Juanita Lee-Garcia: Shaping the Future of Philanthropy in Canada

portrait of Juanita Lee-Garcia
Juanita Lee-Garcia is the executive director of the Upside Foundation and a pivotal figure in Canadian philanthropy. Juanita shares her insights into the evolving landscape of philanthropy in Canada, discussing the challenges and transformations she envisions for the sector over the next decade. From her early experiences as a beneficiary of philanthropic efforts to her influential role in shaping venture philanthropy, Juanita provides a deep dive into how philanthropy is intertwined with systemic change, the ideological shifts within the sector, and the innovative approaches to philanthropic engagement. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in understanding the complexities and potential of philanthropy to effect significant social change.

5 Philanthropic Takeaways:

  1. Redefining Philanthropy: Juanita emphasizes a shifting definition of philanthropy that focuses on systemic change and moving beyond just financial contributions to include strategic and sustainable approaches.
  2. Ideological Shifts: Discussions about the ideological future of philanthropy reveal a potential move towards questioning the very foundations of wealth accumulation and its role in philanthropy.
  3. Practical Approaches: Venture philanthropy is highlighted as a growing trend, where strategic investments are used to foster long-term social impacts.
  4. Challenges and Concerns: Juanita touches on the ways philanthropy could potentially harm society, such as by reinforcing power imbalances and commodifying personal stories for fundraising.
  5. Future Directions: Juanita discusses the importance of newer generations in reshaping philanthropy, focusing on non-traditional funding models and impact measurement.

Show Notes

[00:00:46] Juanita’s reflections on the origin of the Venture for Canada podcast. 

[00:01:37] Discussion on the evolving definitions and ideologies of philanthropy. 

[00:05:34] Insights into practical and ideological futures of philanthropy in Canada. 

[00:09:52] Juanita’s personal journey into the philanthropic sector. 

[00:12:18] The potential negative impacts of philanthropy on Canadian society. 

[00:16:34] Positive trends and innovative approaches in the philanthropic sector. 

[00:20:23] The concept of trust-based philanthropy.

[00:23:12] Traditional vs. trust-based philanthropy and the default systemic challenges.

[00:27:42] Discussion on reducing administrative burdens in charities.

[00:31:23] The complexity of multiple legal structures within the philanthropic and charitable sectors.

[00:37:08] The potential impact of Gen Z and millennial philanthropists on the sector.