Chris Wignall is the Executive Director of the Catalyst Foundation, an Oakville, Ontario-based family foundation that believes its role is more than that of writing a cheque. They have modelled a beautifully organic pathway forward for philanthropists who seek deeper involvement with charity life. Yes, funding is a part of their contribution, but more, they offer capacity building to charities with an intentional focus on leadership development, coaching, and shifting organizational culture.
Their approach is what I would term “organic”. It is in relationship with charity leaders, in facilitating their best performance and development, that charities are strengthened, and in time, possibly, financial grants may be a part of it. This nurturing place comes from naming the power imbalance that exists between grantmaker and grantseeker, and embracing a patient approach that accepts and encourages an acknowledgment of the challenges of leading charities today.
Quote of the Podcast:
The dysfunction in our community comes from both sides giving into the power imbalance. On the donor side it looks like keeping all our cards close to the chest, being inaccessible, being very demanding, throwing our weight around, [and] assuming that we know how to run charities better than those who have spent their lives doing it.
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