Give5 pledge sets the bar far too low for Canadian philanthropy’s response to this crisis

A global pandemic and economic recession calls for much more drastic action, say these wealth redistribution advocates

Why It Matters

The Give5 campaign, which asks Canadian foundations to bump their disbursements from 3.5 percent to 5 percent in response to the COVID-19 crisis, has the potential to unlock $700 million for Canadian charities. But what about the other 95 percent of foundations’ endowments?

Five percent just isn’t enough.

On Giving Tuesday, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian foundations were invited to sign the Give5 pledge, a commitment to donate at least 5 percent of their net assets to charity before the end of the fiscal year. 

The Give5 campaign was developed by several Canadian philanthropic leaders, who call on their peers to recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century crisis, requiring a once-in-a-century disbursement.

Many of the 50+ foundations that signed the pledge have published press releases celebrating the announcement. But does this proposed increase really represent the “once-in-a-century” effort that’s required by our current moment?

What goes unnamed amidst this celebration is that the pledge requires foundatio


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