In our 50th year we’ve surpassed nearly every growth statistic that we can measure. I’m going to provide you with those details a little later because I want to first highlight some of the important work we have done and are doing to educate Canadians about social democracy this year.
Just in the last few months alone we’ve launched a number of initiatives that I’m sure would make Tommy Douglas proud - exactly what he wanted us to do with his charity.
Let’s start with the Alexa McDonough Women’s Leadership Centre.
This summer we officially launched the Alexa McDonough Women’s Leadership Centre with a reception at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax alongside the McDonough family. The event was well attended by friends, family, sponsors, and supporters. We even had the entire Nova Scotia NDP caucus and staff attend to celebrate this important initiative.
The Centre will include: new research and reports by women and focused on women‘s issues; provide biographies and stories of past and current women leaders who have moved our country forward in politics, labour, and activism; and an archive of photos, videos, and publications made available for public consumption and use. New leadership training events and opportunities will also be available to women through this new Centre. The Gates are indeed open!
All of this good work will be housed on our beautiful new website. This new interactive website is the home for all of your social democracy history, projects, and events.
Which brings me to this next update. We have officially updated our name to the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation. With Jack’s legacy we are able to reach out and inspire a whole new generation of people who are interested in learning about social democracy.
The Layton Legacy includes a number of initiatives and awards including: The Activism Award, Indigenous Leadership Award, and the the newly created Jack Layton Prize for a Better Canada at McGill University - just this spring dozens of students participated by writing essays on the topic of fixing our national housing crisis. This brings our total number of scholarships and awards to ten with room to grow.
In keeping with our tradition of producing publications, this past spring we helped publish a wonderful children's book titled; A Boy Named Tommy, by renowned author Beryl Young.
The beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a young Tommy Douglas and the leg injury he suffered that eventually inspired his work to bring universal healthcare to Canada.
Lastly, this past year we launched our very first peer reviewed research project on the topic of Mental Health and Wellness in the Workplace. As you know, Canada is facing a mental health crisis which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our study takes a deep dive in many of the driving forces of this phenomenon and found that many of the mental health challenges workers are facing are in fact directly related to their employment. And, that employers and managers can make considerable changes to improve the mental health of their employees.
As a compliment to this report our first leadership training session on Mental Health took place on October 29th in collaboration with the Institute for Change Leaders - the first of many more to come.
Next year we are going to focus our research efforts on Improving Universal Health Care, Long Term Care, and Senior Care. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the huge problems and gaps that exist that need immediate attention and must be fixed. And sadly, we are hearing more and more from policymakers about privatization - we must let people know what’s at stake!
Here’s our big announcement: I’m very pleased to announce we are currently working with four universities across the country to establish a new nationwide lecture series focused on the relevancy of social democracy today! This new annual lecture series will feature special guest speakers and ensure that the foundation is always active on campuses and able to communicate directly with students while they are still establishing their opinions and values. A major step in the right direction! One of these lectures will bear the name of our recently passed friend Bill Blaikie.
So, how have we been able to get all of this good work done? It’s thanks to people like you.
This brings me to the really good news: thanks to the generous help of you and others, we’ve been able to bring Tommy Douglas’ beloved charity back to life and relevance.
Last year we saw an increase of 692% in online supporter sign ups. And, we were able to increase our charitable membership by 561%. And our revenue jumped by a massive 2,284%.
I’ve included all of these impressive growth statistics in a fold out poster that has been included in this mail package for your reference. Truly excellent news for the health of our charity!
As we conclude our 50th Anniversary, this year-end we are hoping to surpass our results of last year. Being a charity we rely solely on donations from you and persons like you who see the value in what Tommy Douglas and our founders envisioned - a home for social democracy and education.
I hope by the results we’ve demonstrated these past twelve months you’ve not only been impressed, but also confident in a decision to make a helpful difference with a donation this year.
Can you please make a special Year-End donation to our charity today? A gift of $75, $100, $250 or even $500 would go a long way in fulfilling our plans for next year. Simply click here to make your donation.
As a charity your donation is 100% eligible for very generous tax credits. And, with our new internal systems in place we’ll be getting our tax receipts out to our donors very early in the new year.
We know there are many charities competing for your financial support. But the truth is Tommy Douglas only founded this one, and he designed it to make our society better from the start.
Please consider making a special gift to the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation as part of your year-end giving plans. We would be very grateful for your support as we wrap up our 50th Anniversary year and plan for the future.
I look forward to hearing from you, and writing to you again next year with another inspiring report.
All the very best to you and yours.
Josh Bizjak, Executive Director
P.S. As a democratically run organization, if you would like to get more involved, please feel free to become a member and have your say at our next Annual General Meeting: www.douglascoldwelllayton.ca/membership