Ottawa’s fall economic statement is traditionally a snapshot of spending from the previous year. In 2020, the document represents another hint for the Liberal government’s priorities in the upcoming federal budget. Its contents will be significant for struggling social impact organizations.
The last nine months have seen Canada’s social impact sector go into survival mode. But survival alone is not sustainable. Huge challenges await Canada in the post-pandemic world, and vision, courage, and resourcefulness are required to remain relevant after the virus is defeated.
Social isolation is one of the most severe consequences of public health restrictions intended to curb the spread of COVID-19. Building meaningful community among marginalized service users requires not only addressing persistent social inequities, but also figuring out how to keep them connected.
Running a digital gathering is vastly different compared to an in-person conference or workshop or gala. Few social impact organizations had experience with digital events before the pandemic. And with the second wave, the future of in-person events remains uncertain.
Pandemic recovery will require community-led solutions — to rising rates of food insecurity and addiction; to the lack of access to affordable childcare and pharmaceuticals; for the struggling arts sector; and more — and co-ops could be well-positioned to provide them.
The social impact sector is arguably more needed than ever, as Canadians recover from the devastating social and economic impacts of the pandemic. But years of deprioritizing mental wellness combined with a massive global crisis has led to a burned out, stressed workforce — ultimately hurting the communities it serves, too.
Fighting climate change remains Canada’s greatest existential challenge. As the country recovers from COVID-19, it has the opportunity to transform its carbon-intensive economy - but government financing alone may not be enough. Social financing could fill the gap and ensure a green economic recovery for all.
Women and girls are leading the charge on COVID-19 response efforts around the world. Yet many women around the world are seeing an alarming rise in domestic violence. Canada has earmarked $400 million towards humanitarian aid with a focus on women — a move INGO sector advocates say is hugely important.
Demand for social impact organizations’ services is rising dramatically, from food banks to employment support to mental healthcare. The federal government outlined an ambitious recovery plan in its Throne Speech last week, but without committing to more support for the social impact sector, its scope is limited.
Millions of Canadians are currently dependent on CERB. While the Liberal government’s new Canada Recovery Benefit is a strong safety net, social impact organizations will still need to provide for their users - and expand their missions.
A Throne Speech is a federal government’s rough policy blueprint, and 2020’s is a particularly bold one. The federal government is promising major new commitments as Canada braces for a second wave of COVID-19, but the social impact sector is in desperate need of relief - and the Throne Speech doesn’t offer much.
Defending the climate during COVID-19: The trials and tribulations of five climate justice organizations
Climate change is the gravest existential issue our planet is currently facing. But the COVID-19 pandemic is our most urgent crisis at the moment, one that threatens news coverage of the climate crisis and the organizations fighting it. How they adapt will be critical to fighting climate change for years to come.
Friendship centres across Canada say they are supporting Indigenous people who have nowhere else to turn, as they face discrimination from mainstream service providers. Yet, the National Association of Friendship Centres says the government has not prioritized Indigenous voices, which is essential in planning how to build back better.
The pandemic has amplified inequities in Canadian society. Social impact organizations working with and advocating for vulnerable communities have unique insight into how to close the gaps. Their ideas, borne from on-the-ground experience, could make Canada a more resilient nation in the face of adversity.
Events and gatherings are transforming in the era of physical distancing. Here’s what you need to know.
COVID-19 has put in-person seminars, charity dinners, and other in-person gatherings on ice. The risks of crowds and travel are here to stay. Over the following Special Report, Future of Good will dive into the growing demand for digital events — and explain how the sector will need to reconsider key activities like programming and fundraising.
Post-pandemic, Canada will be left with massive social challenges requiring unprecedented levels of innovation to overcome. Enlisting help from elsewhere in the world could boost the country’s recovery — if New Zealand’s social impact visa program is an indication.
