Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London, England.
Several days ago I learned about an extraordinary program called the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative. According to the website, each year thousands of secondary school students participate in the initiative, the signature program of the Toskan Casale Foundation. Since 2002 at Royal St. George’s College in Toronto, YPI has engaged hundreds of schools worldwide, across Canada, United States, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
It’s mission is to provide secondary school students with real, hands-on experience through a course which gives them the skills to assess the needs of their community and make grants to grassroots, community based charities that meet these needs. The course empowers young people to participate in the development of their communities, engaging them as dedicated problem solvers and volunteers. The initiative “promotes a sense of responsibility, respect and a commitment to building compassionate communities”.
During the past ten years YPI has granted over $6 million in funding across Canada alone, and continues to grant approximately $1 million each year on behalf of participating YPI students.
This smart minded, successful private sector largesse got me to thinking about…yes, Library and Archives Canada.
I can’t think of a better time or place for a rich family looking to unleash some love on the country, to step forward and save the organization. It would have to be a big gift, in the range of say $100 – 300 million. Lilly/Poetry Foundation territory. Such a gift would best have strings attached to it: strictly for the acquisition, and contextualized presentation to Canadians and the world of original source documents and materials.
Given the gaping holes that currently exist in these areas of responsibility and the absence of any decent physical exhibition spaces or public programming in Ottawa or across Canada, filling such needs would guarantee whomever decided to meet them, not only with the deep gratitude of most thinking Canadians, but also significant, tangible recognition – immortality you even might say – in the form of named buildings and collections, monuments even, for example – and the knowledge that this contribution will go far toward doing something for Canada that is incalculably important: rescuing its collective memory from oblivion.
Pretty good way to be remembered I’d say.
Here are some possible candidates courtesy of Forbes magazine:
David Thomson and family ranks 35th globally, with their fortune of $17.5-billion
Galen Weston and family, worth $7.6-billion
James and Arthur Irving. The East Coast oil and paper magnates are worth $5-billion
Paul Desmarais worth $4.3-billion
Jim Pattison worth $4.3-billion
Emanuele (Lino) Saputo worth $3.7-billion
Bernard (Barry) Sherman worth $3.7-billion
Clayton Riddell worth $3-billion
David Azrieli & family worth $2.9-billion
Lululemon’s Chip Wilson worth $2.9-billion
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte worth $2.6-billion
Robert Miller worth $2.5-billion
Charles Bronfman worth $2-billion
Carlo Fidani worth $2-billion
Daryl Katz worth $2-billion
Lawrence Stroll worth $1.8-billion
Pharmacy king Jean Coutu worth $1.6-billion
N. Murray Edwards worth $1.6-billion
Money manager Stephen Jarislowsky worth $1.6-billion
Goldhar Mitchell worth $1.5-billion
David Cheriton worth $1.3-billion
Ronald Southern worth $1.2-billion
Magna International’s Frank Stronach worth $1.2-billion
Asset manager Eric Sprott worth $1.1-billion
Gerald Schwartz worth $1-billion
Ted Rogers lll worth $5.94 billion
Jeffrey Skoll worth $3.75 billion
Fred and Ron Mannix worth $3.44 billion
Bernard Sherman worth $3.31 billion
James Armstrong Richardson and family worth $3.01 billion