Archive for April, 2012

Highlights from the Changemakers Summit!

From April 16 to 18 in Gatineau Quebec, nearly 175 people gathered for the national summit celebrating winners of the online Changemakers Competition Inspiring Approaches to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning—a competition of Ashoka Canada, Aboriginal organizations and several foundations, including the McConnell Foundation, to solicit innovative projects and ideas to improve First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning.

Competition winners—30 selected from 266 entries—received a share of $90,000 in prizes and summit attendees heard from featured speakers, including The Right Honourable Paul Martin; Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; and Commissioner Wilton Littlechild of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. McConnell Foundation President, Stephen Huddart and Senior Program Officer Dana Vocisano also spoke at the event.

On the final day of the summit, The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (The Circle) joined Askoha Canada to host a session on “The Path Ahead” and discuss plans for The Circle’s Collaborative Circle on Education and Learning.

For more summit highlights, presentations and blog entries, click here.

To learn about the McConnell Foundation’s on-going commitment to Aboriginal-Focused Philanthropy, click here.

Timeraiser Success in Montreal

On April 12 at Montreal’s Bonsecours Market, more than 300 people gathered for the city’s first Timeraiser—an innovative auction style event where attendees can volunteer with local agencies and bid their time, not money, on works of local emerging artists.

Highlights from the evening include: 6,500 volunteer hours pledged; $13,ooo invested in local Montreal artists; and maximum bids (100 volunteer hours) for 22 of the 24 pieces of art.

To learn more about Timeraiser events—a program of Foundation grantee, Framework—click here.

ALLIES: New Report on SMEs

ALLIES—a joint initiative of the Maytree Foundation and the McConnell Foundation—recently released a new report, Global Talent for SMEs: Building Bridges and Making Connections, which highlights new ways to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to hire skilled immigrants.

Consultations for the report included 300 small-business owners in five focus groups across Canada, and individual interviews with entrepreneurs. The report notes that SMEs face skills and labour shortages, and compete with larger businesses for skilled talent. However, due to a lack of HR personnel and resources, SMEs are underutilizing the skills and talents of immigrants in the workforce.

“The potential impact of engaging SMEs in immigrant employment strategies can have significant positive outcomes for local labour markets across different sectors and regions,” says Ratna Omidvar, president of Maytree. “In the private sector alone, SMEs employ 6.7 million Canadians. Effectively engaging SMEs will have an enormous effect on SMEs, skilled immigrants, and on the Canadian economy.”

To learn more about the work of ALLIES, visit

SiG Presents at ALIA

Social Innovation Generation (SiG) team members Vickie Cammack, Tim Draimin, Al Etmanski, and Cheryl Rose will present How the World is Changed: Seeing and Shifting Patterns in Systems at the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Summer Institute in Halifax from June 18-22.

ALIA programs create a place of learning and training, where leaders and change-makers strengthen their leadership, form new collaborations, and accelerate impact.

To learn more about the ALIA Summer Institute, or to register, click here.

Social Finance Spotlight

Visit our website spotlight on Social Finance to learn about the Foundation’s commitment and collaborations in this emerging field.

Spotlight resources include the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance‘s report Mobilizing Private Capital for Public Good – Measuring Progress During Year One, and a Social Finance Q & A with past McConnell President, Tim Brodhead.