Watch the #AllIn2019 livestream

The 2019 Community Foundations Conference is less than one week away!

Starting on 6 June, watch the conference plenary sessions in real time by tuning into CFC’s Facebook page. If you haven’t yet, follow us on Facebook to receive the notification when we go live.

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Thursday,  June 6

12:30 – 2:30 p.m. PT (4:00 – 5:30 p.m. EDT):

Friday, June 7

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. PT (11:30 a.m. – 12:45 pm EDT) :

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. PT (3:45 – 5:00 p.m. EDT):

Saturday, June 8

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT (1:45 – 3:00 p.m. EDT) :

Learn more about the conference

Ahead of #AllIn2019: “Signs of the Lekwungen”

A modern harbour city like Victoria can seem far removed from the traditional First Nation uses once hosted in this territory, but through the project Signs of Lekwungen (pronounced Le-KWUNG-en), people can learn about the land, its original culture, and the spirit of its First Nations.

Signs of Lekwungen is a series of seven sculptures in culturally-significant places to the Lekwungen people.  Represented today by the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, these communities are part of the Coast Salish family and are descendants of the Lekwungen family groups.  Lekwungen is the original language of this land.

Artist Butch Dick with Spindle Whorl. Source: turtleisland.org

The city of Victoria in collaboration with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations created a series of outdoor art installations which mark an interpretive walkway along the Inner Harbour and surrounding areas that honours the art, history and culture of the Coast Salish people who have resided in the Victoria area since time immemorial.

The seven unique site markers are bronze castings of original cedar carvings, with the original wooden sculptures on display at City Hall.  Conceptualized and carved by Coast Salish artist, Butch Dick, the bronze markers depict spindle whorls that were traditionally used by Coast Salish women to spin wool.

Butch Dick is a master carver trained in fine art and graphic design. He has taught First Nations Art and Culture in School District 61 for more than 20 years and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria, teaching an Indigenous Learning course.

“I remember my grandma using a spindle whorl.  She didn’t speak much English, and I didn’t speak much Coast Salish, but I understood that the spindle whorl is the foundation of any family – it can weave a tapestry of information.”

Butch Dick

Visit the City of Victoria website to download a PDF brochure  which tells a more complete story of the art installation, as well as providing a handy map.  For great photos, view this fine set on flickr.com by user “ngawangchodron”.

This project is a welcome addition to urban Victoria, reminding us visually and thematically of the spiritual landscape which still is woven into the modern world.

Tourists and residents alike thirst for information about the cultural history of the urban environment.  It would be great to see projects which work with First Nations to bring history out into the streets, thereby making strong yet beautiful statements about the abiding cultural landscape of a city.


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, dog

This article is part of a series produced for #AllIn2019 by our partners at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. The author is Kerri Amsing a recent graduate from Royal Roads University who holds a degree in Justice Studies. Kerri’s passion to travel led her to explore the west coast of British Columbia. Falling in love with the Island, she moved from her home town in Alberta with her German Shepherd and has been grateful to spend the last two years on the territory of the Lekwungen speaking Peoples. Kerri is the newest addition to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre’s team and was a vital player in the research and development of these articles for CFC.


Ahead of #AllIn2019: A history of the area around Victoria

Vancouver Island is home to 53 First Nations which equates to almost 20% of provincial First Nations and about 6% of the national total.  Among these Nations, there are three main language groups: Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw.

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is a complex region that spans the traditional territories of over 20 First Nations, of which 11 have Reserve lands and 9 of those are populated (see map). Populated reserves include the Coast Salish Nations of Esquimalt, Songhees, Pauquachin, Tseycum, Tsawout, Tsartlip, Scia’new, and T’souke, and one Nuu-chah-Nulth First Nations band Pacheedaht.

Victoria the city is western Canada’s second oldest city, incorporated on August 2, 1862. However, since time immemorial the territory has been home of the Lekwungen People, a subset of the Coast Salish who are also known today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. Lekwungen is the original language of Victoria, and the traditional culture that has been here for thousands of years; a culture based on careful land management including controlled burnings and food cultivation.