Plenty of reports, studies, and surveys on Canadian non-profits exist, but very few of them cover the nation’s non-profit workforce in a comprehensive manner. In a time when organizations are laying off staff and preparing shoestring operating budgets, having good human resources coast-to-coast could be vital for non-profit directors.
Ontario’s non-profits are needed more than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic’s health implications give way to a looming economic depression and acute mental health issues. Yet many are in dire financial straits. The provincial and federal governments have offered business relief, but a new report says it isn’t enough to sustain the sector.
Federal government announces $31 million for community-led infrastructure projects that support local recovery
COVID-19 is changing Canadian communities’ infrastructure needs: outdoor public space is more precious than ever, public transit is unsafe for those vulnerable to the virus, and a connection to the internet has become a lifeline for many community members.
The Canadian fund for charities’ overhead costs is here. Here’s how it works — and a major trend it signals.
Before COVID-19, Canadian donors were generally opposed to funding charities’ operating capacity or overhead — they preferred to support programming for their beneficiaries only. But the pandemic is changing this mindset. It’s also breaking the long-held taboo in the sector when it comes to talking about funding for operating capacity.
With 82 percent of social impact organizations digitizing some or all of their services, many organizations cancelling fundraising events, and a massive drop in donations, Canada’s social impact sector is facing a reckoning. Fast Forward founder and CEO Shannon Farley shares five ways non-profits can use tech to support their beneficiaries and scale their impact.
COVID-19 is a feminist crisis that requires a uniquely feminist response, say the authors of Canada’s first feminist economic recovery plan. Women and non-binary people, particularly those who are racialized, have been both on the frontlines and the most devastated. Failing to centre their needs in economic recovery planning would mean an incomplete pandemic recovery.
Climate change is headed quickly toward a point of no return. Polls show that Canadians don’t want to go back to normal post-pandemic — they want less commuting and less consumption, good moves for the environment. But can our capitalist culture support that kind of wholesale change?
Women are leading pandemic relief and recovery as non-profit workers, but their childcare duties are holding them back
Women make up between 75 and 85 percent of the non-profit workers at the forefront of pandemic relief and recovery. They also take on a disproportionate share of childcare duties, both pre-pandemic and while schools and daycares are closed. Lifting some of this burden could be critical to the pandemic recovery.
Local economies are devastated in the wake of COVID-19. Social purpose organizations are struggling. Already marginalized populations have been disproportionately impacted. The $755-million Social Finance Fund was announced years before any of this happened, but now it has the potential to support Canada’s much-needed recovery.
Canadians are facing a long road to recovery from the pandemic, but not all have been, or will be, equally impacted. Women of colour and young women have led the country through the pandemic, and they’ll feel the most intense economic and societal impacts — so their perspectives should be at the forefront of any conversation about recovery.
Before the COVID-19, over half of Nunavut’s households experienced food insecurity. Pandemic lockdowns have heighted the issue. In partnership with Community Foundations Canada we look at Qajuqturvik Food Centre, which is providing solutions through food, tradition and community.
Ten years out from the deadline for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the entire world was turned upside down by the Coronavirus pandemic. While the crisis may have taken some spotlight away from the SDGs, these social impact leaders say it’s also deepened their understanding of what needs to change in order to meet the Goals in an inclusive, meaningful way.
In this time of pandemic and rapid change, dialogue and stories help us understand what’s happening around us, and the new choices ahead of us. We’re announcing #BuildBackBetter digital conversations on our collective recovery, including international perspectives, grassroots expertise, and people with lived experiences to better understand how communities are evolving — and how social impact work should adapt.
In this time of pandemic and rapid change, dialogue and sensemaking help us understand what’s happening around us, and the new choices ahead of us. #BuildBackBetter digital conversations on our collective recovery, including international perspectives, grassroots expertise, and people with lived experiences to better understand how communities are evolving — and how social impact work should adapt.
Approximately 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year, and there are even more who are underhoused. Housing advocates say these figures may increase, due to economic instability during the coronavirus pandemic. Our fifth story in partnership with United Way Centraide Canada examines how a movement to close the housing gap influenced the federal government’s first national housing strategy.
