Philanthropy leaders from across Canada and around the world gather to make our communities more welcoming and inclusive

(OTTAWA, ON)  – Building communities where everyone belongs. That’s the focus for more than 700 community builders and philanthropic leaders from across Canada and around the world who will come together in Ottawa-Gatineau this week to explore how to create communities that are more welcoming and inclusive.

The Belong 2017 Community Foundations Conference, taking place from May 11 to 13, will be a forum for learning and inspiration as leaders from 106 Canadian communities and 32 countries gather to share their knowledge, expertise and experiences with one another. The three-day international gathering is happening at a time when community foundations are being challenged to tackle community priorities, both local and global, on an unprecedented scale.

“Our communities, and community foundations worldwide, are finding themselves at a crossroads. The way we connect, do business and empower each other is changing rapidly,” says Andrew Chunilall, CEO with Community Foundations of Canada. “If we are going to continue to inspire the development of communities where we all belong, then we must demonstrate that philanthropy is about courage, leadership and working together in common purpose.”

The conference lineup features prominent speakers discussing the themes of belonging, inclusion and Reconciliation and will kick off on Thursday with His Excellency the Right Honorable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

The conference also features a number of exhibitions to explore the themes of belonging and Reconciliation. An interactive exhibit shares the story of the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees by using the virtual reality film Clouds Over Sidra about a 12-year-old girl living in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. A large-scale art installation called the “Witness Blanket”, created by artist and master Kwagiulth carver Carey Newman, will be also on display to recognize the atrocities of the Indian Residential School era.

One unique experience called Connected by Canoe will give 70 conference attendees and other paddlers the chance to participate in a journey of respect, reciprocity, and Reconciliation by travelling from Dow’s Lake to the Rideau Locks in several Indigenous heritage canoes. The journey is a sesquicentennial project of The Canadian Canoe Museum and Community Foundations of Canada in partnership with the Ottawa Community Foundation, Parks Canada, and other community organizations along the Rideau Waterway.

“It’s wonderful to welcome people to Ottawa-Gatineau during 2017, Canada’s 150th and 25th anniversary of Community Foundations of Canada,” says Conference Lead Erin Kasungu. “The international event will give participants an opportunity to think about the future of our communities and how we can enhance our collective impact around global challenges that require local level responses.”

Belong 2017 is being supported by a range of partners, including Mawer Investment Management Ltd., the lead conference sponsor. Other key conference partners include: 4Rs Youth Movement, Alliance 150, Calgary Foundation, CBC/Radio-Canada, The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, Facebook, Foundation of Greater Montreal, GrantBook, Jarislowsky Fraser Partners Foundation, Manulife, Manulife Asset Management, MFS Investment Management, Miller Thomson LLP, PwC, The Stanford Social Innovation Review, Suncor Energy Foundation, Unifor, The Walrus, and Victoria Foundation.

About Community Foundations of Canada

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations. Together we are a philanthropic movement working across sectors to help Canadians invest in building strong and vibrant communities.

Media Contact:

Media interested in attending parts of the 2017 Community Foundations Conference should contact the Director of Communications in advance of the event and check in on-site at the media and registration desk on located on the 4th floor of The Westin Ottawa Hotel.

David Venn

Director of Communications
Community Foundations of Canada
Phone: (613) 266-6917
Twitter: @CommFdnsCanada

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