NGO reps and Gary Slaight (fourth from right) at the funding announcement. Photo courtesy The Slaight Family Foundation.

Major grant reminds charities they’re better together

Foundation gives millions of dollars to promote collaboration among non-profits

TORONTO, ON—The Slaight Family Foundation is promoting more collaboration between charities with a multi-million dollar donation.

The foundation recently made a $7 million donation to seven different Canadian non-profit organizations including World Vision, War Child, Partners in Health, Human Rights Watch, Stephen Lewis Foundation, Right to Play and Free the Children. Each organization received $1 million for priority initiatives in the countries where they work.

“The work these seven NGOs are doing is critically important. When we were selecting different organizations to partner with, it really came down to the versatility of these projects and the need for change in these regions,” says Gary Slaight, president and CEO of Slaight Family Foundation, in a release. “We hope these gifts will benefit many people for years to come, and that we inspire others to support humanitarianism efforts on a global scale.”

“We are honoured with the generosity from the Slaight Family Foundation, these truly are gifts for the world,” says Michael Messenger, executive vice-president and COO of World Vision Canada.

Part of the process included bringing all seven organizations together to get to know one another, share their initiatives and spark some discussion. The hope is the gesture will foster a greater awareness of one another’s work and stimulate some cooperation among the organizations.

“It is never mandated that the funds be used in cooperation,” says Terry Smith, philanthropic advisor to The Slaight Family Foundation. “But the process does help stimulate an opportunity for the recipients to learn about one another’s work and spark the introduction of shared ideas and goals.”

In many instances, the Slaight family, who sold their multi-media company, Standard Broadcasting, for more than $1 billion in 2007, has had long-standing relationships with the organizations and says bringing the groups together may be beneficial.

However, cooperation and collaboration are never guaranteed through this process.

“The mandates of organizations may not mesh well, they could have a different focus, or their operating philosophies may be a little different,” Smith says.

This is the second time The Slaight Family Foundation has brought like-minded groups together, previously granting a $50 million donation to five Toronto hospitals for innovative advances in health care.

The foundation’s unique approach has resulted in other donors’ following its lead in bringing similar organizations together to help address major issues affecting society.

Established in 2008, The Slaight Family Foundation supports projects related to health care, social service initiatives, the arts, at-risk youth, as well as providing aid to disadvantaged countries.

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