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Generous Futures: Demanding Climate Justice

April 19, 2023
1:00 PM EDT - 2:00 PM EDT
Online via Zoom webinar
Laura Greflund, Alumni Relations Officer,
Generous Futures: Demanding Climate Justice

How effective is charitable giving in advancing climate justice? We have reached a breaking point; natural disasters, receding glaciers, famines, drought, rising ocean levels, species extinction, and loss of life. These are only a few examples of the devastating impacts of climate change. Join us for a panel that will explore the ethics of philanthropy in light of the movement for climate justice.


Val Pringle, Broadcaster

Valerie Pringle, Broadcaster


Devika Shah, Executive Director, Environment Funders Canada

Devika Shah, Executive Director, Environment Funders Canada

Eric St. Pierre, Executive Director, Trottier Foundation

Eric St. Pierre, Executive Director, Trottier Foundation 

Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Executive Director, David Suzuki Foundation

Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Executive Director, David Suzuki Foundation, Culture and Environment Activist

Lorne Johnson, Vice-President, Ivey Foundation

Lorne Johnson, Vice-President, Ivey Foundation


Valerie Pringle is one of Canada’s most respected broadcasters, public figures and volunteers. Her career began as a student reporter with CFRB Radio in Toronto. In 1985, she helped launch and hosted the successful CBC-TV program, MIDDAY. Later, Valerie moved to CTV co-hosting Canada AM from 1993-2001. Valerie helped produce, write and host several documentaries and series including Valerie Pringle Has Left the Building for CTV, Test of Faith for Vision-TV and The Canadian Antiques Roadshow for CBC-TV.  She is currently producer and host of Canada Files on PBS.

Valerie now concentrates on not-for-profit work.  She is Chair of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation and spent 20 years building the Trans Canada Trail across the country. Valerie was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2006 for her contributions to communications and her volunteer work. She received a Doctor of Laws (Hon) from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in 2012 and is an alumna of the TMU RTA program.  

Devika Shah is executive director of Environment Funders Canada, a network of 75+ funders working together to respond to environmental crises with ambitious and innovative solutions. She is passionate about nurturing systems-change solutions that are grounded in regenerative economic development, social justice, equity and active democratic engagement. Her interdisciplinary background and experience in the non-profit sector have sharpened her focus on advancing multi-stakeholder, community-informed solutions.

Shah has held positions with Social Planning Toronto, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Pembina Institute, York University and KCI Philanthropy. In these roles, she has strengthened organizational capacity in the areas of public engagement, advocacy, strategic integration and planning, fundraising and operations management.

She holds a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University.

Eric St-Pierre has been the Executive Director of the Trottier Foundation since 2016. Under his leadership, the Foundation has maintained its commitment to work in science, education, climate and health. He oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking activities, programmatic activities, responsible for launching new initiatives and is also lead on all investment related matters. Eric has written and spoken about issues related to philanthropy and climate change, and works collaboratively with other funders, charities, universities, governments and much more. 

Eric has played a leading role in bringing the Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) initiative to life, helping cities to reach their full potential in carbon reduction. Of note, his work with the City of Montreal and Mayor Plante to help develop Montreal’s carbon neutral climate action plan led to the City’s commitment to reducing emissions by 55%. To help with this, the Trottier Foundation assisted with creating the Montreal Climate Partnership, which helped mobilize civil society around the new climate plan.

Before joining the Foundation, Eric practiced Indigenous and Environmental law for five years as a litigator and accredited mediator. He holds common and civil law (LLB/BCL) degrees from McGill University and a BA Honours degree in Political Science from Concordia University.

Severn has been an activist for intergenerational justice her whole life. In Grade 5, her deep concern for the environment compelled her and some friends to start the Environmental Children’s Organization, culminating in a speech she gave to the UN Earth Summit in 1992 at age 12. It’s still making the rounds today as “the girl who silenced the world for five minutes.”  

Severn continued to advocate for future generations, speaking extensively about the legacy of our destructive ways, and about returning to our deepest human values, and human scales. As a teenager she was appointed to the Earth Charter Commission, and is proud of the Earth Charter principles — a universal set of guidelines for human conduct with respect to the planet ( She is still a member of the Earth Charter International Council.   

While studying evolutionary biology at Yale University, Severn spearheaded Powershift 2000, a cycling trip across Canada for clean air and climate change awareness, and the Recognition of Responsibility pledge. She brought the pledge to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, where she was a special adviser to the secretary-general. In 2012, Severn returned to Rio for the UN Rio+20 conference, as a champion for the youth group We Canada. She has collaborated with the Sloth Club in Japan on four speaking tours focusing on the “Slow Movement,” and the post-Fukushima “Million Mothers Movement,” driven by mothers who oppose nuclear power. Severn is an Action Canada Fellow (2004-05), and co-editor for the book Notes from Canada’s Young Activists (Greystone Books, 2007). She was a board member of the David Suzuki Foundation for 14 years, and was a founding member of the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society.   

Severn believes in using various media to communicate. She has collaborated with filmmakers on several documentaries, including Jean Paul Jaud’s Severn: La Voix de Nos Enfants, and hosted the TV show Suzuki’s NatureQuest and the water-focused TV series Samaqan: Water Stories, for four seasons on Canada’s Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN).   

Today Severn’s focus is the nexus of decline in diversity of biodiversity, world views, economies, language, traditional knowledge and identity. She holds an M.Sc. in ethnoecology from the University of Victoria, and is currently a Vanier and Public scholar PhD candidate studying endangered language revitalization.  

In September 2021, Severn became executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation, where she and the team work to protect nature’s diversity and the well-being of all life, now and for the future. 

Severn lives in Vancouver, B.C. (the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations), with her husband Judson Brown and their two sons.  

Lorne has more than 20 years of experience in forging collaborative solutions to sustainability challenges in Canada. He has established a reputation as someone who brings enthusiasm, humour and a solid dose of pragmatism while getting things done.

Early in his career, Lorne played a leadership role in establishing the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Canada including facilitating stakeholder negotiations for several regional standards processes, serving as a board member and chair, and acting as the Executive Director while overseeing the redesign of the organization’s business strategy and revenue model.

During his ten-year term with World Wildlife Fund Canada (1998 and 2007), Lorne established and led partnerships with several forest products companies. In his final years with WWF, he led the organization’s federal government relations efforts as their Ottawa Bureau Director focusing on climate change and oceans conservation.

Lorne has served in a variety of governance roles and was a founding director of the Clean Economy Fund (a focused collaborative of philanthropic foundations), the co-chair of the Cornerstone Standards Council and a member of the Governing Council of Efficiency Canada. He has headed up a number of organizations over the years including FSC Canada, Cornerstone Standards Council and the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Secretariat.

In addition to his work with the Ivey Foundation, Lorne is an advisor to the conservation granting program of the Schad Foundation. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, Nathalie Chalifour, and two children. He is an avid painter, angler, hunter and paddler. He has aspirations of spending less time on conference calls and more time outdoors.

Generous Futures: Power and Politics in Charitable Giving

Through a series of panel discussions we will explore the struggles, politics and possibilities within the charitable sector.

Lead Sponsor: TD; Promotional Partners: Association of Fundraising Professionals; Canadian Association of Gift Planners; Canada Helps; Imagine Canada
Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) Prix d’Excellence Award

Generous Futures is a proud recipient of the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) Prix d’Excellence Award.

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