“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
The quote is from an American – 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt – but it crosses all borders, real and imagined. And it’s worth consideration today, especially, as we mark National Philanthropy Day.
The idea is that on this day we recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those active in the philanthropic community – have made to our lives, our communities, and our world.
Today is the 25th anniversary of National Philanthropy Day, spearheaded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. It was officially declared in Canada just last year, by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
I’ll be using some of my time today to think about the amazing work being done coast to coast my members of Community Foundations of Canada, and its thousands of affiliated programs, initiatives and projects.
While I’m quite new to the community foundation movement, my respect and admiration for all of its players is great – I feel I have been welcomed into a family of dedicated, enthusiastic and, most of all, compassionate Canadians who are “doing what they can, with what they have, where they are.”
That drive will be palpable as we gather May 12-14 in Vancouver for CFC Conference 2011, a much-needed opportunity to reflect, reconnect and recharge with colleagues from around the globe.
We’re eagerly anticipating the featured speaker – another U.S. President. Bill Clinton is sure to inspire with his philanthropic message, as are the other plenary speakers, including Naomi Tutu and Bill White, who leads the renowned Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
But mainly it’s a chance for all of us to learn how to be better philanthropists, through professional development, networking and Community Learning Forums, which will see conference-goers visiting venues and organizations funded by Vancouver Foundation.
I’ve become acquainted with such grantees across Canada – and the work they do: what they can, with what they have, where they are – via my communications work on Canada’s Vital Signs.
Some of these impressive efforts include hands-on environmental action by Hamilton Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council, a quick response by the Foundation of Greater Montreal to help newly arrived Haitian immigrants, and Vancouver Foundation’s role in establishing the new Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia. Others are also documented in our Vital Signs Impact Stories.
With those in mind, I raise a toast to all of you. Happy National Philanthropy Day!
Skana Gee is Communications Coordinator with Community Foundations of Canada.