Fateema Sayani is Director of Donor Engagement at the Ottawa Community Foundation and a graduate of Carleton University’s Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program.

How has your sector adapted since the COVID crisis started?

At the start of the pandemic, the Ottawa Community Foundation worked quickly to assure funding reached various organizations swiftly. Our Rapid Response Fund offered emergency grants for food security, mental health and racial equity initiatives. As we look toward a thoughtful recovery from the pandemic, I hope that policy and advocacy initiatives raised in the Report of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector gain traction, particularly around earned revenue.

Can you explain a success story in terms of adapting to the COVID-19 crisis in your sector?

Even before the pandemic, the gap between financial resources and need was projected to be $25 billion by 2026. I wrote a companion report summarizing the Senate’s work, with suggested priorities from the perspective of a grantmaking foundation. This was the subject of a panel, run by Imagine Canada’s public policy team in late 2019, called Maintaining Momentum (where the photo below was taken). Systemic solutions demand cross-sectoral commitments to collectively re-imagine systems. Some of those launched by the Ottawa Community Foundation include the Social Enterprise Platform to reduce grant dependency. Also, the Journalism Endowment Matching Program hopes to address information gaps. No one group can lead the recovery alone. None has all the resources and ideas, but together we do.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in
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