Collective Impact: Nice Buzz Words or a Transformative Shift in How Funders Do Business?

(Click here to view the agenda as a PDF.)

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Optional Kayaking on Humber River: 2.00 pm (meet in lobby of Old Mill Hotel)
Optional Dinner – Azarias Restaurant : 6.30 pm (gather in lobby at 6.00 to walk to the restaurant)

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Time: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm (Light breakfast at 8.30 am)
Location: Humber Room, Old Mill Hotel, 21 Old Mill Road, Toronto, M8X 1G5


Theme for 2015
This year’s water funders’ gathering will bring together freshwater funders from across the country to learn more about each other’s work and identify opportunities and actions for deepening our ‘collective’ impact. Through this fun and engaging event, we will be asking some thought-provoking and important questions about the role of philanthropy in freshwater protection:

  • Are informal networks, and conversations at annual meetings, translating into meaningful collaborations with real-world impact?
  • Are there opportunities for funders to become better organized?
  • Are we tracking the right information to know if we are making a difference?
  • What are the implications of taking a collective impact approach? What changes might funders need to institute to effectively catalyze, support and engage in collective impact initiatives?

Freshwater Leaders
In the spirit of collective impact, we will also be joined by a number of freshwater leaders who are grappling with moving forward collective approaches in their regions and across the country. These resource guests include:

  • Lindsay Telfer, Director, Canadian Freshwater Alliance (project of Tides Canada Initiatives)
  • Tony Maas, Principal, Maas Strategies
  • Kirsten Earl McCorrister, Programs Director, Lake Winnipeg Foundation
  • April Weppler, Program Innovator, Freshwater Future Canada

A Unique Experience: The Water Shed
We are very grateful to The Darkhorse Fund at Tides Canada and Porte Parole for bringing ‘The Water Shed’ to the CEGN Water Funders’ Gathering. This is a sneak preview for water funders of a live art installation that will be featured during the upcoming Pan Am Games in Toronto. The Water Shed curates a personal conversation with water. Voluntary participants will enter the Shed individually, where they are immersed in a tranquil environment, as though stepping inside a drop of water. Here, they will have a unique conversation with the voice of water. We encourage all participants to give it a try!!!

Goals for the Meeting

By the end of the gathering, funders will have:

  1. Strengthened inter-personal relationships and learned about each others funding priorities and programs
  2. Identified opportunities to collaborate or explore joint strategies with other water funders that share common interests.
  3. An awareness of CEGN’s National Water Funders Group strategic plan and 2015 workplan.
  4. Identified regional or national funder collaboratives/initiatives that they can participate in or learn from.
  5. A greater understanding of emerging collective impact initiatives and opportunities and the implications of taking a collect impact approach for freshwater philanthropy and their own funding organizations.


 8.30–9.00 – Light breakfast

 9.00 – 9.30 – Quick Roundtable Introductions

 9.30 – 10.30 – Water Funders’ World Café: Get to Know Your Fellow Funders

 10.30 – 11.00 – Break


 11.00 – 11.30 – CEGN’s Strategic Plan & 2015 Priorities

11.30 – 12.00 – Collective Impact in Context – What Does Collective Impact Mean for Freshwater Funders?

12.00 –1.00 – Lunch


 1.00 – 2.00 – Funder & Experts Panel: Emerging Opportunities for Collective Impact

  • Keeping Lake Erie Alive & the Potential for Great Lakes Binational Coordination
  • Moving Towards Watershed Governance: the BC Water Funders Collaborative
  • Our Living Waters: Connecting Across Canada on a Common Agenda

2.00 – 2.30 – Plenary Discussion

 2.30 – 2.45 – Break

 BREAKOUTS (organized by region/issue)

 2.45 – 3.30 – Breakout Tables

  • Saving Lake Winnipeg: Opportunities and Challenges for Collective Impact
    Table Lead: Kirsten Earl McCorrister (Lake Winnipeg Foundation)
  • Engaging Boards in the Value of Funder Collaboration: Insights from a BC Water Funder
    Table Lead: Kelly Lerigny (Board Chair, Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia)
  • Aquahacking: Forming Innovative Partnerships to Achieve Impact
    Table Lead: Dominique Monchamp (de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation)
  • Creating a Shared Measurement Platform for Funders & NGOs
    Table Lead: Tim Morris (Morris Consulting)

 3.30 – 4.00 – Breakout Report Back


 4.00 – 4.30  – Confirm Action Items and Wrap Up