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AFP Chapter Presidents in Canada Speak Out About National Philanthropy Day®

November 19, 2012

Earlier this month, Parliament approved a new bill that will make Canada the first country in the world to honour the work of charities, donors, volunteers, corporations and foundations by permanently recognizing November 15th as National Philanthropy Day® (NPD).

AFP eWire Canada asked AFP Canadian chapter presidents: What does the approval of Bill S-201 say to you about the importance of philanthropy in Canada and how can AFP members make the most of this annual event?

Here’s what they had to say -

“It is no surprise to me that Canada is the first country to permanently recognize National Philanthropy Day. Canadians place great value on philanthropy and the fundraising professionals who honour them by pledging to protect their intentions.”

Edie Newton
President, AFP Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter


“National Philanthropy Day reflects the very best of Canada. It is our chance to really celebrate what makes us proud to live in Canada, a country where we encourage social activism, teach our young people the value of volunteerism and celebrate our differences as we celebrate what makes us one. As AFP members we will formalize our recognition of National Philanthropy Day, a day that we have celebrated before in anticipation of this year and the passing of the bill which makes it permanent! A great day for philanthropy and for Canada!

Susan Horvath, CFRE
President, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter
Vice President, Leadership Philanthropy
Canadian Cancer Society


“This is an acknowledgement and validation by our government of the value and importance of philanthropy for our nation. It will provide a validated annual opportunity to raise awareness of the importance and value of philanthropy and those who participate in this field. AFP members should be proud that Canada stands with us in promoting philanthropy and the values that we hold dear to us.”

Ken Kissick, CFRE
President, AFP Alberta, Southern Chapter
Director, Streets Alive Mission


“I see the passing of this legislation as having three important impacts within the charitable sector and in Canadian society:

  1. It raises the credibility of giving: by enacting this legislation, the government has indicated that the financial impact that donors make to our society is important, substantial and deserves recognition at the highest levels of representation of our society.
  2. It signals giving as a core Canadian value: by establishing an official day, it serves to connect the whole country to the notion that generosity, altruism, and the spirit of giving is part of our social make-up as Canadians.
  3. It raises the bar on the profession: creating an official day forces a new level of respect, aspiration, and responsibility on the industry and the people who work within it. It helps fundraising become more of a career and professional service, and less like a hobby.”

Mike House, MBA, CFRE
President, AFP Alberta, Edmonton Chapter
President & CEO, Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation


“It is true that communities around the world celebrate National Philanthropy Day but until now, no country has officially recognized the importance of what the celebration represents. The approval of Bill S-201, an official and permanent proclamation, means that Canada is the first nation to recognize it in this way.

Our chapter has celebrated National Philanthropy Day since our inception; but our event this year, in which we will recognize philanthropists from across our communities, will be especially significant and meaningful. We look forward to advancing philanthropy in our community and nationally; the official proclamation will enhance our ability to do that.”

Julie Wirtanen, CFRE
President, AFP Golden Horseshoe Chapter


“Our chapter is thrilled with the government’s decision on Bill S-201. We think they are setting Canada up as an example to other nations regarding the importance of philanthropy in the development of a caring and just society. I recall Paul Martin telling us at an AFP Conference (way back when he was finance minister) that government cannot do it all—and they count on us and our special status with the public and our communities to support those who need a hand up. This decision, which I know Senator Mercer has been working on for years, is an indication of the government’s plans around charities and NGOs.

Recently the media has reported on Diane Findlay's comments about public, not-for-profit and private partnerships built around philanthropy and delivery of service: government setting the standard, corporations providing the funding and not for profits delivering the service. So perhaps this is a continuum in their thoughts around a "new normal" for philanthropy. I'm not commenting on the “do-ability" of this, but it is further expanding what we do, and how we do it.  

We are delighted that there will be those outside of the world of philanthropy who take time to pause and think about the not-for-profit world and its value to the communities because of the passing of Bill S-201.

Heather Smith, CFRE
President, AFP ON, South Eastern Chapter
Manager, Fund Development, YMCA of Central East Ontario

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