Our Obsessions


Our conversations with non-profit professionals, social entrepreneurs, public servants, activists, grantmakers, frontline workers, corporate citizenship teams, passionate amateurs, and philanthropists gave us more than enough to obsess about over our first year and a half — and then 2020 came, bringing with it global social and economic upheaval, and brand new challenges, ideas and innovations emerged for us to examine.

Our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic focused on how communities and social impact organizations have navigated the crisis. Now, we’re obsessed with how they’ll not just recover, but #BuildBackBetter.

Digital transformation

The pandemic has shone a light on the digital exclusion, a critical need for more robust data collection, and the massive part technology plays in connecting us to one another. How might digital technologies enhance social services? What are the risks and rewards we take on when we rely on tech for social impact?

Inclusion, diversity, and decolonizing social impact

Canada is at the beginning of a journey toward a reconciled relationship with Indigenous peoples. The global Black Lives Matter movement has shifted the meaning of inclusion across communities. How can the world of impact embody and practice decolonization, reconciliation, and inclusion every day?

Social impact work: Pre-COVID and post-COVID

Canada has seen the most layoffs in recent history. Youth unemployment is the highest it’s ever been in the country. There is a whole new essential worker, and essential work deserves essential pay. What will be the jobs and skills that matter? How can be we inclusive and equitable in remote working conditions? How can mental health and well-being be better supported? 

Fundraising, philanthropy, and social finance

Due to the pandemic, it’s estimated that donations will decline between $4.2 billion and $6.3 billion. There are campaigns to activate the philanthropic community to give more than 5 percent, and consider how the other 95 percent is disbursed. Moreover, Canada’s Social Finance Fund could have a major role to play in recovery. What financial supports do organizations and communities need for recovery?

Corporate citizenship and inclusive capitalism

New models of small business investment and ownership are emerging. Corporate social responsibility is evolving and taking on new meaning during COVID-19. 2020 has seen a renewed emphasis on localism, equity, corporate citizenship, and triple bottom line thinking — what roles will markets and businesses play in stewarding more inclusive growth in a post-pandemic world? 

Canada’s social impact role in the world

What is Canada’s responsibility to the global community in post-pandemic recovery? What should our national SDG strategy now focus on? How should we support the global south? Canada is recognized for innovations that made a difference to global challenges in the last 50 years, but what will progress look like in a post-pandemic world? We track the Sustainable Development Goals and profile Canadian innovations that could massively enhance global well-being.

The evolution of cities and spaces

Office buildings have been hollowed out and will be reimagined — so will libraries, markets, shelters, colleges, and health centres. Events, from conferences to university lectures to fundraisers, will be transformed to include digital components. We’re hanging out with friends, family, and coworkers in digital places. What are the implications of physical spaces changing? Who benefits and who doesn’t? Can the social impact sector keep up?