Weekly News Recap: August 23, 2019

Weekly News Recap: August 23, 2019

Bill Ptacek, seen here on Aug. 16, 2019, turned libraries from quiet places for reading into buzzing community hubs.

Some talk to you in their free time and some free their time to talk to you. Learn the difference. – Unknown

This week's highlights

  • The Fundraising Effectiveness Project is coming to Canada #Benchmarks
  • Canadians are being invited to rename a star #StarryMcStarFace
  • Two of Calgary's most important institutions announce new CEOs #Welcome
  • Two of Canada's universities are in the top 35 in the world #Congrats
  • UCP makes funding cuts and board leadership shifts #Changes
  • St. Albert recognizes one of its own #Iggy
  • Federal investment in one of the TRC calls to action #IndigenousLawInstitutes
  • "The Wreaking Crew" #ToWatch
  • Want to be more productive? Declutter and start small #Hacks
  • The microbiome, outer space air conditioning, and numbers that don't compute #UncommonKnowledge
  • A breakthrough in making hydrogen for Oilsands...at scale #NoPollution
  • NYC demands diversity in its cultural sector or you don't get funding #Smart
  • Apple celebrates America's national parks with a cool $1 million, a college of pharmacy is renamed...and moved, and Stonybrook gets an anonymous gift to study the most intractable problems facing humanity #LargeGifts
  • And so much more...

AFP Global

  • Ground-Breaking Charitable Fundraising Project Coming to Canada (AFP Global) CANADIAN STORY Thank you DonorPerfect Canada, The Hilborn Group, and Stephen Thomas Ltd. This is going to change the way Canadian charities benchmark their giving. "The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), which tracks growth and losses in charitable giving in the United States and provides tools and templates for charities to improve their fundraising numbers, is set to launch in Canada in early 2020." 8/15/19

Rename a star

  • Mission you should choose to accept: Stellar Canadian contest will name planet, its star (CBC) CANADIAN CONTENT The contest ends September 20. Better get a move on! "Consider it your intergalactic civic duty. The International Astronomical Union is calling on Canadians to name an exoplanet and the star that it's orbiting. And it shouldn't be hard to improve on the current, less-than-catchy monikers: the planet seeking a new label is named HD136418B. Its star is called HD136418." 8/15/19


  • Glenbow Announces New President & CEO (The Glenbow) CALGARY STORY Congrats to all. Welcome to Calgary Mr. Bell. "Originally from Vancouver, [Nicholas] Bell joins Glenbow from his position as Senior Vice President for Curatorial Affairs at Mystic Seaport Museum, the preeminent American maritime museum, where he launched a formidable exhibitions program. He previously also served as The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, in Washington DC, where he led the Renwick’s relaunch, increasing attendance from 150,000 annually to one million." 8/20/19

  • New Calgary Public Library CEO to continue modernizing city's libraries (Calgary Herald) CALGARY STORY Congrats to all. "As libraries experience a 'renaissance,' the Calgary Public Library’s new CEO has set his sights on being innovative in bridging the digital divide and creating free community spaces. Mark Asberg worked in corporate libraries for much of his career until pursuing a job at Calgary Public Library five years ago." 8/19/19

  • Environmental groups were warned that some climate change ads could be seen as partisan during election period (CBC) CANADIAN STORY "An Elections Canada official told groups in a training session earlier this summer that since Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People's Party of Canada, has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change, any group that promotes it as an issue in its paid advertising could be considered partisan and might need to register as a third party with Elections Canada." 8/19/19

  • Iggy! Iggy! St. Albert naming arena after NHL great Jarome Iginla (CBC) ST. ALBERT STORY Nice move St. Albert. Iggy is loved across Alberta. "Akinsdale Arena in St. Albert will be renamed the Jarome Iginla Arena on Aug. 25, the City of St. Albert said Monday. Iginla, who retired last year, played much of his 23-season NHL career with the Calgary Flames. He grew up in St. Albert and got his start playing for the St. Albert Eagle Raiders minor hockey team." 8/19/19

