Recipients of the 2021 Scientific and Philanthropic Engagement Award

15 March 2022

As we approach the end of this academic cycle, we are honoured to celebrate David Grant-Poitras and Brady Reid this year’s recipient of the 2021 Scientific and Philanthropic Engagement Award for Engagement! This award is given to students who showed incredible commitment and dedication to the Philab project by being involved in various research activities, publishing articles, and to their implication as coordinators.

We would also like to formally congratulate to Mandy Wu Fei on being a recipient of the 2021 Scientific and Philanthropic Engagement Award for Innovation! Her commitment and dedication to the PhiLab project have also been noticed through her numerous publications and her implication as hub coordinator. PhiLab is what it is today in part due to the action of those we celebrate today.

This award is in honor of Diane Alalouf-Hall’s performance and engagement during her university career, her research as well as her involvement and dedication to the implementation and development of the Canadian Philanthropy Partnership Research Network (PhiLab). As this year comes to an end, we can only hope that more students will show the same level of enthusiasm and motivation in advancing research in the philanthropic sector as you have throughout your time with us.

Winners of the Engagement Prize

David Grant-Poitras 

In his thesis, David focuses on the role of Quebec grantmaking foundations in the implementation of a socio-ecological transition of the economy. His research explores the potential of three fields of action in which a growing number of foundations are engaging to support more socially and environmentally sustainable and desirable forms of development: (1) supporting the emergence and dissemination of the commons, prioritizing more sustainable and democratic management of the resources on which communities depend; (2) using their endowments in ways that encourage the growth of socially responsible finance; and (3) influencing governments to develop public policies that address climate disruption while protecting communities from the social risks associated with ecological disruption. As an engaged researcher, David’s work is rooted in a partnership approach to co-construct knowledge that will be useful to philanthropic actors seeking to scale up their efforts in these new niches. 


Brady Reid

Brady Reid 

Nearing the end of my master’s degree, I was exploring decision-making and governance in rural Mi’kmaw communities in western Newfoundland, considering avenues and barriers toward sustainable development. As PhiLab Atlantic Hub got on its feet, I recognized the emergent potential of place-based philanthropy and growing body of research within resilient, sustainable rural communities. Typically partnership-based, my research interests decidedly align with partner (community or organization) priorities and this leads to more meaningful research and engagement that is mutually beneficial for all partners. Notably, I worked with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia to consider equitable ways to disperse funds across Atlantic Canada from a National community-focused COVID-19 relief fund. This work was mainly statistical but laid some foundation for additional inquiry in the future to draw out nuances of need in communities across various jurisdictions in Atlantic Canada. 


Winner of the Innovation Prize


Mandy Wu

Mandy Wu Fei

Research has shown that asylum seekers, compared to other immigrants, are at heightened risk of psychological distress because of their precarious legal status, financial and housing insecurity, and social isolation and discrimination. The experiences of asylum-seeking mothers are especially unique given that they have to navigate changing gender, parenting and often professional identities during resettlement. This mixed-methods study thus aims to understand the lived experiences of asylum-seeking mothers in Québec through their participation in a community-based psychosocial support program aimed to enhance their well-being. Specifically, this study will focus on understanding how asylum-seeking mothers re-establish their own agency during the resettlement process; and how attending a community-based support program shapes their self-efficacy, adaptive stress, and subjective well-being. This study will use questionnaires to measure 1) the correlation between agency and subjective well-being; 2) how participation in the program may correlate with increased self-efficacy and enhanced well-being, and finally, 3) how asylum seekers’ capacities to adapt to stressors in the domains of identity and existential meaning correspond with their level of agency and wellbeing. Interviews will be conducted to examine asylum-seeking mothers’ perceptions of their own agency and wellbeing during resettlement and how these perceptions may change after participation in the program. By exploring how community-based programs may promote asylum seekers’ mental health through the lens of self-efficacy and adaptive coping, this study will offer insight to the capacity of asylum-seeking mothers as agentic beings and will provide evidence to inform policies and development of interventions to improve well-being of this vulnerabalized population.