Youth perspectives on the Philanthropy Forum

Two students were selected for scholarships to attend this year’s Philanthropy Forum. Here are their thoughts and insights from the day!

From Shannon, Trent University: 

When I wake up in the morning, I get out of bed for one primary reason: I like to learn.  I like knowledge for knowledge’s sake. And, I love knowledge that can be put into action for the benefit of the community.

At the Philanthropy Forum, I attended an array of workshops, met many highly involved non-profit community members, had thoughtful conversations about the changing world of philanthropy and charity, but most of all, I learned.  You couldn’t take two steps without walking into someone with a great idea, a new perspective, or a valuable lesson from their time spent in the non-profit community.

Philanthropy and charity aren’t always about money; I felt so much generosity of spirit and a deep undercurrent of hope throughout the day.

I learned something unique from each speaker and workshop facilitator I encountered. Dave Meslin, from my hometown of Toronto, talked about the multitude of ways civic engagement is necessary and can be fun, effective, and redefined by community effort.  Alasdair Hooper spoke about stewardship, and the paramount importance of a thank you to donors big and small.  Bryan Tenenhouse spoke with expertise about branding and representation, and how to best market the charitable spirit.  Casey Ready spoke extensively about differentiating between charity and social justice and identified a need for greater amounts of advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups.  Terri Catlin led a ridiculously fun improv workshop, where I got to say hi to the “president” and learned the value of living in the moment to best handle life’s unexpected surprises.

I’m graduating this year and hopefully jump-starting a career in the non-profit sector.  I look forward to utilizing everything I learned at the Philanthropy Forum from branding, to stewardship, to affective civic engagement, but most importantly, kindness. Thank you to CFGP, and everyone who attended the Forum!

From Jordyn, St. Peter’s Secondary School:

The Philanthropy Forum was an amazing experience that I was really grateful to take part in. It was inspiring to be in a room full of people who make their livings by making the world a better place. It was such a learning experience and I really hope to implement the strategies and outlooks I heard at the Forum in my own life and the organizations I am a part of now, and those I will be a part of in the future.

Dave Meslin, the keynote speaker, really inspired me with his talk of public space, in that it’s our space so we should take care of it as a community. From the workshops, I learned about the importance of giving meaningful thanks to those who support our organizations, how to help make campaigns work, and how important charities and social justice organizations really are. I was able to talk and connect with many people who gave me great advice for my future and for the fundraising I need to do for an upcoming awareness trip. The Forum also opened up a lot of opportunities for me to continue my development as a concerned youth.

I don’t know who the donor was that allowed me and another student to attend the Forum, but I’d like to thank them and everyone who made the Forum an enjoyable experience.