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Philanthropy and Diwali

October 28, 2011

Sharmila posted about this great article on our Facebook page.  We are very excited to see South Asians in Canada focusing on philanthropy for the occasion of Diwali.  The article describes two Diwali fundraisers for hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area:

Together they raised $1.8-million for the Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga and the University Health Network in Toronto – a significant amount of money by any measure, and a sign, Ms. [Kiran] Kataria said, that Canada’s South Asian community is prospering and adapting its traditions to what many South Asians see as Canadian cultural norms.

I thought it was off-putting that the Globe & Mail kept describing philanthropy as a traditional “Canadian” norm that these new Canadians are adopting.  First, I imagine that charitable giving is probably a traditional part of Diwali festivities in India and elsewhere – for example, offering free meals at local temples.  Second, the philanthropic sector seems less robust here than in America, with far fewer private and family foundations, for example – so I think it’s strange to assume that Canada is influencing the South Asians and not the other way around.

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