Weekly News Recap: August 11, 2017

Calgarians know the value of the YMCA in their community. (Gavin Young / Calgary Herald)

The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. — Norman Schwarzkopf


  • Red Deer College breaks ground on 4,000 square foot alternative energy lab (Red Deer Advocate) RED DEER STORY Congrats! Great initiative for Alberta and for central Alberta. "Ground broke Wednesday on an alternative energy lab that will serve as a learning space. There is also significant investment in solar panels that will have a long-term impact on the college’s bottom line. While the college is paying $5 million for the initiative, the rest of the funding comes from the federal government’s Post-Secondary Strategic Initiative Fund." 8/9/17
  • City looking at regional performing arts centre (Daily Herald Tribune) GRANDE PRAIRIE STORY Every city needs an arts and culture jewel. "As the city moves forward in its ambition to build up the downtown area, one of its focal points is the Montrose Cultural Centre, with a hope it will become an arts and culture jewel for the region." 8/9/17
  • Regional hospital on schedule (Daily Herald Tribune) GRANDE PRAIRIE STORY "Grande Prairie’s new regional hospital is still on schedule for 2019 [and] 98% of the hospital’s exterior is completed." The project's original budget was $647.5 million and the current budget is $763 million. 8/7/17
  • Best Way to Give: Charity, Philanthropy, and Everything in Between (Capital Research Center) Martin Wooster's comments about being a sucker aside, the rest are interesting insights. I am with Pope Francis on beggars by the way. I say, if they ask, give. If they spend it on wine, and this brings them happiness, so be it. 8/3/17
  • Editorial: YMCA reaches its 'Power of Potential' (Calgary Herald) CALGARY HERALD With the financial support of Jim Gray, Melcor Developments and the Meltons, Shane Homes and the Wenzels, Brookfield Residential, the Calgary Foundation, and hundreds of other donors, YMCA Calgary has achieved its largest ever fundraising goal — the $30-million Power of Potential campaign. ViTrēo is proud to have been campaign counsel for this campaign. Congratulations to YMCA Calgary and thank you to all the volunteers and the donors. 7/26/17

Books to read

  • Marcus Aurelius: How to Think Clearly (Personal Growth) If you have not read a little Marcus Aurelius, you really should. It will help you see the world as it is rather than what you hope it is. 7/18/17


  • How personal opinions destroy fundraising effectiveness (Future Fundraising Now) If you work for a nonprofit, you know that the sector is “consensus-heavy [and that] a lot of people’s opinions are sought and valued.” As the article states: “[listen] to those who can back their opinions with knowledge and experience. Find a different way to value and respect everyone else. The purpose of fundraising is to raise funds, not to be a creative outlet for your staff.” Great advice. Thanks to Scott Decksheimer for sharing this post. 8/10/17
  • Brown and Garrett: Examining public art tirade from an artist's view (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY A cogent and informed opinion from two prominent Calgary artists on why we do public art and why the current furore around the Bowfort Towers is misplaced energy. There are many more interesting and important facets of public art policy than cost and whether or not to use a local artist. 8/9/17
  • Schmidt: Food banks are doing more and more to help the poor. Time for governments to step up (Ottawa Citizen) CANADIAN STORY Food banks have clearly stepped into their role to help those who most need help. But, has this been because government has stepped back? "Consider this: Nearly half of households accessing food banks count social assistance as their primary source of income. And no wonder. For a single adult, the program provides about $8,000 per year. That’s more than $10,000 below the poverty line. Take a moment to imagine how anyone can live in Canada on $675 a month." 8/4/17

