A short history of philanthropic perpetuity: tax havens, Catholic corruption and corporate control

Why It Matters

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.

Are Canadian foundations afraid of death?

Why It Matters

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate inequality, several non-profit and grassroots leaders are calling on Canadian donors to spend down — distributing all of their foundation assets within a defined term — in order to free up capital for community impact. Some are responding, but analysis shows that systemic orientation toward perpetuity in the philanthropic sector in Canada may be preventing other philanthropists from following suit.

Hudson’s Bay Company launches ‘Charter for Change’ to fund racial equity projects across Canada

Why It Matters

Hudson’s Bay Company was deeply involved in British colonialism across a third of what is now Canada for 200 years. The company’s monopoly was based on the racist ‘doctrine of discovery’ and helped to destroy traditional Indigenous ways of life.

‘You know your communities best:’ How the COVID-19 pandemic forced Canadian grantmakers to loosen up

Why It Matters

Paternalism, white saviorism, and colonialism are the very bones of the British philanthropic model used in Canada. These values have historically made it incredibly difficult for Black and Indigenous-led non-profits to secure funding for their needs, and many of these organizations serve the communities that are most vulnerable to COVID-19.