followed up by different kinds of grant writing, events and membership work." You can download the report here. 5/20/19

Large gifts

  • Donation to UT Will Expand View of the Universe (UT News) Truly, a visionary gift. "David Booth, co-founder and executive chairman of Austin-based Dimensional Fund Advisors and a visionary philanthropist, has committed a $10 million gift to The University of Texas at Austin. His philanthropic investment will be used to advance Texas Science and the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). Once completed, the GMT will be the world’s largest telescope and have the capability to provide unprecedented views of the universe." 5/22/19

  • Ohio Wesleyan University just landed the largest single donation in its 177-year history (Columbus Business First) "Ohio Wesleyan University recently received a record-breaking donation. The 177-year old school announced [...] that it's received $23.56 million in gifts and pledges to support its capital campaign. The largest single donation was a $10 million donation from an anonymous couple, which was the largest in the school's history." 5/21/19

  • Tech billionaire pledges to pay off Morehouse College grad students' debt — up to $40M (CBC) Now, arguably, the most popular commencement speaker in America. All kidding aside, what a gift. Everyone in that room just had their lives changed, first with education, and then...with this! "A billionaire technology investor stunned the graduating class at Morehouse College in Atlanta by announcing at their commencement Sunday that he would pay off their student loans — estimated at up to $40 million US." 5/20/19

  • $10M gift to Los Angeles museum will make admission free (Sacramento Bee) I love free access to art. More please. "The Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles says admission will soon be free thanks to a $10 million gift by the president of its board of trustees. Carolyn Powers announced her donation Saturday night during an annual benefit dinner." 5/19/19

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

The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by ViTreo Group Inc. of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein. ViTreo Group does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. All links are provided with the intent of meeting the mission of the ViTreo Group Inc. Please let us know about existing external links which you believe are inappropriate.