Toronto is not the only one with plans for a futuristic ‘smart city’ powered by data and technology – your city is likely working on something similar, too. Their experience working with a technology company has important lessons for the social impact sector, especially as more services are delivered online, and communities across Canada explore similar partnerships as part of their post-pandemic recovery efforts.
Health Canada estimates that 11 million Canadians are experiencing high levels of stress, and close to 2 million are experiencing traumatic stress in the wake of COVID-19. The mental healthcare sector is working on overdrive to keep up, by reaching clients digitally — and overcoming some major challenges to do so. All frontline organizations can learn from this organization’s successful pivot to digital service delivery.
Along with the rest of the world, Canada is facing some major challenges as we recover economically from the pandemic. Unemployment is at a high, experts say homelessness rates will rise, and small businesses are fundamentally threatened. Corporations with the means to do so have a responsibility to contribute to recovery.
The government’s landmark Social Finance Fund was set to launch this year, claimed to generate up to $2 billion in economic activity and create 100,000 jobs. But where do those plans stand in the midst of 2020’s extreme events, and what role could it play in rebuilding communities after COVID-19? In the first article in a new special report, Future of Good examines what the fund means for Canada’s social finance market, and for societal recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the global protest against racism and police brutality are demanding deep changes to our political and social systems. The Learning Festival, from States of Change, is sharing lessons on how to make this kind of change happen, from public innovation thinkers and actors around the world. In week one, we learned that now is the time to harness unconventional ways of working together, from collaborating with political enemies to closing down defunct organizations.
Women-owned businesses are twice as likely as their male-owned counterparts to be considered social enterprises in Canada — and less likely to receive venture capital funding. Without meaningful access to the same kind of funding support, women-owned social enterprises may have a harder time recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Healthcare has fundamentally changed in the wake of COVID-19, with many providers reaching up to 90 percent virtual encounters. But adapting to virtual service delivery is only one of the many important ways healthcare innovation — which has historically been sluggish — has accelerated during this time.
Is Sidewalk’s departure the end of the road? 10 lessons for communities building their own smart and inclusive cities
Sidewalk Labs’ dream was to build a next-generation, high-tech neighbourhood in Toronto as a showcase for what cities of the future could look like. It was one of the highest-profile and most anticipated projects of its kind, anywhere in the world. Their successes, failures, and decision to walk away has lessons for communities across Canada.
Late last month, TD announced a $25 million commitment to helping communities make it through COVID-19. But this funding is only part of the bank’s total commitment to spend $1 billion by 2030 to fund social impact work, and the pandemic is revealing some key issue areas that TD will prioritize moving forward.
COVID-19 has been an extraordinarily difficult time for startups — an estimated $28 billion in investments could dry up this year alone. The pandemic also presents new and pressing problems that need solving, an atmosphere in which social entrepreneurship can thrive.
The United States puts more than $1 billion per year into a fund for community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and mandates that big banks make investments into low-income neighbourhoods, which they do by lending to CDFIs. Canada doesn’t have similar institutions that could classify as CDFIs, but if we did, hundreds of millions of dollars could be catalyzed to support communities’ recovery and regeneration.
With charities and non-profits across Canada struggling for volunteers and experiencing surging demand, the rollout of the federal government’s $350 million emergency funding charitable projects comes not a moment too soon. The fund’s support for local initiatives and its inclusion of non-qualified donees could be an effective way of reaching vulnerable Canadians, partner organizations say. But without a much larger stabilization fund in the long-term, much of the social impact sector might not survive the pandemic.
The deadline for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is less than 10 years away, and much progress still needs to be made. And not only is the pandemic highlighting what progress still needs to be made on inequities in Canadian society, it’s creating an even greater need for a commitment to sustainability, for a stronger recovery and regeneration. This is our second story in partnership with the Waterloo Global Science Initiative in the lead up to the Together|Ensemble conference.
