This post was originally published on LinkedIn. It has been republished here with the author’s permission. See the original French language version here.
Guest post by Fabrice Vil, Executive Director of Pour 3 Points.
Just yesterday we announced the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s $150,000 donation to Pour 3 Points! This is a major donation, three times the size of any donation received by our young organization in the past. This is certainly cause for celebration, especially as the Foundation is known all across the country as a leader in social innovation. But our organization is just as grateful for the context in which this contribution was received. I have three observations in that regard.
A Transformational Relationship
The funding application that we sent to the McConnell Foundation in 2015 was the logical culmination of a longstanding transformational relationship that is as rich as the funds eventually received. Since our first meeting with the president of the foundation in 2012, we have obtained informal advice on our strategic approach (in 2013) and participated in a strategic planning process and informal exchange group put together by the Foundation (in 2014). Our relationship with this organization has always been one of common reflection upon best practices for social innovation, and it has always been about learning from one another, regardless of funding issues. In this regard, the McConnell Foundation’s financial support is only one aspect of a fulfilling collaborative relationship that, we hope, will last a long time. Furthermore, the funding will ensure that Pour 3 Points remains an organization well in tune with what it takes to bring about major change.
Accepting Social Innovation as a Risk
Pour 3 Points seeks to bring about concrete, significant social impact. With this objective in mind, we formed a partnership with the McGill Sport Psychology Research Laboratory to perform an independent assessment of our program. As of right now, the analysis of our initial results is still incomplete, and the jury is out as to what impact our organization has, beyond anecdotal evidence. Nevertheless, the McConnell Foundation believed in us, recognizing that it is not viable to invest in social innovation while demanding, at the same time, the proven fruits of said innovation. Innovation is inherently new, and untested.
Investing in Our Organizational Capacity
A number of donor agencies, whether individuals, corporations or foundations, demand that donations “go directly to the cause.” The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s donation is aimed at supporting the hiring of staff to handle our operations and financing, thus reinforcing our organizational capacity and our ability to manage our program and generate more revenue in the long term. These goals will ultimately have a much larger impact than funds given directly to our youth programs would have had.
In conclusion, I want to stress that we often say in the entrepreneurial sector, a company obtaining financing is a little bit like a cook buying ingredients for a meal: there is no guarantee that the meal will be tasty. Our entire team is immensely proud of this handsome donation. But, as always, our eyes are on the ball, and we spare no efforts to achieve the impact that we wish to have on our kids.
Cofounder and Executive Director
Pour 3 Points