CEGN NEWS | November 2017

Interview - Funder Focus with Stephen Huddart, McConnell Foundation

Updates - 2018 Conference

Collaborating - The Arctic Funders’ Collaborative

Events - Mark Blumberg and Compliance Issues

Learning - Charities Modernization

Investing - Climate Change Fiduciary Risk

Member & Partner News - Max Bell Foundation and new School for Public Policy

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INTERVIEW
Funder Focus – Stephen Huddart, President and CEO, McConnell Foundation
Editor: Thank you Stephen for this opportunity to chat about the federal government’s efforts to develop a national social innovation and social finance strategy. As a member of the strategy’s Co-creation Steering Group, you are at the heart of the public consultations and discussions for this initiative. But first, tell us about the government’s impetus for this work?
 
Stephen: Efforts to develop the strategy are a direct result of the Prime Minister’s Mandate letters for the Minister of Families, Children and Social Services, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and Treasury Board. The government recognizes that in order to navigate the ‘wicked’ problems facing us we require cross-sectoral approaches ─ and we need to bring social finance and social innovation strategies to bear on them.
 
Editor: What are the themes you have been hearing from the public consultations, which are taking place this fall?
 
Stephen: A major theme has been the need to reshape the relationship between civil society and the public sector and a desire to build on this current engagement process and sustain it over time --- perhaps to create a public clearinghouse where issues could be addressed in a timely way.
 
There has also been a strong emphasis on the need for investing capital to finance systems change, including major investments in social infrastructure. Some of this capital might be in the form of ‘pay for performance’ models, injecting funding up front that will enable cost savings as well as improved social and environmental outcomes. As the environmental sector knows, conservation costs less than remediation. To get more capital flowing into the social and environmental sectors, we should look at models from other countries like Big Society Capital in the UK. It was created out of funds from dormant bank accounts and is investing in sustainable, equitable solutions that achieve positive investment returns. Given the size of the capital needs, philanthropy on its own isn’t enough. However, we’re part of the solution and can play a critical role in investing strategically to spur others to invest in a sustainable and inclusive economy.
 
We have also heard a lot concerning the opportunity to deploy government procurement dollars to support environmental and social outcomes, instead of just using lowest cost as the basis for decisions.
 
Something else we’re hearing is about the need to apply social innovation and social finance strategies to regional priorities.
 
Capacity building is another need that has been mentioned a lot. Working in new ways requires investment.
 
Editor: What are your own aspirations for this work? What outcomes are you looking for?
 
Stephen: We need a broad re-engagement between government and civil society and to do that we need to reshape the policy and regulatory structure for charities and non-profits. Implementing the recommendations issued in the Report of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities would be a good start. We also need to establish a joint sectoral table where we can find ways to put more capital to work for a low carbon future, for reconciliation and for other societal priorities. Encouraging capacity building within the public sector to allow it to work differently with civil society, and vice-versa, is a critical opportunity. Public sector and civil society staff need to be able to see the systems we are working in and co-create solutions that advance our shared goals.
 
Right now, reporting requirements on government grants put too much emphasis on measuring activities in a rigid way, rather than on outcomes. Introducing an outcomes focus goes along with giving charities and co-funders the flexibility to adapt strategy. With current federal restrictions on how funders can operate, it is difficult for philanthropy to work with governments on large-scale challenges. Funders need the latitude to be able to provide loan guarantees and other financial supports to generate integrated approaches to inclusive growth. That means being able to fund non-profits and social enterprises in addition to making grants to charities. If government worked from a purpose and outcomes orientation, rather than from an activities and outputs perspective, it would free up the ability for all of us to work more effectively.
 
Editor: What can funders do to assist with the push for a strong social innovation and social finance strategy?
 
Stephen: I urge CEGN members to review the consultation docs and post their ideas on the online consultation site. As funders, we should use this opportunity to develop ambitious goals for working with government — to focus on the bold, as well as the incremental. I also urge funders to share the consultation process with their grantees and encourage them to engage too.
 
This is Canada’s opportunity to catch up to other jurisdictions. In the U.S., the Nonprofit Finance Fund is using innovative financing and other measures to scale solutions to social issues and the U.S. federal requirement that banks invest in their local communities is a model to look at. And we do have examples here at home that could be emulated across the country, including Quebec’s Chantier de l’economie sociale which was created with a $30 million infusion of federal funds and used to grow the social economy in the province. That economy now includes 7000 social enterprises with annual turnover of $40 billion, more than the combined sectors of construction, aeronautics and mining.
 
Improving access to capital – whether it be philanthropic, government, private sector or pension funding — is key. For funders and the organizations to which we grant and in whom we invest, we need to move away from an antiquated charity model and become partners with a broader range of stakeholders to achieve the systemic changes needed to ensure a sustainable and inclusive society.
 
