A potpourri of interesting articles, reports and determined leadership to round up the week.

The first is the decision by the Hamilton Spectator to profile the unacceptable rates of poverty in Hamilton and to become part of the solution  Here, courtesy of Tamarack are links to the editor's declaration to make the reduction of poverty in Hamilton a high priority.  Since mainstream media is under criticism these days for sensationalizing the news, it is refreshing for a newspaper to admit a bias, declare enough is enough and lend its weight and credibility to fighting poverty.  For its leadership The Spectator is being criticized by its media colleagues.  The back story to this initiative, and there is always a back story, is the significant leadership over several years, provided by the Hamilton Community Foundation and the convening expertise of Vibrant Communities led by the passion and expertise of Paul Born and Mark Cabaj.

Secondly, a revised and highly relevant quarterly journal has hit the 'e' ways, The Canadian Philanthropist.  The journal is free and presents the challenges faced by the civil sector in the early years of the 21st century, in an engaging and accessible manner. Two articles in the current issue stand out for me.  One on Funder Collaboratives by Hillary Pearson, the savvy President of the Philanthropic Foundation of Canada. Hillary looks at the collaboration among foundation funders to pool grant dollars, share information, discuss common strategy and work together on specific policy challenges.  I have participated in several of these foundation collaborations and they are powerful forces.  At a time when the non profit sector is encouraged to collaborate by funders, it is encouraging to see Canadian Foundations do the same and perhaps most important recognize it will not happen without learning the skills of collaboration.                                        The second article is by Liz Mulholland entitled, New Ways to Keep Up Our End of the Policy Conversation.  Liz worked for the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) under former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien and saw first hand our sector's lobby strengths and weaknesses.  I will always be grateful for the strategic advice she gave me at a critical moment in PLAN's campaign to secure the RDSP (Registered Disability Savings Plan). One of her recommendations is to make Government '101' a core competency of Board members and staff.  To that end PLAN will host 3 days of advocacy training this September with the eminent Sean Moore as our presenter and strategist.  Stay tuned for more details.

Thirdly this week's issue of Village Vibes from Charity Village profiles Imagine Canada's   Sector Monitor report on the financial health of Canada's volunteer sector in light of the world's recession. Among its findings:

  • one quarter reduced services and programs
  • one half increased reliance on volunteers
  • one quarter expressed the belief their existence is at risk.

Never a better time to think and act differently.

And finally, Ted Kuntz, my dear friend and author of Peace Begins With Me has made it to the second round of voting for the Next Top Spiritual Author competition. Here is the link to a short overview of Ted's book and an opportunity to support him through to the final round.  See also a deeply personal review of Ted's book by the noted Quebec writer and editorialist, Hélene Laberge.  I had the great pleasure of spending two days with Hélene and her husband Jacques Dufresne this week in North Hatley, one of the most beautiful regions of Quebec. The impact of those inspiring conversations will appear in subsequent blogs.

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