Special Edition - WE Charity Scandal
The last several weeks in Canada's charitable news has focused on WE Charity and its relationship with the Liberal Party of Canada and more specifically the connections with Prime Minister Trudeau and his family, Finance Minister Morneau and his family and the $900Million Student Service Grant that was sole-sourced to WE.

This issue of the Karma & Cents newsletter dives into the issues that surround this scandal and what transparency and due diligence looks like from both a private philanthropists perspective and a government funder.

The unfortunate fall-out from WE is that it paints the charitable sector negatively overall. There are approximately 90,000 charities and if you include non-profits (organizations that do not issue tax receipts) there are in excess of 170,000 in Canada. Because of the size and scale of the WE Charity scandal the ripple effect will be felt by the whole charitable sector. The key thing to note here, is that there are multiple players in this sector - donors, government, corporations and non-profits/charities all make up the charitable sector. We have to work hard at not laying the blame at the feet of the organizations who have been mandated to solve complex social problems. If anything, this scandal highlights how broken the charitable sector policies and systems are and creates an impetuous to change things from all sides - donors, charities and government.
Monkey See, Monkey Do... Canada's Charitable Sector is Broken
Analysis of the WE Charity Scandal
If the recent example of the funding relationship, and subsequent cancellation of the funding contract between WE Charity and the Canadian Federal government has showcased anything; it laid bare what most philanthropists and charity directors have known for decades – the Canadian charitable system is broken. This broken system highlights three distinct problems charities face in managing donor relations: 
  • The charitable accountability system is inconsistent between organizations and funders; 
  • There was a lack of due diligence and vetting on WE and potentially other organizations that have entered into government partnerships; and
  • An inconsistent standard of leadership.
60-ish Seconds of Philanthropy
What Can we Learn from the WE Movement/Trudeau Scandal?
The WE Charity-Trudeau scandal may just be the canary in the coalmine for future breakdowns occurring within Canada's charitable sector. Can we use this event as an opportunity for improvement?

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Other WE Charity News
Canadaland is the first in-depth public reporting on the WE Charity

CANADALAND is a news site and podcast network funded by its audience. Its primary focus is on Canadian media, news, current affairs, and politics. Their podcasts get over 100,000 downloads per week. 
Blumbergs is a charity law firm based in Toronto, ON with commentary on the WE Movement and legal entities.
Mark Blumberg has published a set of insights on the WE Charity, it's corporate structure and what is at stake for Canada's charitable sector and recommendations to the House of Commons Finance Committee.
Karma & Cents Brief to the House of Commons Finance Committee submitted on July 29, 2020
On July 29, 2020 Karma & Cents submitted a Brief to the House of Commons Finance Committee - Government Spending, WE Charity & The Canada Student Service Grant outlining where we see the breakdowns happening vis a vis the WE Charity-Federal Government partnership and ten recommendations to be considered by the Finance Committee to improve the way that money flows, relationships and transparency is reported and the charitable sector is governed.
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Building off of almost a combined 50 years of experience in the Non-Profit, Tech and Finance sectors, Karma & Cents provides families, individuals and businesses with support around legacy planning, transition management, impact investing and philanthropy.

To learn more about how we operate, please visit our website - Karma & Cents