Rates of domestic violence are increasing during the pandemic — here’s what the Canadian Women’s Foundation is doing to help
While rates of domestic violence are going up as isolation continues, experts say they were epidemic-level even before the pandemic. Victims are in need of stronger support networks, especially easily-accessed virtual networks, to help break the cycle.
Established non-profits with significant impact in Canada — like Kids Help Phone, which is a critical counselling resource for young people or Canada Learning Code, which excels in boosting digital skills — were once startups. Today, a generation of non-profit startups are set back by the federal government’s lack of support during COVID-19 — likely setting back Canada’s recovery too.
Post-secondary students are graduating into a recession — here’s what that means for the social impact sector
Compared to the general population, recent graduates are particularly hard hit by economic downturns, experiencing long-term reductions in wages, employment, and even higher mortality.
Across Canada, governments alone spend $200 billion on procurement — what would it mean if a portion of that money went to social impact businesses or organizations? Advocates say that COVID-19 could be an opportunity to accelerate the social procurement movement, but can they convince governments and other stakeholders to buy in?
While small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges, those in the business community who do have the means to contribute to relief efforts have an important opportunity to help mitigate some of the virus’s effects on society, says Mohamad Fakih, founder of the Fakih Foundation, Paramount Fine Foods, and the Canada Strong campaign.
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?
Employment support organizations are busier than ever during COVID-19. Here’s how they’re adapting to support even more people.
Since March 2020, Canadians have lost one million jobs due to COVID-19. Employment support organizations, especially those serving already vulnerable populations, are working on overdrive to keep up, while pivoting business models in innovative ways.
COVID-19 presents a massive change in plans for most social impact organizations. In order to make it through not only this moment but future disruptions, too, organizations should implement strategies that make their teams adaptable, resilient, and open to change.
Two in five independent businesses in Canada are worried about permanent closure from the impacts of COVID-19. As they struggle to stay afloat, a pilot project hopes to boost their chances with community crowdfunding, which has emerged as a vital tool for the social impact sector. Could it provide a model for Main Streets across Canada?
Online giving is growing at three times the rate of overall giving in Canada, and physical distancing restrictions could accelerate this growth. But there’s one fundraising tactic that hadn’t yet switched over to digital — until now: live fundraising events.
Canadian charities could see upwards of $4.2 billion in donations dry up this year in the economic fallout from COVID-19. Canada’s GIVE5 campaign is asking foundations to step up and help address the gap.
Job losses in the 15 to 24 age category have totalled almost 400,000, and the youth unemployment rate is the highest it’s been this century. At the same time, history shows us that in times of crisis, as we’re in now, youth innovation flourishes. To best position Canadian society for post-pandemic recovery, we need better governmental support for youth entrepreneurs.
One of Canada’s fastest-growing family businesses is becoming employee-owned. Here’s why that could be a major trend post-pandemic
Seventy-two percent of Canadian small business owners are planning to exit their businesses in the next 10 years, and the economic chaos of COVID-19 is bringing the resilience of those businesses into even sharper focus. Advocates say this is an opportunity to transition these community businesses into social enterprises or community-owned cooperatives, which could mean a huge boost for recovery.
If we want an inclusive and fair future (of work) coming out of the pandemic, it must also be an Indigenous one. A future that makes space for Indigenous knowledge and worldview, languages, and connection to lands and waters.
The charitable sector needs to change in four big ways to recover from the pandemic, Senator Ratna Omidvar says
Canada’s charitable and non-profit sector contributes 8.1 percent of the country’s GDP, more than the retail industry, and employs about two million Canadians. The sector will play a vital role in our country’s recovery from COVID-19, but can’t do so without its own recovery in the meantime.
COVID-19 is not impacting all Canadians equally — the most marginalized communities are bearing the brunt of it, both economically and in their vulnerability to the virus itself. These are patterns our government should not ignore, because they illuminate deep inequities in our society that need to be addressed with policy change.
