Interview with Justin Wiebe, Board Member at PFC
-Name, foundation & title
Justin Wiebe, Mastercard Foundation, Program Partner
– Number of Years working in Philanthropy
– A quote that defines your work philosophy?
“If we can raise a generation of First Nations kids who never have to recover from their childhoods, and a generation of non-Indigenous children who never have to say they’re sorry, then I think we have made a major step in co-creating a society that our ancestors always dreamed of, and that our great-great-great-grandchildren would be proud of.” – Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
– What brought you to work in Canadian philanthropy?
Honestly? Luck. I really didn’t know what philanthropy was, its scale, and how it functioned before I stumbled into a job with the Youth Opportunities Fund at the Ontario Trillium Foundation. I have a background in education, community development, and urban planning. Through that work and my own lived experience, I became increasingly interested in systems change. The challenges facing Indigenous communities, Black folks, and people of colour were complex and systemic. The systems weren’t designed to meet our needs, and instead were failing us and causing harm. I knew that communities had solutions and that they often just needed the resources to help bring those ideas to life. Philanthropy became a means for me to support communities in building and sustaining solutions that eradicate inequities, pursue justice, and build community prosperity.
– As a new Board member, share something that our PFC members should know about you.
I am a proud Métis from the prairies, a below-average bannock maker, and I also sit on The Circle on Philanthropy’s Governing Circle.
– Separate from COVID-19, what are some of the most important emerging shifts in philanthropic practice that you are seeing in the field?
1. Committing to equity, justice, and decolonization, shifting power to the community, and democratizing our philanthropic practice.
2. Funding social movements, justice-oriented work, and systems change.
3. Deepening and broadening the commitment to our missions through impact investing, increasing annual disbursements, social procurement, and advocacy.
– What will you contribute to enhance PFC’s breadth of work and sector leadership?
I am eager to contribute a deep commitment to sharing, learning, and unlearning. I believe our experiences and the experiences of folks we are in a relationship with are critical to expanding our understanding of what’s going on around us and the potential for transformation. I will bring an understanding of the origins and ongoing impacts of western philanthropy and wealth in Canada, and a vision for a new type of philanthropy grounded in relationship, respect, and reciprocity. I believe in the potential of philanthropy to support systems change and help build a future where more people can truly flourish and prosper as their full selves. It, of course, is not our place to do this alone. We must be guided by the communities most impacted by inequity, by people who are the experts in their own experience and have a vision for something different. Oh, and I’ll also probably contribute a few jokes and that stubborn hardworking prairie attitude.