The Deetken Insight team is committed to learning more about the people in our network who are leading inspiring work in our communities, across the country or around the world. In June 2020, we started to organize Inspiration Lunches. The concept is simple: Deetken invites a guest to join us for an informal (virtual) one-hour lunchtime get-together to explore their work and its impact. We also discuss challenges or obstacles their organizations face in meeting their goals and objectives with a view to helping to surface potential solutions. This article provides a short summary of our lunches to date.
Direct cash transfers to people experiencing homelessness
Deetken’s first Inspiration Lunch was with Claire Elizabeth Williams, Co-founder and CEO of Foundations for Social Change (FSC). FSC is a Vancouver-based charitable organization that drives innovation to advance social change. Claire spoke to us about FSC’s flagship pilot initiative, the New Leaf Project (NLP). NLP is the world’s first direct cash transfer project to empower people to move beyond homelessness. Working in partnership with researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, NLP awards one-time cash transfers to youth (19+) and adults who have recently become homeless. The research results emerging from this pilot initiative reveal that cash recipients moved into stable housing faster than the control group; they prioritized and increased spending on staples like housing/rent, food, transportation and utility bills; they spent their cash over time, not all at once; and, at an aggregate level, they decreased their spending on goods such as alcohol, drugs or cigarettes by 39%.
Following the lunch, and in order to help the FSC team prepare to release the research and analysis from this innovative pilot, Deetken Insight’s data science team participated in a working session with the project’s research team. We reviewed the project’s research results and thorough methodology, and asked some tough questions. We fully support the FSC team as they seek to raise more funding and expand the reach of this transformative initiative. (Check out the project’s recent media coverage!)
Counteracting entrenched discrimination in our business processes
Our next Inspiration Lunch was held with Michael Bryant. Michael is the Executive Director and General Council for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), a non-profit organization devoted to the defence of civil liberties and constitutional rights. We asked Michael to speak to us about how we could best support the anti-discrimination movement. During our lunch, Michael talked to us about the extensive and critical work of CCLA and offered ideas about how we can, as individuals and as a company, leverage our diverse skills and backgrounds to help to counteract entrenched discrimination. Deetken Insight has made a donation to the CCLA to help support their important work. As a company, we have committed to examining our business practices (i.e. how we do our work and how we recruit/hire) to try to identify and overcome unconscious bias.
The Dual Health Crisis: Exploring the intersections between the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic
Many of us are deeply disturbed by the recent rise of opioid-related deaths across the country. To help us better understand the impact of COVID-19 on opioid-related deaths in BC and across Canada, we hosted a lunch with Jennifer, a drug policy expert. Jennifer spoke to us about the trends related to the opioid crisis over the past year. She described a number of pandemic-related factors that appear to have an impact on substance use. However, she also pointed to the acceleration in innovative responses to the opioid crisis that have been precipitated, at least in part, by the pandemic. Our discussion with Jennifer inspired us to make a holiday donation to an organization in Vancouver that helps women and children impacted by substance use.
If you would like to join us for lunch to tell us more about the inspiring work you are leading, please be in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org