Today, on National Philanthropy Day, we honour the desire and action taken by Canadians to strengthen the communities they call home. More than ever, this desire to contribute is essential to building a strong Canada. Global socio-economic, political and environmental forces are driving new social challenges and entrenching old ones, bringing higher levels of inequality that negatively impact our local communities.
In our hyper-connected world, digital technology is changing the nature of philanthropy and how people expect to contribute and participate in social change. New platforms are empowering people to express their benevolence and take action in different ways. While this challenges the traditional structures of charitable giving, there has never been a greater opportunity or time for people, companies, and charities to work together to innovate and solve the challenges of poverty and inequality in our communities.
We all benefit when everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
For United Way Centraide, philanthropy is essential to sustain the critical community services that millions of Canadians depend upon every day. The future of philanthropy is equally about co-creating solutions to our most challenging social issues through the engaged participation and leadership of corporations, their employees, community service agencies and the lived experience of people in local communities.
Announced earlier this year, the Federal Government’s commitments to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a national poverty reduction strategy provides a powerful shared framework with the potential to bring new energy, alignment and a higher level of engagement from community organizations, governments, businesses and individuals – all of whom want to contribute to building a sustainable future for our communities.
At United Way Centraide, we have been entering into new partnerships to empower our community building efforts and engage with our supporters in a whole new way. At the global level we have entered into a partnership with Salesforce to develop a next-generation employee engagement platform that will connect and empower people to advance their philanthropic passions and link them back to the SDGs. Our local United Ways and Centraides are actively investing in social innovation and strategic partnerships to develop collective impact strategies and incubate new solutions for their local communities.
In this spirit of co-creation, this fall, we partnered with the Pantone® Colour Institute to launch our first ever national public awareness campaign. Together, we created Unignorable – a colour developed specifically to highlight local social issues and bring attention to the millions of Canadians impacted by them. This colour cuts through the clutter of our busy lives, draws our attention and compels us to act. It’s a colour that sparks a conversation we need to have. It’s an invitation to be part of the change by showing love for the places we call home and people who live there.
The future of philanthropy has arrived. It’s about engaging, giving and sharing our experience, knowledge and influence to shape a brighter future.
Appeared in The Globe And Mail on November 16, page 14 of the AFP section.
President and CEO (Interim)
United Way Centraide Canada