Royal Geographic Society. A view of the Songhees village as seen from Fort Victoria, 1851. Simon Fraser University. [Sketch by Linton Palmer]. Retrieved March 3, 2019 from https://www.sfu.ca/brc/virtual_village/coast_salish/Songhees.html

First Nations peoples have called Victoria’s inner harbour their home for thousands of years. With its temperate climate, natural harbours and rich resources, Victoria thrived as a trading centre for a diversity of First Peoples, weaving a complex history of land use for the Lekwungen territory. Throughout these centuries, the First Nations peoples treasured the harbours naturally calm waters and enjoyed the abundance of edible berries, crab-apples, and camas roots. They honoured the spirit of the land that provided food, shelter, clothing, and transportation, and lived in balanced harmony with the resources despite a large population.  The Esquimalt and Songhees peoples called the area Lewammen or “the land of the Winds” due to winter windstorms.

In 1778, Captain James Cook is the first known European to set foot on what is now British Columbia, long after eastern Canada had seen exploration and even settlement.  Gradual interest had grown in the territory west of the mountains as fur trade companies pushed towards the Pacific Coast. Trading is what compelled the Hudson’s Bay Company to select what is now Victoria harbour as the chosen site for their Pacific Northwest base, building the trading post and fort at the location the Lekwungen People called “camosack” meaning “rush of water”.  Victoria became the gateway for trade with the First Nations as there was a high demand in Europe for the valuable natural resources such as fur, salmon, and trees.

The ongoing development of the capital city led to profound disruption of the traditional economy and livelihood of the First Nations.  In 1906, a causeway was built across the mouth of Whosaykum or “muddy place”, also known as James Bay, a place where First Nations harvested crabs.  Once blocked, the “muddy place” was filled in, eliminating a valuable food source for the First Nations. Two years later the Empress Hotel sank its foundations deep into the buried Whosaykum and the hotel remains open on that site to this day.


Vancouver Archives. (Jul 01, 2017).  The BC Legislature as seen from across the Inner Harbour in 1901. Daily Hive. [image]. Retrieved March 3, 2019 from https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/canada-150-vancouver-island-then-and-now-on-this-spot-photos

Also, around this time disruptive technologies such as muskets and alcohol were introduced into the lives of the local Nations, dislodging many from traditional pursuits of economy and inevitably making them dependant on the Fort Victoria Indian Store, and so many of the Songhees people lived directly beside Fort.  Fear of fire from growing population led the HBC to require the Songhees to move across the harbour to today’s Songhees Point, displacing them from their traditional village site and then ultimately moving them to their current reserve.

But despite these struggles, First Nations endured and the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations are now experiencing a flourish of revitalization of traditional culture, language and community.

Photo courtesy of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, dog

This article is part of a series produced for #AllIn2019 by our partners at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. The author is Kerri Amsing a recent graduate from Royal Roads University who holds a degree in Justice Studies. Kerri’s passion to travel led her to explore the west coast of British Columbia. Falling in love with the Island, she moved from her home town in Alberta with her German Shepherd and has been grateful to spend the last two years on the territory of the Lekwungen speaking Peoples. Kerri is the newest addition to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre’s team and was a vital player in the research and development of these articles for CFC.

An Extraordinary Food Rescue Program in Victoria

In 2013 the Victoria Foundation and CFC began a dialogue on food security that has resulted in what is now one of the most ambitious and successful food rescue programs in the country, feeding over 35,000 people a month and diverting over 1.2 million pounds of fresh produce a year from landfill to hungry homes. Not only that, but recently, Victoria Foundation announced a $3 million grant from the Province of BC and the establishing of a new fund, the Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund, for food security initiatives across the province of BC. This secures the Greater Victoria Food Rescue program long-term and provides anchor food security infrastructure for the region. It also represents the culmination of years of work and roughly $1.8 million of community investment over the past 5 years by Victoria Foundation.


How did it all happen?

The first step was a series of consultations in 2013 with local partners to establish a Food Security Roadmap for the Victoria region. This roadmap identified key gaps in the regional food system, including food infrastructure as well as opportunities to align the efforts of local food-oriented non-profits to achieve systemic regional shifts in reducing hunger and improving food security outcomes.

Building on this foundational work, two regional food networks were established.

The FoodShare Network focuses on food access and security, working with food banks, meals programs, and social service and community organizations that – for example – manage community kitchens or food delivery programs for young moms. Currently this network includes 77 agencies, nonprofits, charities, First Nations, school districts, funders and different levels of government. Meanwhile, the GoodFood Network focuses on the local food economy, working to increase the amount of produce grown in the region, as well as on food literacy. These two networks work together to address a broad range of food security issues in a coordinated and strategic way.