Editor: We’ll look forward to tracking the evolution of the strategy and its implementation. Thanks very much for your leadership and commitment on social innovation and social finance.




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UPDATES
CEGN's 2018 Conference
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The conference will take place from May 15th-17th at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity with the theme “Transformative Strategies for Disruptive Times”. A Call for Proposals is being issued in early December and we encourage Members to consider submitting session proposals. We are also imbedding funder collaborative discussions within the conference program and welcome input on collaboratives to be featured. Stay tuned for the launch of the conference website in early December.




Cities Across Canada Building Local Capacity to Advance Innovative Low Carbon Solutions (December 8th at 1 p.m. Eastern)
Join fellow funders for this webinar which will focus on the emerging Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) initiative which promises major carbon reduction in key municipalities across Canada. The Atmospheric Fund is the catalyst for LC3 and Julia Langer, President and CEO of TAF, will lead the presentation with an overview of this ambitious plan and how philanthropy can play an instrumental role. 




Webinar Presentation by Julie Gelfand, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (January 9th, 2018 at 1 p.m. Eastern)
The Commissioner plays a critical oversight role in assessing the match between federal commitments and actions. This presentation will focus on the Commissioner’s fall report which included an assessment on progress of GHG reduction; the funding of clean energy technologies; and progress by departments in implementing Sustainable Development strategies. The Commissioner will also speak to the focus of her upcoming spring report. This webinar is a joint presentation of CEGN and The Sustainability Network.




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COLLABORATING
The Arctic Funders Collaborative
The Arctic Funders Collaborative is shining a light on the need and opportunities for philanthropic funding in the Artic. These webinar recordings provide a good introduction to the work underway by members of the collaborative.  For more information, contact Itoah Scott Enns, the Collaborative’ s Director.
 




Launch of Co-Impact
This is a global philanthropic collaborative designed to support collaborative systems change efforts that will achieve significant and enduring improvements in education, health and/or economic opportunity for millions of people in low and middle-income countries. The initial core partners of the collaborative include, Bill and Melinda Gates, Jeff Skoll and The Rockefeller Foundation.




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EVENTS
Mark Blumberg on the Top Ten Compliance Issues for Canadian Registered Charities (Webinar, The Sustainability Network. December 7th at 1:00 p.m. - Eastern)




Conservation Science, Policy & Practice: Connecting the Urban to the Wild (North American Congress for Conservation Biology, Toronto, July 21-26)
Details of the event can be found here. Funders interested in learning about sponsorship possibilities are invited to check out the prospectus.




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LEARNING
Ottawa Should Finish the Job On Advocacy Work by Charities: Editorial (The Star Editorial Board, November 17, 2017) 
This editorial urges the federal government to act on the recommendations outlined in the Report of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities which was submitted to the federal government last spring. CEGN is working with Philanthropic Foundations of Canada, Imagine Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and a number of non-profit organization to press for the adoption of the recommendations, which would set the foundation for the much-needed modernization of Canada’s charities legislation. Another opinion piece by Roger Gibbins in The Hill Times provides an additional perspective on this issue. If you would like to know how you can add your voice to this effort, please contact CEGN.




Canadian Off-Grid Action Monitor
Produced by Lumos Energy, this report summarizes some of the community-based, provincial and territorial efforts and Pan-Canadian initiatives to reduce diesel fuel reliance in remote and northern off-grid communities. Lumos Energy is helping to incubate two key social enterprises – the 20/20 Catalysts Program and the Indigenous Clean Energy Network – to spur the adoption of renewable energy in Canada’s Indigenous communities.




Alternative Journalism
A number of funders and non-profits are turning to the National Observer to follow the online publication’s investigative journalism on the environment and Indigenous rights and other relevant issues. Foundation subscriptions can be explored by contacting the National Observer and individual subscriptions are available by clicking here. Discourse Media is another alternative news source that readers may want to explore.




Car is No Longer King and People Come First, says Danish thinker, Jan Gehl (Alex Gillis, McConnell News, November 6, 2017)
Jan Gehl, a Danish architect and urban-design professor, who focuses on the need to design structures for life between buildings, spoke recently at an event in Montreal.  The author captures the contribution that Gehl has made to building "inclusive cities on a human scale".




Fishery Audit 2017 (Oceana Canada, October 25, 2017)

In a comprehensive review of the state of Canada’s fisheries, this report provides a troubling picture. Only one third of Canadian fish stocks are considered healthy and 13 per cent are in critical condition. Further, the health of 36 per cent of the stocks can’t be determined because there is insufficient information to properly assess them. Oceana provides a set of detailed recommendations for Fisheries and Oceans Canada to complete by the end of 2018, including: "completion of the rebuilding plans for the five stocks it has publicly committed to: Northern cod, yelloweye rockfish (inside waters population), southwest Nova Scotia cod and redfish units 1 and 2".





