Taking Action and Promoting Social Democracy


Dear friends,

I sincerely hope that you have had a good year. The staff and Board of Directors of the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation for Social Democracy send their best regards to you and your loved ones. This letter includes our 2023 Year-End Report: Taking Action and Promoting Social Democracy. We’re very proud of the work we’ve done – please take a moment to read about what we’ve accomplished with your support. 

First, we must acknowledge the chaos that sadly surrounds us today. We are witnessing conflicts, war, famine, natural disasters, and horrific tragedies all around the world, and we are asking world leaders to work for peace and security for all. As well, neither can we shy away from the problems our country is facing and the major challenges we have here at home. 

The persistent colonial injustice against Indigenous people, the recent rise of racism, and hatred toward 2SLGBTQ+ people, the disastrous effects of climate change, labour injustices, growing income inequality, our seniors being mistreated and dismissed, children living in poverty, people living without adequate shelter and housing, and, the crisis facing our universal healthcare system and social safety net which have been consistently undermined.

Despite all this pain and hardship around us, you and I can never forget: these problems can be fixed by taking collective action.

“Courage, my friends; ‘tis not too late to make a better world.” Tommy Douglas chose to highlight the word “Courage,” because he knew deep in his heart that we needed to be courageous first, in our efforts to make the world better for everyone.

But in the face of opposition, these words of warning from Tommy Douglas ring true today as much as they did in 1952; "We must never underestimate our opponents; nor should we forget that the closer we come to reaching our objectives, the more vicious and forthright will their opposition become." Tommy knew there are forces at work to stir up fear, cynicism, apathy, and selfishness. And yet, we’ve always fought back courageously!

We believe in the power of community and collective action to fight back – that political choices made by governments can solve many of the problems we see in our communities today. And we know that if we educate enough people about their democratic choices, united in our voices, we can indeed make a better world.

Friend, this year I’m very pleased to provide you with our 2023 year-end report. I am proud to say we are fulfilling Tommy’s vision by taking action and educating people across Canada about social democracy and promoting its benefits in our lives and communities.

Thanks to the the generous support of people like you, this year we have been able to build a solid and stable annual program in the promotion of Social Democracy;

  • Established seven annual public events in six major cities across Canada
  • Developed two major research projects on issues related to healthcare and the economy
  • Produced online Community Leadership Training modules available to everyone 
  • Curated a monthly podcast on Social Democracy in Action
  • Published new books and reports to reinforce our ideas and their success
  • Founded the Women’s Leadership Showcase to inspire a new generation
  • Provided Scholarships and Awards to dozens of students and activists

Thanks to our good friends at the Saskatchewan NDP, we have included a beautiful limited edition poster of a Tommy Douglas painting titled “Courage my Friends” by artist Richard Widdifield. On the flip-side of the poster you’ll find a complete report of our incredible work over the course of the past year. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s inspiring to see the amount of quality content we’ve produced with the very modest resources we have.

Friend, although we’ve been successful thus far in the restoration of Tommy’s charity, there is so much more work to be done to ensure its survival. 

The reality is that special interest groups have spent billions of dollars to infiltrate places, institutions, and mediums of learning – reinforcing a narrative in people that is contrary to the values that you and I share. If we want to win in the future, we must become even more active in these spaces, to counter corporate and conservative influence.

Through our new five-part Lecture Series at Universities across Canada bringing thousands of people together, our research projects, special events, leadership training, podcasts and publications, grants and scholarships, we are able to break through into these important spaces to share our knowledge. And most importantly, have a direct impact on the development of ideas and values while people are learning and forming their opinions.

Of interest, this year our research focused on the healthcare crisis facing our seniors and aging population to shine a light on the institutional, demographic, and economic challenges facing our country. The shocking findings of our research uncovered not only the problems of today, but also solutions to avoid a humanitarian tragedy in the future. I strongly encourage you to read our report: “Are we Prepared to Care?” It’s available here: www.DouglasColdwellLayton.ca/Research

But the scope of our work doesn’t stop there - we are determined to educate and inspire folks nationwide about the benefits of social democracy in their lives, and let them know that “better” is possible within our democratic system.

I’m humbly writing to you, to ask for your financial support of this work with a donation. Unlike other charities fundraising at this time of year, we do not take government money. We rely on the generous donations from numerous individuals like you so that we can remain within the guidelines of Tommy’s vision of a charity free from the influence of a single major funder.

Please add Tommy’s charity to your list of organizations to help this Year-End in support of our shared values and dream of a better world for everyone.

As the Executive Director and a careful steward of our resources, it is vital that I have our finances in order before the end of the year to develop our budget for 2024 - we do not spend what we do not have. A stable cashflow and budget is paramount to our continued success.

Friend, I’m asking you to consider making a charitable contribution of $75, $150, $250 or $500, or more before the end of the year. In fact, any amount you are comfortable with donating as part of this collective action will help guide our work in 2024.

Over the past two years we have demonstrated that we can deliver results, make an impact on the educational landscape in Canada, promote social democracy and values that we share, and manage Tommy’s charity with care, diligence, hard work, and respect – and together we can courageously make the world better!

Please click here to make your donation today!

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for your support of our work. On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors, thank you. We are looking forward to another incredible year in 2024, and with your generosity we will achieve our goals.

And please, “Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done!”

All the best to you and yours this holiday season.

With love,

Josh Bizjak
Executive Director


P.S. This is the only charity in Canada with a CRA mandate to educate people about Social Democracy - it must be cherished. Every donation we receive is eligible for generous charitable Tax Credits. Please add us to your list of charities to support this year-end. 

Registered Charity: #118887561RR0001

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As promised we’ve got lots of news to share with you this month. The Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation had a banner year in 2023. We produced more special events, original content, research projects, and educational materials than ever before!

This year we’re building from that success. You’ll see us in more places with more exciting programs for you to participate in throughout the year. All of this growth is thanks to our supporters like you.

We hope you enjoy our update this month.

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The David Lewis Lecture
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