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Grantee News
Video Highlights 
National Congress 2014
Culture Days' second national congressheld May 22 and 23 in Winnipeg—brought together more than 1,500 people, including artists, cultural organizations, and funders, for a unique opportunity to connect and exchange ideas on creating and promoting arts and culture across Canada.
Following the event, Culture Days released a short highlights video.
Culture Days National Congress 2014
To learn more, visit
Roots of Empathy
in the News

Featured recently on the front page of the Washington Post, the Roots of Empathy program—building emotional literacy in children through empathy-based programming—has launched in
five Washington D.C. schools.
Read the full article here.
To learn more, visit
Foundation News
RECODE Webinar
Watch the Foundation's May 13 RECODE Webinar to learn more about our latest initiative—a
platform dedicated to catalyzing social innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education across the country.
Staff News
We are pleased to welcome our newest team member,
Elana Ludman, Social Innovation Advisor to the President. Prior to joining the Foundation, Elana worked with Employment and Social Development Canada as a Program Advisor, with Habitat for Humanity in Argentina as a Field Coordinator, and with Santropol Roulant as the Director of Development and Communications. Elana has a Masters in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics. 

resources and materials, visit:
SiG Knowledge Hub
For the latest Foundation news,
visit and join the conversation on
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June News
Social Innovation Nation
Recent events suggest that the field of social innovation is maturing to the point where it is possible to envisage adaptive, evolutionary shifts in our social, economic, and environmental systems.

Consider: May 25-27, MaRS Solutions Lab (MSL) hosted Labs for Systems Change—the world's first gathering of practitioners leading this type of work, with individuals from 30 countries. In her remarks to the gathering, Frances Westley— J.W. McConnell Chair in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo—described how our understanding of psychology and group dynamics; design thinking; and complex adaptive systems theory—together with data analysis and computer modelling—affords us new ability to examine and improve institutional behaviour, and to generate testable solutions to wicked problems. 

Meanwhile, May 26-30 was Social Innovation Week in Vancouver, produced by BC Partners for Social Impact and SiG. A public Ideas Jam and an academic conference were among several events surrounding the global Social Innovation Exchange, which Canada was hosting for the first time. The gathering was opened by BC's Minister of Social Innovation—Canada's first—who predicted that in five years every government will follow suit—crowdsourcing ideas, introducing hybrid corporate structures, employing new social finance measures, and supporting civic engagement in the search for solutions to our most pressing challenges.

With its recent announcement of a $1 billion endowment for social and cultural innovation, Alberta is also moving in this direction. 

This is not just work for governments, corporations, philanthropic foundations, and community organizations. A recent blog by Joe Hsueh, of Foundation partner Second Muse, titled Why the Human Touch is Key to Unlocking System Change, quotes Peter Senge: "What is most systemic is most personal". A reminder that change begins with ourselves—with shifts in our own habits, and our customary ways of seeing and dealing with others. 

~ Stephen Huddart, President & CEO

Announcing the launch of the
Banking on Change Fund
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of a new fund to support the transformational work of food banks across Canada. As part of the Foundation's Sustainable Food Systems initiative, the Banking on Change Fund, launching June 16, targets food security at the community level, with a focus on the role of food banks in moving beyond emergency food aid towards an approach that meaningfully integrates healthy food procurement and civic engagement. In addition to grants of up to $50,000 over two years, Banking on Change grantees will receive funding for professional development and opportunities to participate in a variety of learning activities. 
Visit our website for fund updates and announcements.
SSIR's Summer Issue:
Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World 
Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World, a recent article from the summer issue of Stanford's Social Innovation Review, highlights the Foundation's practice of embracing emergent strategy in developing initiatives and programs. Quoting the Foundation's Director of Programs and Operations, John Cawley:

"The first thing is not to assume that we alone are going to have a plan. It’s going to be co-created by the people we’re bringing around the table. It is much more nerve-racking but ultimately more interesting when you co-create strategy." 

The article emphasizes that to solve today's complex social problems, foundations need to shift from the prevailing model of strategic philanthropy that attempts to predict outcomes, to an emergent model that better fits the realities of creating social change in a complex world.

Read the full article here 
Learning from the land in the North
Dechinta in the news

The Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning—a Foundation grantee—was recently featured in the Globe and Mail article, Learning from the land in the North.
The article highlights Dechinta's innovative and unconventional single-semester program, which is delivered in a remote, wilderness setting—a 20-minute ski-plane flight from Yellowknife. Placing equal weight on both academia and traditional, land-based learning, Dechinta supports Northern students to lead and achieve through a bush-based education experience.
To learn more about the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, visit
New report from SiG
Breaking Through: How Corporate Social Innovation Creates Business Opportunity
Social Innovation Generation (SiG), in collaboration with KPMG, Volans, and MaRS, recently published Breaking Through: How Corporate Social Innovation Creates Business Opportunity. The report looks at the positive power of business to drive the innovation needed to solve the growing social and environmental challenges on our plate.
For the full report, or to learn more about Corporate Social Innovation, click here
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