Life and career hacks

  • Information Underload (Medium) Very interesting take on the 'information' economy. My favourite quote from this article: "We see this pattern again and again — companies coming along to tell us that their platform will help us with the firehose of content. But the big problem is not that it’s a firehose, but that it’s a firehose of sewage." Tru dat. 7/20/17
  • It’s Tea Time (Cross | Over) "Here’s why you should add tea to your daily routine" I drink both. I need to drink more tea. Got to go...see you next week, my kettle's boiling. 7/12/17
  • Want to Become the Best at What You Do? Read this. (Thrive Global) Benjamin Hardy posts a lot of repeat posts on Medium. That bugs me but he is also a prolific writer of excellent new content. For this, I forgive the repeats. And this post is another stunner. Read and re-read. 5/3/17

Uncommon knowledge

Philanthropic controversy

Trends and shifts

  • Fundraising with artificial intelligence (Fundraising & Philanthropy Australia) AI is coming (has come actually) to fundraising. This post talks about a cancer charity using chatbots to achieve high conversion rates (over direct mail/email) and how AI-driven triggered surveys are driving engagement to over 90% with volunteers. 8/7/17
  • Area nonprofits adapt to the millennial way of charitable giving (The Hour) "[Foundations] are stretched thin financially [and now] they’re turning to millennials for support. Millennials — those born between 1980 and 2000 — surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates released in 2016 by the U.S. Census Bureau, and they’re inheriting the wealth of previous generations." 8/6/17

Large gifts

  • Wanda's Donation to Quake-Stricken Jiuzhaigou Pushes Company's Disaster Relief to over RMB500 Million (Markets Insider) On the evening of 8th August, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Jiuzhaigou County in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, inflicting heavy casualties and property losses. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. "Dalian Wanda Group made a RMB10 million [$1.5 million USD] donation to the earthquake-stricken area of Jiuzhaigou, [bringing] the company's total natural-disaster relief contribution to more than 500 million [$75 million USD]." 8/9/17
  • Bristol Community College receives its largest donation ever: $2 million (Taunton Gazette) "[The] $2 million will be used for a new anatomy and physiology lab, to establish a fund that will be used to purchase and maintain new equipment at BCC’s Fall River campus and support two existing scholarships. The donations were made by the Harold and Virginia Lash Trusts, longtime donors who have their name on BCC’s Lash Enrollment Services Center, The Lash Center for Teaching and Learning and the Lash Scholarships." Bristol Community College is a two-year community college with its main campus located in Fall River, Massachusetts. 8/7/17
  • Yuengling CEO pledges $2.8M for new Pottsville parking deck (Republican Herald) I have seen gifts to infrastructure before but not too often do we see millions contributed to a parking structure. "Richard L. 'Dick' Yuengling Jr., president and CEO of D.G. Yueng-ling & Son Inc., has pledged a donation of up to $2.8 million to the city that will be used for the construction of the new Mahantongo Parking Center." 8/5/17
  • $2 Million Donation from Eric and Wendy Schmidt Supports Launch of Program in Theoretical Machine Learning at the Institute for Advanced Study (Institute for Advanced Study) "This gift will launch a three-year program beginning in the Fall of 2017 and will focus on developing the mathematical underpinnings of machine learning, including unsupervised learning, deep learning, optimization, and statistics. The program will also explore connections to neighboring fields, including biology, computer vision, natural language processing, neuroscience, and social science." The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey, is an independent, postdoctoral research center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry founded in 1930. The IAS is best known as the academic home of Albert Einstein, Hermann Weyl, John von Neumann and Kurt Gödel. Although it is close to and collaborates with Princeton University, Rutgers University, and other nearby institutions, it is independent and does not charge tuition or fees. 8/4/17
  • W&M Law School receives $5.2M gift to support scholarships and other priorities (William & Mary) "William & Mary Law School recently received a $5.2 million gift in honor of the late Judge R. William Arthur. [The] gift, from the estate of William Arthur’s wife, Dorothy Arthur, will support scholarships for William & Mary law students and other law school priorities. Dorothy Arthur previously gave more than $335,000 to establish a Loan Repayment Assistance Endowment at the law school in her husband’s memory." 7/31/17

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