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Social Science Philanthropy & Charity

From Charity to Change

Inside the World of Canadian Foundations

by (author) Hilary M. Pearson

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2022
Philanthropy & Charity, Nonprofit Organizations & Charities
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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The world of philanthropy and private foundations remains mysterious to most Canadians. Memorably likened to giraffes, foundations are creatures that should not exist, but they do, surrounded by a certain mystique.
In From Charity to Change Hilary Pearson demystifies the world of Canadian philanthropy, offering a portrait of today’s foundation landscape and highlighting organizations that are acting with purpose on some of the most pressing social and economic challenges of our time: climate change, the future of cities, education and the evolving workforce, housing, and the urgent need to repair and build new relationships with Indigenous Peoples. Pearson, who for two decades worked with leaders of foundations across Canada, provides an insider’s perspective on the ways these organizations continue to evolve. Through personal interviews with private funders – large and small, long established and newly formed – Pearson describes their strategies and the varied roles they play, whether as convenors, advocates, brokers, or partners.
A timely contribution to the current debate on the legitimacy of organized philanthropy in an era of increasing social division and inequality, From Charity to Change makes a compelling case for the valuable role private philanthropy plays in addressing the challenges of our rapidly changing times.

About the author

Hilary M. Pearson is the former president of Philanthropic Foundations Canada, a national network for Canada’s private and public foundations.

Hilary M. Pearson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Finally, a definitive account of Canadian foundation philanthropy! At once a comprehensive overview, a guide, and a collection of powerful case studies, this is an exceptionally deeply researched and well-written book from someone with a unique perspective. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the role of institutional philanthropy in Canadian society and for anyone who wants to learn from the best about how to make a difference with their giving.” Phil Buchanan, author of Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count

“Philanthropy globally stands at a crossroad: an expression of paternal charity or a change agent in complex times . Hilary Pearson shows how philanthropy has evolved in Canada. An analysis with learnings for many other countries.” Michael Alberg-Seberich, author and managing director of Wider Sense, Berlin

“Hilary Pearson, a thoughtful observer for two decades, offers an informed and balanced view of both the shortcomings and the possibilities of the role played by Canadian foundations in this timely book.” Tim Brodhead, Reflections on Philanthropy and Society