I am not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination. I have however, in the past shared some of my spiritual journey within the Jewish community in past blogs.  This post is one such missive.

This evening is Erev Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. This year, as in past years (though not every year) I attended, what I think is the most beautiful service in the Jewish liturgy - Kol Nidre. It is on this evening that, for those who believe, the gates of heaven open and our prayers rise to God for It to determine if we are worthy of another year on earth AND if that year will be a good one or a not so good one.

For those of you who have been following this blog over the years you will know that I have had the privilege of living and working all over North America and afforded opportunities to travel internationally.  With this global perspective comes the ability to compare and contrast communities and societies; something that is not lost on me.  As I watch what is unfolding around the world over the past few weeks and, perhaps even the past six months, I am confounded at how human nature and tribalism seems to bring out the extremes of the best and worst in people.

Guest Blogger: Cortney Steinwand is the Community Engagement Coordinator and Place2Give Foundation administrator.  A community development enthusiast, environmental /social justice seeker, wholehearted feminist + lifelong learner. She studied international and community development and is based in Calgary, AB.

What does it take to make a difference? From my experience, the charitable sector is filled with those of us who authentically desire to catalyze positive change in our communities and cities. But despite the purity of our intentions, do we truly know what actions and perspectives need to be fostered in order to evoke the lasting social change that we crave?

What makes a community?  Is it the collection of people? The services offered? The businesses operating there? The parks and facilities that make living in the locale enjoyable?

Guest blogger – Karine Aviv

A couple of Sundays ago, I took my two older girls (ages 8 and 11) to a community volunteering event (J-Serve), at our local Jewish Centre.  As a mother of 3, I believe that getting my kids involved in community events is important for a number of reasons.  As they grow and develop, being involved in a larger community teaches them about social responsibility.  As a parent, I want them to learn not to focus only on themselves but rather to learn that there is a whole world around them. I want my daughters to learn to be giving, considerate and compassionate towards others.  Volunteering is important for character building in children.  They learn to care for other people and learn that selfless actions feel good.

I sat down with Mr. Hotchkiss 3 years ago and interviewed him about his philanthropy.  I am re-posting the blog post here today in memory of an extraordinary man who was a committed member of Calgary's community as well as an integral part of Canada's fabric.

This past weekend was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Jews around the world were fasting and asking each other and God for forgiveness of their sins. 

As fabulous as SJM...but for different reasons

I recently read an opinion piece in a trendy, hipster (more than a little elitist) publication about how irresponsible it is to have children. The article made an excellent case for the ecological havoc that children wreak on the environment. Babies bring diapers, cribs, bottles and a whole slew of other crap when they come into this world.

In a recent blog post, Charity Navigator highlights the Top 10 Best Practises of Savvy Donors.  This post is directed at the American donor, but the basic premise can be applie

Installation celebrating childhood around the world to tell the same story and confirm a universal truth: We are all connected.  This connection is where true and believable healing begins.

Two Girls