The Role of Ultra-Wealthy Charities in the Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor

“To him that hath, more shall be given; and from him that hath not, the little that he hath shall be taken away.” (Percy Bysshe Shelley) I come bearing poetry. I come bearing facts. In this case the breaking news does require some imagination. The rich are getting richer. By a lot. In July the […]

The 5 Myths of Charities and Political Activities

The July 16, 2018 decision of the Ontario Superior Court in the case of Canada Without Poverty vs. the Attorney General of Canada ruled that charitable donations were a free speech issue and that limiting the amount of money a charity can spend on political activity curtails freedom of speech. Unfortunately, opening the door to unlimited […]

How an Ontario Superior Court Decision Has Remade the Charity Sector, Failed Vulnerable Canadians and Why Some People Are Cheering?

On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a controversial 5 – 4 decision on the case of Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission. The decision stated that “political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from […]

Charities’ fading moral high ground

I On April 15th, I was part of a panel at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) international conference in New Orleans. Thirty-five hundred delegates—mostly fundraisers— attended the conference from around the world. The question to our panel was Are charities losing the moral high ground? On April 23rd, the Globe and Mail filled in […]

Ninety Thousand Words To Go

In the past four years I’ve fashioned scores of pieces for a regular blog, produced a daily churn of work-related writing, and written and had published two books, a novel and a work of non-fiction. I am a card-carrying writer. Now, I’ve just returned from St. John’s where I spent a week doing research for […]

Trying to Live Life on Yellow Alert

“Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau addressing the Press Club in Washington, D.C. (25 March 1969) on the matter of living […]

It’s Hard To Feel Sorry For A Neighbour Who Keeps Setting His Own House On Fire

The eyes of American lawmakers gazed miserably out from our screens yesterday as television networks provided wall-to-wall news coverage of another mass shooting. Fifty-nine dead and 527 injured this time, the largest body count ever. The response to the carnage? “Heroism,” according to news hosts from Anderson Cooper to Rachel Maddow. “It is tragedies like […]

Charity Talk: How can you compete with changing the skyline?

Charities are entrusted with the lives and wellbeing of the poorest, sickest and most oppressed people in the world. In Canada, the sector generated $246 billion in 2014. How do they view their obligations, chose their priorities and interpret the impact of those choices? In February my book, Cap in Hand: How Charities Are Failing […]

Why AFP needs to be kicked to the curb (and pronto)

If you recall, Wednesday March 8th was International Women’s Day. It was an odd mix this year. As Women’s March organizers were getting arrested in Washington D.C., a WTF attitude and a call to honour the good men in our lives emanated from other quarters. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) with world headquarters in […]

Charity mergers and “wealthy big-name donors”

Truthfully? The world of charities—a world I’ve inhabited for more than 25 years—is beginning to drive me a bit crazy. What are we supposed to think of charities, anyway? Are they a deer in the headlights responding like the proverbial damsel in distress to events beyond their control? Are they made up of scheming profiteers […]