Notwithstanding what the future of philanthropy may hold, or if current trends will stand the test of time, change and impact on communities should always be an integral part of community foundations’ work.
By Ana Pinho
Two years ago Canada’s Governor General gave a memorable speech, calling for a smart and caring nation towards the country’s 150th anniversary in 2017. That was the inspiration for the Community Foundations of Canada to launch the Smart & Caring Communities effort, which set two goals: 1. that every community in Canada be served by a community foundation, and 2. the establishment of community funds. A sense of innovation and collaboration to help the movement achieve these goals set the tone of the CFC 2013 Conference: Inspiring Smart & Caring Communities.
Impact was another key word in the discussions. Notwithstanding what the future of philanthropy may hold, or if current trends will stand the test of time, change and impact on communities should always be an integral part of community foundations’ work. A conference held in Winnipeg could not have left human rights out of the agenda; the city will host the National Museum for Human Rights, which received a major gift from The Winnipeg Foundation. Conference participants explored Canada’s human rights history during the conference, and were given a preview of the museum, as it is not yet open to the public.
WINGS members were also at the conference, where they presented a session on philanthropic initiatives from around the globe, sharing common challenges and innovative solutions. Ansis Berzins (Valmiera Region CF, Latvia), Iwona Olkowicz (Academy for the Development of Philanthropy, Poland), Janet Mawiyoo (Kenya Community Development Foundation), and David Perez Rulfo (Corporativa de Fundaciones and Comunalia, Mexico) shared with the audience case studies on how people’s perception towards endowments and giving in general can be changed through simple initiatives or big campaigns, showing that people may need small incentives to start raising funds, and that community foundations can transform people’s lives.
The CFC Conference also gave us the opportunity to gather WINGS members and others to join a lively discussion on effective, innovative, and solution-oriented approaches to promote and support community foundations. The Peer Learning Event convened 14 people from 10 countries, who shared their knowledge on how to tackle tough issues facing community foundations and also new, interactive ways to encourage giving. Participants also had the opportunity to advise WINGS on programming for community foundation/philanthropy support organisations, including for WINGSForum 2014, to be held in Istanbul in March.
Ana Borges Pinho is the Knowledge Management Coordinator for WINGS.