PhiLab Network

The Canadian Philanthropy Partnership Research Network (PhiLab), is a Canadian research Network on philanthropy with a head offie in Montreal, on the campus of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM).

The project was originally thought-up in 2014, in the context of a granting proposal for a three-year SSHRC Partnership Development project entitled “Social Innovation, Societal Change, and Canadian Grantmaking Foundations”. After a first funding period from 2013-2017, the funding was continued under the name “Evaluation of the role and actions of Canadian grantmaking foundations in response to social inequalities and environmental challenges.

From the beginning, the Network is a space for partnership-oriented research, as well as knowledge sharing and mobilization on philanthropy and more specifically, Canadian foundations.

The Network is divided into several regional hubs across the country and works in tight collaboration with international research units. The Network brings together researchers, decision-makers and members of the philanthropic community from around the world in order to share information, resources, and ideas.


PhiLab’s Partnership-oriented research position

The Network conducts both field and theoretical research on themes, questions and issues related to the history and development of philanthropy in Canada, with comparisons made with foreign philanthropy.

From pragmatism, we retain the idea that the reflection on and production of knowledge cannot be disassociated from the action and that action relies on the mobilization of reflection capacities and existing knowledge. According to this perspective, the stage of society’s development requires a close connection between “thought and action”. This position requires an engaged and engaging conversation between field workers and the scientific community. The idea is to adopt an approach that is inclusive of all perspectives, opinions and interests, without trivializing or neglecting any.

We devised PhiLab as a place where the scientific mission is respected, as much in its fundamental, collaborative (with…) and applied dimensions. On PhiLab’s website, you will find contributions from:

  • researchers on issues of theoretical research;
  • actors of the philanthropic sector (memoirs, position pieces, interviews) on issues that move them;
  • and co-constructed contributions, thanks to a process of field research, collaborative research or partnership-oriented research.

PhiLab Network Objectives

  • Produce and disseminate new content on Canadian philanthropy and associated themes (national and international solidarity, volunteering, community engagement, social innovations, etc.)
  • Offer a space for the conduction and coordination of research
  • Foster the emergence of new directions for theoretical and applied research
  • Being a reference for sector actors in the sharing and dissemination of knowledge, practices and innovations in philanthropy
  • Organize scientific and knowledge transfer activities
  • Train new researchers.

In addition to the management of many research projects, welcoming post-doctoral interns and the education and training of students, PhiLab organizes many seminars and symposiums that allow for the sharing and dissemination of new knowledge. The Network also published a free yearly journal “The PhiLanthropic Year” that showcases the most recent work of its members and guest writers.


Research Axes

In 2018, PhiLab received funding under the project “Evaluation of the role and actions of Canadian grantmaking foundations in response to social inequalities and environmental challenges.

  1. What political role do grantmaking foundations play regarding the social and environmental transition?
  2. What impacts, influence and/or repercussions do grantmaking foundations have regarding social, economic and environmental issues?
  3. How can research contribute towards better understanding, highlighting and supporting the functioning of small and medium foundations?

PhiLab proposes a reflection on innovation happening within governments, democratic processes and philanthropic practices. The cases mostly cover social inequalities and the environmental transition in a partnership-oriented context.

Axis 1: Reflections on Philanthropic Theory

Axis 2 : Innovative philanthropic research methods

Axis 3 : Sectoral or regional portraits of philanthropy

Axis 4 : Philanthropy and Social Justice

Axis 5: Philanthropy and Environmental Justice

Find all PhiLab research projects underway here