York fundraisers quoted on the future of philanthropy

Paul Marcus, president of the York University Foundation, and Susan Mullin, YUF vice-president of development, commented on the future of philanthropy, in the lead articles in a special information supplement published in The Globe and Mail June 27.

“Charities are becoming bigger and more complex,” said Marcus in the supplement’s lead article, “The Future of Philanthropy.” “The size, number and complexity of them is really affecting how we do business.” His organization is a case in point, wrote the Globe. Six years ago, the York University Foundation was established as an independent entity to support York’s fundraising priorities. The model has allowed the foundation to focus strictly on fundraising and has enabled it to bring a high level of accountability to donors. And, according to Marcus, it has been very successful thanks to everyone’s efforts. In the last six years, he says, pledges have almost tripled.

Citing the investment-based philosophy used by many corporate donors, the Globe said non-profit companies are increasingly working to portray themselves from an affirmative position. “We’re going from begging to saying we’re offering something of value – that we do have a valuable social and economic offering to make to the community and people should invest,” said Marcus.

  • Young donors are more demanding and more willing to get involved personally, wrote the Globe, in a story on demographic trends in philanthropy. Susan Mullin, vice-president for the York University Foundation, has seen a similar trend in her effort to engage students and York’s younger alumni. “The old model of people sitting on a board for eight years is not going to work for younger donors,” said Mullin. “We need to find more creative means for engaging young people in our work – whether through technology or in targeted impact-oriented volunteer activities.”
  • Celebrating its 50th birthday in 2009, York University is Canada’s third-largest university and host to a dynamic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 190,000 alumni worldwide, noted the Globe in a story about the arts and education. The York University Foundation is helping York imagine the next 50 years of exponential achievement supported by $160 million to date toward the $200-million York to the Power of 50 campaign.

York research chair named after Augustine

York University has created a new research chair to determine how students learn best in urban environments, wrote Insidetoronto.com June 26. The Jean Augustine Chair in Education is an endowed chair named after the former Etobicoke-Lakeshore MP and Canada’s first black woman elected to the House of Commons.

Paul Axelrod, dean of York’s Faculty of Education, said the new faculty position would focus on "what goes on outside the classroom that affects what goes on inside the classroom." "We really want to make York a hub of activity around the theme of education and communities," he said, adding he anticipates a chair will be appointed within the next year.

Augustine, who migrated to Canada in 1961 from Grenada and was elected to parliament in 1993, said she wants to see the chair as a catalyst between education and urban environment. "York is the perfect place for these things to happen," she said. "I think this will pull a whole lot of things together to better prepare teachers."

Schulich profs speak out on corporate social responsibility

"For a substantial amount of time, I was probably more of a corporate social responsibility cynic. But in the last few years, I’ve become more of a CSR optimist," said Andrew Crane, a professor of business ethics at York’s Schulich School of Business, in a story by Konrad Yakabuski in The Globe and Mail’s Report On Business Top 1000 Magazine June 27. "I’ve been surprised by some of the investments companies have made in CSR and sustainability with no clear return for shareholders."

Any corporation still questioning whether it needs to get serious about CSR need look no further than the York undergrads, wrote the Globe. Increasingly, it’s not enough to offer upper-five-figure salaries to freshly minted MBAs. They want proof the job has a missionary component.

It is no coincidence that this is all happening now, wrote the Globe. "CSR is deeply embedded in globalization, deregulation and a free-market economy," notes Crane. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan marked the world in ways that cannot be undone.

"Critics of CSR on the right and the left use the same argument. They say government and elected representatives should decide on the broader well-being of society," adds Crane’s Schulich colleague Dirk Matten. (Schulich is the Canadian leader in CSR, earning an overall third-place spot on the latest Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey that ranks business schools around the world on their "integration of issues concerning social and environmental stewardship" into their curriculums.)

"The left," continues Matten," argues that delegating this into the realm of corporations is undemocratic, while the right says government should make the rules and business should make profits. The fundamental problem with that idea is the neat separation between what governments do and what corporations do no longer exists."

When I ask Crane, a British native, whether he thinks corporate social responsibility is just a ruse cooked up by business to pre-empt government regulation, he responds: "Or is CSR an attempt by governments to minimize the necessity for them to regulate?"

There’ll be no long weekend for workers this Canada Day

Canadians looking forward to a July long weekend can be forgiven for feeling a little short changed this Canada Day, wrote The Canadian Press June 27. A phenomenon not altogether uncommon – it occurred, most recently, in both 2003 and 2004 – a single workday flanked by a standard weekend and a grand fete will undoubtedly have an adverse affect on productivity.

While tough to put a dollar figure on the economic impact this daylong loss of productivity might have, Richard Leblanc, a professor in York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies, suggested it’s there and it’s inevitable. "Just by virtue of being in between two holidays, they’re just not working at full productivity," he said, adding employers that recognize this might look at making Monday productive in a different way.

Leblanc suggested it may be a good day for a barbecue or a team building activity. It would generate goodwill and show staffers that the company is both flexible and understanding, he said, noting workers will likely get some work done while also helping to build the corporate culture.

University anti-abortionists take on student government

An anti-abortion student group at York University has launched a complaint under the school’s code of conduct over the student government’s effective ban against them, one of several such bans across the country. A further grievance is the mandatory $7.20 annual dues paid by students of Canadian Federation of Students member schools, wrote the National Post June 27, in a story that also contained quotations from the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

The York Federation of Students maintains that the tactics of anti-abortion groups amount to hate crimes, because they imply all women are murderers, and that their presence on campus creates an unsafe environment for women, wrote the Post.

Gillary Massa, vice-president external of the York Federation of Students, has said student clubs may discuss abortion in student space, as long as they do it "within a pro-choice realm," and that clubs will be investigated to ensure compliance.

Graduates share their stories on how one course changed their lives

York student Imran Hasan, a graduate of Centennial College, shared his personal story on how his life was changed by one course, wrote the Scarborough Mirror June 26, in a story about the college’s Signature Learning Experience program, which focuses on globalisation.

Hasan, whose father grew up in Bangladesh before settling in Canada, said he found self-identity by examining his family roots and gained a greater appreciation for older relatives after learning how much they gave up to move their family to Canada for better opportunities.

He also credited the course for inspiring him to do his part and make the world a better place to live. "It was an amazing experience," said Hasan, who is now enrolled at York University studying international development studies.

Glendon soccer fans say ‘soccer is life’ back home

Cosmopolitan York business economics students from Glendon Akiff, from Burundi, and Mehdi, from Tunisia, both sit at the bar and say they’re supporting Spain, wrote the National Post June 27, in a story about fans watching Euro Cup 2008 in a soccer pub called the Main Event. How do Toronto fans compare to Burundi’s? "Here it’s just a game. Back home it’s life," says Akiff.

On air

  • Ann Kim, sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, spoke about the connection between internal immigration and homeownership, on Radio Canada International’s “The Link” June 24.