In 2017, the foundation joined forces with the Victoria region’s 13 different local Rotary Clubs, and a local food retailer, Thrifty Foods, as well as several local non-profits who were already doing small-scale food rescue programs, to launch a coordinated regional food rescue program. In its first year, having rented a 20,000 square foot warehouse in Esquimalt, BC, known as the Food Security Distribution Centre, the program expanded to include 56 participating agencies and now rescues food from 17 regional retailers.


The underlying principle of food rescue is that there is an enormous amount of high quality produce moving through major grocery stores that is still fresh and that could be sold, but that must be disposed of because new shipments come in at regular intervals. In the past this produce was sent to landfill sites, but when the Greater Victoria regional government imposed tipping fees for organic food waste, a financial incentive was created that encouraged retailers to explore other solutions.

Today, participating agencies collect produce that in the past would have gone to landfills and bring it to the Food Security Distribution Centre where it is redistributed to 35,000 citizens monthly who would otherwise go hungry.

This work results in positive environmental impacts from the decrease in carbon emissions from waste. It also generates positive health outcomes due to the availability of fresh produce as opposed to at-risk populations relying on food banks that typically offer non-perishable canned goods, including an excessive amount of refined sugars.

Additionally, a kitchen was added to the Centre in 2018, where food that is bruised or less appealing is now turned into soups, stews and stocks. Not only that, but training programs for marginalized populations provide trainees to the kitchen where they can develop professional food skills and become more employable.

The BC government’s recently announced Food Security program will provide $2 million to the Mustard Seed, a local nonprofit, to purchase the Food Security Distribution Centre, home to the main operations of the Greater Victoria Food Rescue, ensuring that this work continues to develop, supporting ever greater numbers of citizens and promoting regional food security in many different ways.

Today, The Greater Victoria Food Rescue program stands as a model for communities across Canada to learn from and emulate.

Participants at #AllIn2019 have the opportunity to learn more about the program during the pre-conference site visits.

Register for the site visit

Courage and bravery: How can philanthropy step up for the SDGs?

In September 2018, a conversation took place in New York focused on the idea of unlocking philanthropy to address and support the 2030 Agenda that is laid out by the SDGs. As a community foundation network, much of the work of Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and that of community foundations connects either directly or indirectly to the SDGs.

While the dialogue weighed different ideas and perspectives of why philanthropy is, and can be, an important contributor to and catalyst of the 2030 Agenda, the most memorable moment from my perspective was about values rather than tactics. Yes, philanthropy has various assets it can utilize to address the domestic and international goals and indicators. It can do so through its mechanisms of grants, thought leadership, convening, etc. But, what is the relationship between the values of the SDGs and the values of philanthropy. If these are not aligned, can the full opportunity of philanthropy truly be unlocked for the SDGs?

Two specific themes, or values, were highlighted during this discussion that continue to drive my thoughts and reflections.

Risk.

There was a moment in which one panelist commented: ‘Philanthropy is a sector that is well positioned to take risks – but is also one of the most risk averse sectors.’

Could infusing courage and bravery into philanthropy see more movement towards the SDGs? While some might argue there is already a healthy dose of courage in philanthropy, I’m inclined to agree with the panelist: we need more of it.

This can be done in multiple ways. In Canada, there is a growing movement to do more good with the assets held by foundations. Specifically, to leverage the opportunity of impact investing. Last year, CFC participated in a partnership which launched an Impact Investing guidebook to encourage this practice. Around the world, there is a movement to #ShiftThePower. At its core is the idea of shifting power to local communities — to both organizations and actors. It takes the wisdom and ideas of those in community as the key input and rejects (kindly) the traditional top-down approach that has been part of philanthropy’s long history.

Honesty.

Another value that shone brightly in this conversation was that of honesty. More specifically, honesty with ourselves. A challenge was issued to ensure that philanthropic organizations (and let’s be clear, the public and private sectors too) are being honest about how they are intentionally addressing the SDGs. The positioning of ‘intentionally addressing’ is a key part of the challenge.

Distilled down, it was suggested that we not simply repackage what is already being done and claim this as the organization’s contribution towards the SDGs.