Update on the Green Budget Coalition
The Green Budget Coalition (GBC) has provided its 2018 Budget Recommendations, urging the government to:
  • Deliver on Canada’s commitment to protect land, inland waters and oceans (at least 17% of our land and inland waters and at least 10% of our coastal and marine areas by 2020), emphasizing a major investment in achieving Canada's international commitments on protected areas
  • Invest in environmentally sustainable agriculture
  • Invest in sustainable fisheries
  • Scale up efforts on international climate finance
The GBC has also continued to meet with a group of high-level federal officials, including Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ministers McKenna and LeBlanc, the PMO, Clerk of the Privy Council, and a series of deputy ministers and Finance officials. For more information, contact GBC Manager Andrew Van Iterson.
 




Decent Work in the Green Economy (Jordana Thirgood, Scott McFarridge, Mercedes Marcano, and Janet Van Ymeren, Mowat Centre and Smart Prosperity Institute, October 2017)

The need to link discussions about the transition to a greener economy and the need for decent work is tackled in this report.





Why Lost Ice Means Lost Hope for an Inuit Village (Livia Albeck-Ripka, The New York Times, November 25th, 2017)

This is a beautifully illustrated but haunting article, which will resonate with those who heard Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s remarks at CEGN’s 2017 conference.





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INVESTING
Canada: Country Summary on Climate Change Financial Risk (Janis Sarra and Cynthia Williams, Peter A. Allard School of Law, U.B.C and Osgoode, Hall Law School, York University, Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative, October 2017)
Providing a legal overview of the fiduciary role of corporations vis a vis climate risk, the report concludes: “Climate-related financial risk exists, and will continue to grow as Canada transitions to a low carbon economy. Directors and officers, pension trustees and other fiduciaries have a fiduciary obligation to identify the risks, and when they exist, to develop strategies in the best interests of the company, pension fund or investment fund to reduce the risk. Duly diligent efforts by these fiduciaries will not be second-guessed by the courts, and thus, the best strategy is to avoid liability risk by acting now.”  The Ivey Foundation supported the development of this report.




Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health Launches
While Canadian pension funds are known for world-class governance, there is a growing sense that the sector could show more leadership when it comes to preparing for climate risks and opportunities. Shift, inspired by the successful UK-based organization, ShareAction, has launched to help improve this situation. The initiative will bring together and educate pension fund beneficiaries, leaders and influencers with the goal of shifting investment policies and practices to minimize climate risks and tap opportunities in a low-carbon economy. Shift’s Advisory Committee features an esteemed group of pension sector veterans, including Doug Pearce, the former CEO of the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, and Keith Ambachtsheer, President of KPA Advisory Services.  Shift is seeking additional funding to take the initiative to the next level. The Ivey Foundation has provided start up resources and will match any new funding that is raised up to $150K. Shift is a project of Tides Canada and you can learn more about the initiative by clicking the button below and by contacting Jordy Gold, Shift’s director.




Book Review: The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism (Juniper Glass, The Philanthropist, November 13, 2017)
Juniper provides an excellent overview of Joel Solomon’s new book in this review in The Philanthropist.  As noted in the review, Solomon urges, “If you have influence on a foundation, push edges and enliven its role as the uniquely precious steward that it can be. Insist on deploying its entire resources toward savvy, tactical, and long-term change to benefit future generations”. The book can be purchased through New Society Publishers at the following link.
 




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MEMBER & PARTNER NEWS
The Max Bell Foundation
The Foundation has invested $10 million at McGill University to establish a new school of public policy.




Metcalf Foundation 
The Foundation has launched Carbon Landscapes, a new stream within the organization’s Environmental Program . The goal of Carbon Landscapes is to connect climate action and conservation initiatives in Canada in order to help advance nature-based solutions to climate challenges across the country. In this new focus area, the Foundation will support convening, research, and communications work at a policy level and fund place-based strategies that lead to the protection, restoration, and stewardship of landscapes that provide critical carbon services in addition to important cultural, economic, and social benefits.
 




The De Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
The Foundation hosted the 2017 AquaHacking Summit at the University of Waterloo in September at which five finalist teams of water students, hackers and engineers presented their innovative solutions to help solve Lake Erie’s water issues. This video and report provide an excellent overview of the event.




The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) 
TAF is expanding its emissions reductions work to communities across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area as a result of an additional endowment of $17 million by the province of Ontario. This blog post speaks to TAF’s process in developing an approach to this expanded mandate.  And congratulations to TAF’s CEO Julia Langer who is the recipient of the 2017 David Crombie Award announced recently by the Canadian Urban Institute.
 




Friends of Greenbelt Foundation
CEGN welcomes Ed McDonnell as the new CEO of the Foundation.




 
 


CEGN thrives on both input and feedback from Members! Please let us know if you have suggestions for resources, updates or other items that we might include in future issues.


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