Philanthropy’s risk-averse tendencies have been a barrier to instigating systemic change — challenging power in philanthropic institutions is the first step in reimagining the sector for the future.
As climate disasters in Canada and the world are getting more frequent and severe, youth-led environmental groups are leading some of the most innovative projects in the sector. But youth need adequate financial support to maintain their work, and livelihoods.
During the pandemic, many funders relaxed granting restrictions, allowing charities to be more adaptable and resource hard-to-fund infrastructure costs. Two years in, many charities are still struggling — with increased service demands and decreased donations — and wonder: will grantors be snapping back to program-funding business-as-usual?
Many small organizations are limited from accessing grants through their lack of charity status, and operational power, while still being a driving force for vital projects. Without grantmakers who will adapt to their unique needs, these grassroots community groups will be stunted from growing their impact in their communities.
A flipped power dynamic: Philanthropists must apply to a council of aunties to fund these Indigenous groups
Funders and grantmakers often wield considerable power over their fundees, determining what gets funded, when and how. The Right Relations Collaborative flips this power dynamic by putting Indigenous aunties in the driver’s seat. The model is firmly rooted in a local territory, but offers a new approach to grantmaking that could inspire a shift in funding relationships across the country.
In-depth Q&A: Cindy Blackstock on reparations, reconciliation, and why Canada’s philanthropic community shies away from her cause
The social purpose sector in Canada often says it prioritizes reconciliation and justice for Indigenous communities. Cindy Blackstock says that commitment requires political advocacy for the rights of First Nations families.
A DQ hike isn’t enough — here are 7 other things that need to change for more money to flow to Black and Indigenous groups
Funding to groups led by and serving Black, Indigenous and people of colour receive miniscule amounts of Canadian philanthropic dollars. A disbursement quota hike would not automatically mean more funding for these organizations — who are serving some of the most pressing needs.
Climate change is an existential threat and it’s powered by the burning of fossil fuels. Experts say that a wave of fossil fuel divestment proclamations amongst Canadian foundations could send a powerful signal to other investors, government and media, that fossil fuels are on the way out — and could also better align foundation’s investment dollars with their social missions.
0.1 percent of the world’s philanthropic money goes to Black feminist activists — this global organization is working to change that
Black feminist activists are at the forefront of political and social change worldwide, yet they receive a miniscule amount of global philanthropic dollars. Closing that gap requires a new approach to grantmaking — one that’s Black women-led, trust-based, and community-first — and resources from the rest of the sector.
The Canadian philanthropic sector is embroiled in a debate about the disbursement quota — the rate at which foundations have to give to charity. Some argue it’s fine where it is — at 3.5 percent. Others argue that this rate is “starving” non-profits across the country. To understand the context for this debate, you need to understand the history.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in Indigenous communities is rising, and the impacts — exacerbating already crisis-level rates of mental illness among Indigenous youth, for instance — have been devastating since the beginning. If the philanthropic sector wants to help, it needs to use this moment to completely transform how it operates.
Inclusion needs to be more than just a symbolic move in philanthropy, says anthropologist and columnist Emilie Nicolas. To truly have an inclusive sector, we need full representation of people and ideas at all levels of organizations.