Certainly historical and current actions matter; but, if all existing actions were enough, we wouldn’t be facing the real challenge of the SDGs and the plethora of indicators beneath each goal.

So yes, keep doing the good work you are doing, but also, do more — with intention.

The SDG framework is underpinned by the phrase: Leaving no one behind. This speaks to the values but also the challenge. We have tremendous capacity to move social and financial capital, knowledge, and resources. Imagine what is possible when we turn our full attention and intention, with honesty and courage, towards the SDGs.

This post was initially published on the WINGS blog, October 30, 2018.

Meet the 6 leaders taking part in the inaugural Future Forward cohort

We are delighted to announce the six emerging leaders from community foundations across Canada who have been selected to participate in the 2019 program. They will have the opportunity to participate in activities being held in Canada, Russia and Germany over the coming eight months. They will dive deep into a range of themes including diversity, equity and inclusion, youth in philanthropy, business models in community philanthropy and more. Follow their learning journey starting in summer 2019!

Learn more about the initiative

Shifting power to youth: “What’s your bold idea?”

Globalization. Technological innovations. Climate change. An aging population. Urbanization. Demographic shifts. Everywhere we look, our communities and our country are rapidly changing, and the gap between the experiences of rural and urban communities is growing.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak about some of these changes with young people in communities across Canada. Many are courageously stepping forward as leaders, and are sharing their vision for the future of their communities.

Their own futures are also on their minds, as they’ve reflected on the rapidly changing ‘world of work’, one that is being reshaped by technology, automation, the emergence of exciting new sectors and the disappearance of entire fields. The changes that they’ve described are at a scale that I didn’t see when leaving school, even just five years ago.

Locally, community foundations have reported on these trends in Vital Signs reports and they have supported young leaders through grants and scholarships. At the national level, at Community Foundations of Canada, we highlighted the “seismic shifts” facing younger generations through the 2012 National Vital Signs report, #GenerationFlux, and we mobilized private, public and philanthropic contributions to the Youth Catalyst Fund based on its findings. I had the privilege of supporting the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th and witnessed community foundations’ commitment to young people as the Fund granted over $5M to more than 700 youth-led initiatives.

As I work with the RBC Foundation, CFC and a vast network of community foundations across Canada, I am excited to build on this commitment and shift power into the hands of young leaders in small and mid-sized communities. The RBC Future Launch Community Challenge asks youth and partner organizations to rally around one central question — What is your boldest idea to respond to an urgent local need — and I’m looking forward to seeing the ambitious and creative responses.

With young leaders stepping forward from Ucluelet, BC to Gander, NL, and from Tecumseh, ON to Yellowknife YK and even further North — what are shared experiences, and what is uniquely local?

I’m also looking forward to watching young leaders flourish. By participating in the Challenge, youth will both affect positive change, and will also have opportunities to gain skills, experiences, and relationships — which will all help prepare them for a bright future, in their communities and at work. At CFC, we are excited to learn from this experience.

What happens when we intentionally shift power, and put decision-making in the hands of young leaders? What is possible when partners from across sectors come together around a shared commitment to youth? What we will learn — and how can we use those learnings to transform our communities and our country?

This journey is only just beginning: participating community foundations are receiving applications between May 22 and September 18, 2019. We look forward to hearing ideas from coast to coast to coast, and to witnessing communities transform as young leaders bring them to life. Follow along and learn with us at #RBCFLChallenge.

So what’s your bold idea?

Learn more about the challenge

Listen to the latest No Little Plans episodes

No Little Plans explores the status of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Canada. Each episode dives deep on one of the 17 goals, while also highlighting the ways they intersect. Stay tuned for Season 2 coming soon!

If you’d like to learn more about the podcast, be a guest on an episode, or have ideas for future episodes, please get in touch by emailing info@alliance2030.ca

Happy listening!

Episode 1: Leave no one behind (An overview of the SDGs)

What are the SDGs and why do they matter? Meet three experts — Joseph Wong, John McArthur, and Deborah Glaser — who are already pursuing the goals, and learn why the tremendous effort it will take to achieve them is worth it.

Episode 2: How to eradicate homelessness (SDG 1: No Poverty)

The reality of being homeless in Canada is complicated. Nearly a third of people experiencing life without shelter are women, almost one in five are young people, Indigenous populations are overrepresented — and more. Meet Erin Dej and Jesse Thistle, two experts with big ideas about how to fix this important problem.