  • Chicago native Bill Ptacek helped expand Calgary’s libraries (The Globe and Mail) CALGARY STORY I have had the privilege of working with and alongside Bill as he and his team successfully catapulted Calgary's libraries into the realm of the world's best. Like Mayor Nenshi, I have a huge leader-crush on Bill. "In June, Bill Ptacek, CEO of the Calgary Public Library, received one of the city of Calgary’s highest honours: Citizen of the Year. At the ceremony, Mayor Naheed Nenshi declared, 'I have a giant crush on Bill Ptacek. I love him so much!' But Mr. Ptacek was not there. He was recovering from brain surgery a few kilometres away at the home where he, his wife, Margaret, and their eldest daughter Sara, 39, have lived since moving to Calgary in 2014." 8/18/19

  • 'Blindsided': UCP blasted for mass appointments to boards, commissions (Edmonton Journal) ALBERTA STORY "Christine Myatt, Premier Jason Kenney’s press secretary, said [...] the government is working to strengthen the agencies, boards and commissions application process and will have more to say about it in the near future [...]. 'It is reasonable for a new government to align the membership of provincial ABCs with the mandate it received from Albertans,' Myatt told Postmedia in an email." 8/17/19

  • Announcing the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship (rabble.ca) CANADIAN STORY This is a great fellowship. Now, if we could just increase the award value. Thanks to Janice Paskey for sharing this announcement. "rabble.ca and Olivia Chow of the Institute for Change Leaders are delighted to announce the inaugural launch of the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship. It was six years ago today that Canada lost a great leader. Jack Layton inspired people by example, demonstrating that working together for social and economic justice is possible and achievable." 8/16/19

  • University of Toronto named one of the best academic schools in the world (DH News Toronto) TORONTO STORY Congrats! Well deserved. "The University of Toronto (UofT) has once again been recognized as not just one of Canada’s, but one of the world’s, highest-ranking post-secondary schools. The institution recently ranked first in Canada and 24th in the world by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy." 8/16/19

  • UBC named one of the best academic schools in the world (DH News Vancouver) VANCOUVER STORY Congrats! Well deserved. "The University of British Columbia (UBC) has once again been recognized as not just one of Canada’s, but one of the world’s, highest-ranking post-secondary schools. The institution recently ranked second in Canada and 35th in the world by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy." 8/16/19

  • Libraries say withheld funding not yet cause for concern (The Grove Examiner) STONY PLAIN STORY Great response. "Stony Plain Public Library Assistant Director Mark McHale says the initial reporting was a bit alarmist. Funding from Alberta makes up only 14 per cent of the facility budget. Delays are common and he does not see the current United Conservative Party government as hostile to the library he helps oversee." 8/15/19

  • Alberta government cuts $3.2M in funding to Calgary Homeless Foundation (CBC) CALGARY STORY "The Calgary Homeless Foundation, which helps fund approximately 30 agencies across the city, is faced with a nearly eight per cent cut to its provincial funding. That amounts to a drop of about $3.2 million for the current year. CEO Diana Krecsy says the foundation will continue to be able to house current clients, which include the Alpha House, Inn from the Cold, The Alex and more. But they will affect efforts to prevent homelessness, she warned." 8/15/19

First Peoples of Canada

  • Indigenous tourism businesses booming in B.C. as visitors spend $705M a year (CBC) BRITISH COLUMBIA STORY Good news. "Indigenous tourism businesses are seeing rapid growth in B.C. as more international visitors seek experiences that bring them closer to Canadian culture, the province's Indigenous tourism association says." 8/16/19

  • U of A Indigenous law centre gets federal boost (CBC) EDMONTON STORY Nice to see some movement on the TRC calls to action. "Two University of Alberta faculties have joined forces to elevate Indigenous laws and legal traditions in Alberta communities. The federal government announced $134,000 in funding Wednesday for the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge, a collaboration between the Faculty of Native Studies and the Faculty of Law. The initiative helps address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 50th call to action: to fund the creation of Indigenous law institutes." 8/15/19*