Affordable housing was one of the top issues on young people’s minds in the last federal election — even before COVID-19 highlighted the intense vulnerability people who are homeless face. As housing becomes less affordable in mid-size and major cities across the country, there’s a need to strategize how to prevent youth homelessness, both during the crisis and afterward. Our third story in partnership with United Way Centraide Canada.
Urban Indigenous organizations need more COVID-19 funding, says National Association of Friendship Centres
Despite a lack of resources, friendship centres across Canada are finding innovative ways to support their communities. Across the country, these centres provide emergency support to communities — but need more funding to continue doing so effectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic is stretching non-profits, charities, and social enterprises across Canada as they deal with disruption and surging demand — but these are only the immediate challenges. The federal government’s $350 million fund will help, but organizations in the charitable and non-profit sector say much more support is needed in the long term.
Climate action typically includes street protests — gathering in person to show strength in numbers — and Earth Day is no exception. Pivoting to a digital live-stream event has meant major challenges for organizers, but also new opportunities for global connectedness and accessibility. Canadian activist movements can learn valuable lessons from Earth Day about refocusing quickly in the face of a major change of plans.
As governments and civil society work on overdrive to respond to COVID-19, corporate social responsibility is taking exciting, unexpected forms. Many large companies are stepping up to support communities in tangible ways, proving that the purpose of business is changing to include a positive social impact.
2020 was set to be an important year for climate action. COVID-19 will delay progress in the short term as stimulus packages intended to soften the impending recession will stretch public dollars, threatening the climate action the world so urgently needs.
Millions of Canadians have applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit during COVID-19, but millions more are still employed — and worried about their safety. B Corp-certified companies make a commitment to high standards for how they treat their employees. This gives them a foundation to navigate a new world of work — one that any Canadian organization can learn from.
With prohibitive prices and huge gaps in access to the internet, COVID-19 is bringing Canada’s digital divide into sharper focus. The social impact sector is finding it difficult to help the most vulnerable — especially considering that only 34 percent of rural households and 24 percent of Indigenous communities have access to high speed internet.
Like so many businesses around the world, social purpose companies are struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. Impact investors have an important role to play in helping social purpose businesses through the crisis — from staying afloat to finding ways to contribute to relief efforts.
Part-time and gig workers are holding up our communities through COVID-19, and yet both employers and the federal government have largely left these workers out of support measures. Gaps in social support for these workers have long existed and needed closing — but the pandemic is highlighting their urgency.
In pre-pandemic society, one in five people in Canada personally experienced a mental health problem or illness. Today, many in the social impact world face increased stress levels while also being cut off from their usual sources of support, like in-person therapy or coaching. Digital solutions are more needed now than ever.
As COVID-19 continues to force the shutdown of businesses and industries, those same businesses and industries are demanding support from governments. Should charities, social enterprises, and non-profits — who have so far asked nicely for smaller amounts of money than their corporate counterparts — do the same?
COVID-19 is highlighting some of the most pressing gaps in Canada’s social infrastructure — an underfunded healthcare system without ‘surge’ capacity, for example. The social impact sector should not waste this opportunity to address these gaps, and define the new normal in a post-Coronavirus world.
COVID-19 is illuminating how essential low-paid, precarious workforces are to our collective wellbeing. Unions play a crucial role in making sure businesses and policy makers don't forget this in a post-pandemic world.
Non-profits and charities are on the frontline of helping vulnerable people through the COVID-19 crisis, but traditional grant-making may not provide the support they need. In response, foundations are finding quicker, less restricted ways of funding their grantees. This is leading to completely new ways of working, begging the question of whether grant-making will ever be the same.
Access to emergency funding has been a top priority for many in the social impact sector over the past two weeks. But the sector will feel the impacts of COVID-19 long after social distancing ends. Here’s how the McConnell Foundation is already working on funding for a post-pandemic world.