Episode 3: Women’s rights are human rights (SDG 5 : Gender Equality) 

Gender equality in Canada is a slow-motion work in progress. How did we get so bad at addressing problems that affect more than half of us? And what must we do to improve the lives of girls who will be women in 2030?

Episode was 4: Water World (SDG 14 : Life below Water) 

The health of our oceans and seas affects everything from human health to food security to global climate and international economics. The seas and oceans provide work to 3 billion people around the world—and they need help from all of us

No Little Plans is one of our contributions to Alliance 2030, a national network of organizations working to achieve the SDGs in Canada and abroad by the year 2030. You can join the Alliance today at www.alliance2030.ca/register.

No Little Plans is hosted by Vicky Mochama of Vocal Fry Studios, and created by Strategic Content Labs. You can subscribe to No Little Plans anywhere you get podcasts, including iTunes and Google Play. Visit alliance2030.ca to find episode notes and more ways you can listen.

What does the 2019 federal budget mean for the charitable sector and community foundations?

The 2019 federal budget was unveiled earlier this week, with a number of commitments that will impact communities from coast to coast to coast. Here are a few recommended reads and highlights that can help you get up to speed:

Budget 2019 Summaries  

Other key highlights include

Journalism organizations as qualified donees: The 2019 budget provides details about a new category of qualified donee, registered journalism organizations, which will be eligible for charitable tax benefits and contributions from philanthropic organizations, including community foundations. The overviews of the budget by Blumberg’s and Miller Thomson LLP (above) provide excellent analysis of these changes.  

Social Finance Fund: In the 2018 Fall Economic Statement, the Government proposed to make up to $755 million available over 10 years to establish a Social Finance Fund. The 2019 Federal Budget announced important details as to how the fund will work. Read more from Social Innovation Canada, Budget 2019: Social Innovation and Social Finance Excerpts.

Local Infrastructure and Broadband: A number of commitments have been made to support local infrastructure, including a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion to the Gas Tax Fund, and additional funds for the Green Municipal Fund, which help communities invest in green energy. The budget announced a new national broadband strategy with a commitment to ensure that all Canadians have access to high-speed internet by 2030, including in rural, remote and northern communities. More from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Budget 2019: Turning Point for Cities and Communities.

Indigenous Communities: The budget announced $4.5 billion over the next five years to “narrow the socio-economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people”, which included responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, funds for the revitalizing Indigenous Languages, and $2 billion to address the First Nation Boil Water Advisory crisis. The budget included $395.5M to Inuit-specific investments including specific support to health and social services for Inuit children and an Inuit-led post-secondary education strategy. Read more from the Assembly of First Nations and from Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency: New funds will support energy efficiency retrofit projects by municipalities, and the budget featured a number of commitments supporting electrical vehicles. The budget also including a $183M investment in Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3), an initiative that will enable and accelerate urban carbon-reduction solutions.The Ottawa Community Foundation will be a partner on the implementation of LC3 in Ottawa. Read more from Équiterre and the Ottawa Community Foundation.

Gender Equality: This week’s budget announced a $160 million investment over five years in the Women’s Program, managed by the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. The budget also includes other measures that will support diverse women and girls, including the development of a new Anti-Racism Strategy and Secretariat and increased investment in the LGBTQ2 Secretariat. Read more from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2019 Federal Budget Continues Progress Toward a Gender-Equal Canada.

Anything else to add? We’d love to hear from you!

Was there anything else from the budget that stood out as particularly important for Canada’s charities or communities? Any other resources or reactions that we should add here? Write to us:

Laurel Carlton, Director, Strategic Initiatives, lcarlton@communityfoundations.ca

Geneviève Vallerand, Director, Communications, gvallerand@communityfoundations.ca

Relentlessly pursuing a future where everyone belongs

An open letter from Andrew Chunilall, CEO, Community Foundations of Canada

In 2018, CFC undertook what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging exercises for any organization: renewing our purpose. An organization’s purpose is its lifeblood, its raison d’être. It answers the questions: “Why do we exist? What problems are we here to solve?” Many minds, hearts and hands took part in this exercise. I want to take some time to personally share with you what we learned and where we’ve landed. My team and I are excited for what’s ahead and hope you will be too!

