The Gathering explores complex social issues

The Gathering 2014

From October 3 to 5, 2014, the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) hosted 140 funding partners, community organizations, social innovators, government representatives, Aboriginal youth and thought leaders for a second Gathering. The event focused on two topics: Aboriginal youth engagement and capacity building for non-profit organizations.


The Gathering events explore complex social issues that require collaboration to make progress and see lasting community change. The Gathering does not seek to solve these issues, but provides a forum to:

  • connect existing work and initiatives
  • take a system-wide view
  • explore a variety of perspectives
  • strengthen partnerships

“There is power and possibility in coming together, listening to each other and considering multiple perspectives,” says Cathy Glover, director of community investment and the SEF. “No single organization or individual has all the answers. We all need to come together – Suncor, community partners, thought leaders, government and other funders – if we want to make progress on complex social issues and ultimately build strong, sustainable communities.”

The first Gathering event was held in 2013 to mark the 15th anniversary of the SEF. The SEF hosts The Gathering as part of our community investment strategy focused on achieving lasting change on complex social and environmental issues and building more resilient, sustainable communities.

“Through the power of many we can create strong, sustainable communities that benefit us all, and work towards a more prosperous future for the whole country,” reflects Eric Axford, executive vice president, business services, and SEF board chair. “Coming together and embarking on the difficult conversations that are needed for lasting change are what The Gathering events are all about.”

Upcoming features from The Gathering


Cathy Glover, SEF, on partnership with community and funders connecting in a different way
[watch now]

Mike Grogan, CCVO, on the impact of collective thought and collaboration to address complex social issues
[watch now]

Ashley Good, Fail Forward, discusses the power and possibility of failure
[watch now]

Casey Eagle Speaker on humanity and creating a kaleidoscope of knowledge for social change
[watch now]

Mike Lickers, Suncor, on the power of deep listening and the opportunity in giving youth a voice
[watch now]

Casey Eagle Speaker on the power of sharing your voice, and recognizing that everyone has knowledge
[watch now]

Lori Gammell, SEF, says a systems perspective and deep collaboration are required for community change
[watch now]

Sue Van Aalst, Suncor, on for-profit versus not-for-profit: it's more about value than organizational structure
[watch now]

Sunshine Chen, film maker, on the power of connecting for collective impact and systems change
[watch now]

Ashley Good, Fail Forward, on the importance of examining failure to move forward on social challenges
[watch now]

Tim Brodhead, Social Innovation Generation, on problem solving, social innovation, and social ROI
[watch now]

Cathy Glover, Suncor Energy Foundation, on Aboriginal youth and social change
[watch now]

Mike Lickers, Suncor, on looking at young leaders as resources; then they'll be excited and engaged
[watch now]

Sue Van Aalst, Suncor, on working together to do things right for the long-term
[watch now]

Tim Brodhead, Social Innovation Generation, on systems thinking for new possibilities and positive social change
[watch now]

Lori Gammell, SEF, on working collectively, building trust and leveraging strengths for social change
[watch now]

Mike Grogan, CCVO, says corporations can't be successful without a strong society and healthy environment
[watch now]

Sunshine Chen, film maker, on not jumping to solutions and embracing the problem solving process
[watch now]

*Source: Tamarack, An Institute for Community Engagement http://tamarackcci.ca/content/more-collaborative-leadership