Crowdfunding is the fastest-growing trend in fundraising — and it’s a particularly useful tool in times of crisis. As communities navigate COVID-19, crowdfunding campaigns are popping up to move money and supplies to those who need them, demonstrating crowdfunding’s potential as a rapid-response, grassroots fundraising tool.
Canadians are facing massive economic setbacks in the wake of COVID-19. For a country that was already seeing declining rates of entrepreneurship, our entrepreneurial ecosystem is threatened. Venture for Canada’s CEO argues that introducing a universal basic income could solve the problem.
As the social impact world tries to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19, organizations are pivoting and re-tooling to help with relief efforts. Here’s what Canadian non-profits can learn from these eight organizations about pivoting, and zeroing in on where they can make the most impact right now.
The COVID-19 crisis requires urgent action across sectors to help vulnerable Canadians. Philanthropic foundations have the funds, expertise, and networks to make a significant difference, so what should they be doing? Philanthropic Foundations Canada (PFC) and their partners just released a new set of guidelines for foundations.
Women make up 60 percent of Canadians living in poverty and are overrepresented in industries of precarious work. As COVID-19 and social distancing continue to disrupt our economy, women will see the most devastating effects.
Front-line service organizations like food banks are overwhelmed, trying to respond to the needs emerging in the wake of COVID-19, so communities are stepping up to care for their neighbours. But, as Rahul Chandran, managing director of CARE writes, they need the social impact sector’s help to do so safely and effectively.
In response to COVID-19’s unprecedented impact, last week the federal government passed a huge stimulus package to help Canadians. But these impact investors from across Canada say much more can be done — from accelerating the launch of the Social Finance Fund to implementing a universal basic income.
COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to Canadian non-profits, social enterprises, and charities. Fundraising efforts are on hold, meanwhile, many are seeing increased need for services and having to figure out how best to protect their frontline staff. These CEOs share their ideas on the measures the federal government can take to support non-profits through this crisis, and make them less vulnerable to future crises, too.
Asian Canadians have been experiencing racism since the COVID-19 crisis emerged. And Canadian history tells us that this racism and xenophobia could find its way into policy, writes Laura Madokoro, history professor at Carleton University.
A shift toward digital ways of working, delivering services, and fundraising has been a long-time coming in the social impact world. But social distancing has accelerated it — and organizations that aren’t prepared won’t be able to keep up, writes Marina Glogovac, President & CEO of CanadaHelps.
Grantmakers, social finance organizations, and governments are gearing up to rapidly fund relief to social impact organizations. Future of Good asked the advice of Sean Lowrie, creator of the Start Fund: a global humanitarian response mechanism which disburses money in less than 72 hours. As we face this unprecedented crisis, how should funders create quicker mechanisms of disbursing capital?
COVID-19 is an all-hands-on-deck crisis. Whether your organization is on the front lines providing services or not, it’s essential to ask yourself and your team these questions to make necessary contributions to relief efforts.
Canada has released a stimulus plan to help Canadians survive the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. But just how well does the economic response package address the needs of non-profits and the communities they serve?
In 2013, Calgary Non-profits Faced a Natural Disaster. Here’s how that helped them prepare for COVID-19.
After the 2013 flood in Calgary, the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations equipped non-profits in the community with emergency preparedness plans. Here are three tips they have for local organizations navigating the COVID-19 pandemic today.
In the midst of a lot of uncertainty in the non-profit world, dig into these practical insights from a leader in fundraising — Nejeed Kassam, founder of fast-growing fundraising platform Keela. If you’re looking to up your fundraising game in the coming weeks and months, these tips will be helpful.
COVID-19 will have important and lasting effects on society — that means women will feel the worst of it, economically and socially, from additional caregiving work to increased domestic violence.
To follow social distancing guidelines, many of us in Canada who are privileged enough to have this capability, will be working from home in the coming days and weeks. Stay connected and collaborate with others in the social impact world through these virtual technologies.