  • 'This feels right to be here': Moccasin tops on Batoche trail symbolize lost Indigenous women and girls (CBC) SASKATCHEWAN STORY This is powerful. "A multi-year artistic movement commemorating the loss of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people across Canada is coming to an end at Batoche [...]. The art consists of moccasin tops that have been laid on top of a red strip of cloth several hundred metres long and winding its way down to the south Saskatchewan River." 8/15/19

Movies to watch

  • The 30 best films about music, chosen by musicians (The Guardian) I have seen some of these ("Walk the Line", "Amy", and a few others) and I want to see them all but the one I want to see soon is "The Wrecking Crew". My friend Ron Bailey turned me onto this story on a recent road trip. "A film about this extraordinary, charming, unegotistical group of LA session musicians in the 60s and early 70s who played on everything, and didn’t publicly get proper credit. They made Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, they played the backing tracks for the Beach Boys, they’re on Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ and Glenn Campbell’s Wichita Lineman (with Carol Kaye’s bassline). You realise all these records have a sound, and the sound is this band." 8/18/19

Seven life and career hacks -- one for each day of the week

  1. Science Says Decluttering Your Work Environment Improves Your Focus & Productivity (Personal Growth Lab) For me, this is eminently true. Now, if I could just find the time to do the decluttering... 8/19/19

  2. This Is Why You Need to Say Yes (Personal Growth) This policeman turned artist is one of the best at capturing what is really important in life. "We spend a lot of time pursuing our careers. Chasing the prize of money, recognition, benefits, etc. It’s easy to say no to unexpected opportunities. After all, we’re all busy. Who has time? In reality, some things are worth making time for." 8/16/19

  3. What I Learned from Building a Social Business to Feed Pandas! (LinkedIn) CALGARY STORY Calgary fundraiser and ViTreo associate Melody Song shares with us how to build a social business. And surprise...it involves pandas :-) Like Melody says, mentioning pandas increases the likelihood that you will click this article. 8/13/19

  4. Want to be a Great Writer? Then Don’t Focus on Writing. (Do This Instead) (Writing Cooperative) You have to focus on the system man! 8/11/19

  5. Should Major Donors Get Fund Appeals? (Vertus Group) "The short answer is YES! Typically, most major donors move through your major gift pipeline by giving through your direct-response program. In fact, when we review the data, the source of a majority of major donors came through a direct-response mail appeal where they gave a gift of $25!" 8/9/19

  6. Meet your most powerful ally for productivity: momentum (The Startup) One of my favourite concepts is momentum. Sometimes, you just have to start. Start small. But start. 7/19/19

  7. A Skeptic’s Guide to Thinking About AI (Fast Company) A clear-eyed discussion about AI. It is not neutral, it is often done on the backs of real humans and we need to be thinking about human rights when we design AI. 10/17/18

Uncommon knowledge

  • The Human Microbiome: Why Scientists Are Searching Your Gut for Cures (Endpoints) I am going to get a yoghurt right now. "It’s been called the 'forgotten organ,' a 'scientific frontier,' and even the 'second brain,' yet scientists say we have barely scratched the surface on understanding the role of this living, breathing, highly complex ecosystem in shaping human health. Here’s an up-close look at what we know so far." 8/16/19

  • Scientists are using the cold of outer space to rethink air conditioning (Quartz) There are so many things we have 'forgotten'. Thanks to my cousin Linda for sharing this article with me. "The trick to creating cool air without any electricity has been hiding in plain sight. A California-based company called SkyCool Systems is in the early stages of manufacturing a cooling system that’s more energy efficient than anything humans have used for a century. It’s doing it using radiative cooling, a concept that was used in the Middle East and India hundreds of years ago." 8/5/19

  • Uncomputable Numbers (Cantor Paradise) Yes, it is that kind of an article. Math nerds rejoice. "[Computable] numbers may be defined as: Real numbers that can be computed to within any desired precision by a finite, terminating algorithm. In other words, we define a real number as computable if there is an algorithm which, given n, returns the first n digits of the number. " 7/11/19


