"There's always someone trying to make change happen and to make our world even more beautiful," observes Stephen Huddart, the new President and CEO of the McConnell Family Foundation. And that pretty well sums up Stephen's inspiration and delight in his new job.
Stephen's path to McConnell circumnavigates the world geographically and experientially. The little I know of his life would fit the category of a daring adventure. It included rescuing two children under siege and gunfire during the Salvadoran Civil War; a stint at the Chelsea Hotel coinciding with the Sex Pistols and helping the children's troubadour Raffi launch his Institute for Child Honouring. He's made films that are now in the Smithsonian, run non profits, swam with piranhas in the Amazon, broadcasted, acted, had his own construction business and started the legendary Alma Street Jazz Café here in Vancouver.
Just the kind of person you'd rely on in a crisis. Cool, bold, ingenious.
Philanthropic and Community Foundations, particularly in Canada, are the bedrock of support for those 'canaries in the mine' who spot and solve societal challenges years before they appear on the institutional radar screen. Foundations provide funding to explore the idea, work out the kinks and implement to a modest scale. By then our governments have caught up and take it from there.
Chair Lyn Baptist and McConnell's Board have wisely chosen renaissance over retrenchment. We can use more fresh thinking and fresh approaches to add to our palette of social change. Being well versed in a variety of fields makes Stephen the perfect companion to join with Canadians who are re-imagining how we take care of each other, our planet and all creatures who inhabit it.
As for that opening quote. The furthest thing from Stephen's mind is that it applies to him. The surest thing in the minds of those of us who know him is that it defines him.
By Stephen Huddart: