Rural Philanthropy in Canada: 21st Century Strategies Bloom in Canada’s Hinterland

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In many ways, “rural philanthropy” is nothing more than a short-hand phrase for describing core social norms and conventions that have long characterized small and sometimes isolated communities across Canada, writes John Lorinc in The Philanthropist. Service clubs, church groups, and individuals have, for generations, found ways to get together to help one another, especially neighbours who have fallen on hard times. 
Though such habits are deeply ingrained, there is mounting evidence that the philanthropic landscape in rural Canada is shifting, in both positive and worrisome ways. In some places, population loss, declining membership in traditional service organizations, and changes in the way people give have eroded charitable activity, often precisely at the moment when need is rising due to government funding cuts and the aging of rural and remote communities. Stereotypes about rural Canada – that small communities are old, white, and dying – haven’t helped matters. 
The stories in Lorinc’s piece offer compelling anecdotal evidence indicating the innovation taking place in the world of rural philanthropy across Canada. “The conversation about urban/rural has been one-directional,” observes Ryan Gibson, the Libro Professor of Regional Economic Development at the University of Guelph.The emerging classically grassroots strategies for forging connections between traditional philanthropy and commercial or quasi-commercial activity are, as Gibson says, “an opportunity to change the dialogue.” Read more:

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