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CFC Rookie Retreat



In August 2019, I had the privilege of being a guest of Community Foundations of Canada at their annual Rookie Retreat, held on the beautiful Wasan Island in Muskoka Lakes. The four-day retreat allowed me to connect and network with other community foundation rookies from across Canada, and to learn more about the foundation movement, both nationally and internationally. I learned about the incredible work being done by community foundations on the Sustainable Development Goals, which is comprised of 17 goals to transform our world.  The SDG’s are an outline to achieve a better, and more sustainable future for all. They also link our local work with global impacts.

Gender Equality was another topic of discussion and they highlighted the new Equality Fund, which is an innovative Canadian initiative that will mobilize funds towards gender equality. One video that we watched that had a big impact on me was a TED Talk by Taiye Selasi, called “Don’t ask where I’m from, ask where I’m a local.” In this talk, she questions; "How can I come from a country?" and "How can a human being come from a concept?" Selasi speaks on behalf of "multi-local" people, who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two, which was eye-opening for me.

We also had the opportunity to hear from Paul Nazareth, from the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, and his talk on “What’s Next for Community Philanthropy,” and the “Philanthropic Landscape and its Intersection with Community Foundations.”

I learned so much in just a few days at the retreat, as each presentation and activity allowed me to dig deeper and gain a new perspective on what community foundations are, and why they are so important to our communities. The topics broadened my awareness to community issues I hadn’t even considered, and solutions I had never contemplated before. I am excited to bring back what I have learned and apply it to my work at the foundation, and in my community. I feel honoured to be apart of such an amazing organization, and such a powerful movement.

In our spare time during the retreat we were able to enjoy the stunning island and delightful waters through hiking, kayaking, swimming and bonfires. I left Wasan with many resources - including an incredibly impactful list of readings, a new perspective on philanthropy, many new connections & friends, and memories I’ll never forget. Thank you to Community Foundations of Canada for this incredible opportunity!

Sarah Haefling, Community Outreach Officer, Community Foundation Grey Bruce

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