Where we’ve come from

As many of you are aware, CFC was founded nearly thirty years ago to connect and support local community foundations working across the country. For close to three decades, we’ve carried out that mission proudly. The movement has grown considerably. Your impact is felt more each day. Wherever you may be in Canada, I think we can all agree that our communities and world look quite different today than they did in 1992.

In the last few decades, we’ve witnessed unprecedented technological and environmental change, a new and at times fractious road towards reconciliation and Indigenous rights, and greater diversity than at any other point in our history. Our future promises to be even more complex.

It is my belief that the leadership of community foundations has never been more vital. Local solutions to global issues never more important. We are making a change because the world needs us to make a change.

Creating a new purpose together

When we set out to explore renewing our purpose, it was with these realities in mind. It was important for us to do it with the movement and our partners. We sought different perspectives on how CFC’s strengths might best serve, and where we faced weaknesses.  Hundreds of you have been instrumental in helping us get to answers. I want to express my thanks for the time that so many of you took to participate in this process. Your feedback — via surveys, interviews and conversations – has deepened and enriched our efforts. Several things became clear for us along the way.

We saw, for example, how important it was to build on our shared history and to honour the deep (nearly centennial!)tradition of community foundations in Canada. It also became evident that “belonging” is irrevocably part of our DNA.

Since we began our belonging journey a few years ago, this concept has emerged as our north star, a framework for policy decisions and programming. A tool for storytelling and working with donors on the ground level. “Belonging” speaks to a wide range of issues across our collective work, ranging from economic and gender inequality, to reconciliation, to the social isolation of seniors or the exclusion of youth or culturally diverse populations, to name just a few.

As we explored taking CFC’s purpose forward, we realized it was a concept we couldn’t abandon. It also tied nicely to another core priority, the Sustainable Development Goals, whose motto is “leave no one behind.”

Yet we also saw the need to infuse “belonging” with fresh energy. A bolder, more ambitious and forward-looking frame. Nuances that might speak to the radically inclusive lens we want to adopt and the perseverance that is core to the work of community foundations. We began workshopping it. Thus emerged a refreshed purpose:

Relentlessly pursuing a future where everyone belongs.

You might say: “that sounds an awful lot like words we’ve used before.” You wouldn’t be wrong! Yet, it’s also different. For some time, we’ve been witnessing a new spirit and ethos to “belonging” in our work at CFC, and within that of many community foundations.  We wanted the new purpose to reflect that.

Let me explain.

Since Belong 2017, many of us (to your credit) have begun deep work around reconciliation, for example. Spurred on by the TRC and others, we started to take an honest, long hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves tough questions. We began exploring the ways in which our own power and resources (and how we came by them) have perhaps contributed to the marginalization of others. Where, rather than supporting greater belonging, we have done quite the opposite and unintentionally furthered exclusion. We began exploring more questions like:

Where might we shift the power into the hands of those who aren’t, and should be at the decision-making table? Are we representing the diversity of the communities we serve? If not, how might we do that better? Where else are we coming up short? As philanthropic leaders in a relentless pursuit of belonging, this is our duty. The work begins with us.

We’ve realized that creating meaningful, authentic belonging starts far closer in than we initially thought. It begins in our own individual lives, families, teams and organizations. We must acknowledge how our own privilege can and has tripped us up in a pursuit of true belonging.  We also realized that it’s time to state, unequivocally, that leading inclusively is no longer a “nice to have” but indeed, a “must have.”  Our earlier version of belonging perhaps didn’t push the boundaries quite as firmly as we now see is necessary.

To that end, we’re refreshing the purpose and doubling down on it.We’ve got to find ways to leverage our unique strengths and work across sectors to address systemic issues. We’ve got to find ways to hold each other accountable and to support true innovation when we see it. We must open ourselves up to greater listening and allyship. We must take principled stands when it’s called for, and step aside to support and amplify others when it’s not our place to lead.

Learn more and join the conversation

As CEO of Community Foundations of Canada, I am deeply proud of the work you have achieved around “belonging” and what we’ve accomplished together. There are many ways in which we can deepen and renew that commitment together. I am eager to explore that with you. Our 2019 Community Foundations Conference will be a great spot to talk further. I look forward to continuing the conversation with you.