  • Klimchuk: Libraries remain an essential public service (Edmonton Journal) ALBERTA STORY Well said Heather. I could not agree more. "There have been some recent conversations about how libraries are funded in Alberta and concerns about their sustainability. We know libraries are adapting to many challenges, but they continue to be the heart of every community because they provide a safe, caring and inclusive space for all of us." 8/14/19

Philanthropic controversy

  • Planned Parenthood Refuses Federal Funds Over Abortion Restrictions (New York Times) "Planned Parenthood said Monday that it would withdraw from the federal family planning program that provides birth control and other health services to poor women rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule that forbids referrals to doctors who can perform abortions." 8/19/19

  • Equinox is donating $1 million to charity in the wake of backlash over chairman's Trump fundraiser (Business Insider) "Equinox is donating $1 million to charity in the wake of backlash over its chairman's ties to President Donald Trump. Last week, The Washington Post reported that Stephen Ross was scheduled to hold a fundraiser for Trump at his home in the Hamptons. Ross is the founder and chairman of the real-estate company Related Cos., which owns Equinox, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle. Equinox faced a wave of backlash over Ross' ties to Trump. Many members threatened to quit the trendy fitness brand and called for others to do the same." 8/15/19

Trends and shifts

  • Scientists extract hydrogen gas from oil and bitumen, giving potential pollution-free energy (Phys.Org) CANADIAN CONTENT If this is embraced, it will be huge! "Scientists have developed a large-scale economical method to extract hydrogen (H2) from oil sands (natural bitumen) and oil fields. This can be used to power hydrogen-powered vehicles, which are already marketed in some countries, as well as to generate electricity; hydrogen is regarded as an efficient transport fuel, similar to petrol and diesel, but with no pollution problems. The process can extract hydrogen from existing oil sands reservoirs, with huge existing supplies found in Canada and Venezuela. Interestingly, this process can be applied to mainstream oil fields, causing them to produce hydrogen instead of oil." 8/19/19

  • Nixing Silicon Valley, US companies are now tapping Canada for tech talent (CNBC) CANADIAN STORY Good news for university graduates in Canada. "While [Sarah Nahm, CEO of Lever] wanted to tap into Toronto’s budding technology sector — a study by CBRE Group, a U.S.-based commercial real estate and investment firm, revealed in its Tech Talent Report that Toronto is North America’s fastest-growing technology market — it also wanted to open a place in a country that values inclusion and where it could hire engineers, salespeople and others from all over the world. 'The diversity in Toronto is incredibly compelling,' she says." 8/18/19

  • New York City Told Its Museums to Diversify or Lose Funding. Here’s How They Plan to Address the Problem (Artnet) This is so smart. I heart this. "When New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out his CreateNYC cultural agenda, which launched two years ago and was updated [...] he explained that it would ask cultural institutions that occupy city property to 'submit a diversity plan with measurable goals for how they’re going to continue to make progress.' Then, the ways in which they demonstrated their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion would influence future funding decisions made by the city’s department of cultural affairs. 'It’s important to ensure, if we’re investing public money, that these organizations represent everyone and include everyone,' de Blasio said at the time." 8/6/19

  • IT’S SENTIENT (The Verge) If it has a location and a timestamp, it's being collected. And processed. And evaluated. "Just how good, the person wondered, had the military and intelligence communities’ algorithms gotten at interpreting data and taking action based on that analysis? They pointed out that the commercial satellite industry has software that can tally shipping containers on cargo ships and cars in parking lots soon after their pictures are snapped in space. 'When will the Department of Defense have real-time, automated, global order of battle?' they asked. 'That’s a great question,' said Chirag Parikh, director of the NGA’s Office of Sciences and Methodologies. 'And there’s a lot of really good classified answers.'" 7/31/19

Reports and studies

  • Board Giving: Size, Expectations, Orientation Matters (AFP Global) Very interesting work. Likely a bit more applicable in the U.S. but some learnings for us in Canada as well. "Why are some boards more philanthropic than others? Over a six-year period, fundraising consulting firm Marts & Lundy researched the board giving habits of more than 100 nonprofit boards in New York City and found that the average board gift was higher from larger boards, no matter the size of the organization’s operating budget." 8/15/19

Large gifts

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