As the Winter Solstice approaches, with the sun only shining for a few hours, I am reminded of the warmth my colleagues and I have felt reconnecting in person this year. One of my greatest “non-guilty” pleasures is meeting with community leaders, who day in and day out, go out of their way to make a difference in our lives and neighbourhoods. The opportunity to come together and collaborate not only recharges my batteries, but also sparks my curiosity and fills me with wonder at the potential for the future.
I want to thank all the incredible people I have had the privilege to meet from coast to coast to coast, from Kjibuktuk (Halifax) to Camosack (Victoria), to the Sayisi Dene territory in Churchill, Manitoba, and many other places in between for welcoming me into their communities and organizations and for sharing their experiences of the past few years with me. Learning about how our partners have adapted to the effects of COVID, climate change, the arrival of newcomers, the growing needs of their communities, inflation, and so many other issues has helped to identify ways to respond to a unique set of challenges over the seasons.
Engaging with our partners has also helped both my colleagues and I learn more about the outstanding impact of the many grassroots and community organizations that do not have charitable status and have at times been overlooked by the philanthropic sector. This year, the federal government announced changes that will simplify the process for funders to partner with these organizations, which are defined as non-qualified donees. This is a welcome change for the charitable sector that we hope to take full advantage of in the coming years.
From non-profits to charities, we have been amazed by the work that all of our partners have accomplished in this transition year, as they re-adapt, and re-learn how to serve their communities.
As we enter 2023, let us be inspired by the seven sacred teachings, also known as the seven grandfather teachings, to guide us in our work for the coming year: truth, humility, honesty, respect, courage, wisdom and love. For anything can be achieved when we work together – collectively.
Heartfelt thanks to all our partners and the many organizations across our sector who are addressing complex challenges for community resilience, reconciliation and climate change.
As another year comes to a close, I wish you a holiday season that is restful, allows you to recharge your batteries, and brings warmth to you and your loved ones. May the new year be one of connection and collaboration.