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Invisible seniors: Uncovering exclusion in philanthropy

Elderly person holding the hands of another person

Despite philanthropic organizations’ emphasis on equity and inclusion, many critical social justice causes receive little attention. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the urgency of addressing gender, racial, and class disparities in Canada. 

This is why Telfer professor Saouré Kouamé has received a SMRG Research Development Grant from the School for a project titled “Investigating Invisible Causes: The Case of Philanthropy for Seniors.”  

Looking at seniors’ well-being 

Kouamé, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Saouré Kouamé HeadshotBritish Colombia, Nipissing University and UQAM, aims to investigate the invisible causes of exclusion of vulnerable seniors from the Canadian philanthropic sector, focusing on their well-being. Currently, there’s a research gap in this area, including regarding the repercussions of this neglect.  

Kouamé wants to understand the disconnect between inclusion policies and the oversight of vulnerable seniors’ philanthropy. Compared to other social justice issues, fewer philanthropic resources are allocated to addressing the inequalities experienced by seniors. Many seniors in Canada are part of marginalized groups and are ignored by funding organizations, exacerbating inequalities in programs and care. Studies have also highlighted widening gaps between Canadian seniors and the general population. 

The philanthropic sector has implemented policies to better serve marginalized groups. However, this sector continues to overlook seniors, raising questions about the reasons behind their exclusion. 

Research impact 

This research will add to the growing body of literature on the emerging concept of social invisibility. The findings may also be disseminated in a prestigious management journal. 

The research findings may help philanthropic organizations understand the importance of including vulnerable seniors when creating grants. They may also inspire policy changes, influence grant allocation decisions and foster inclusive practices across the board. 

About the Author

Phoenix a rejoint l'équipe de Direction de la recherche de Telfer en 2021 grâce au régime travail-études. Elle est diplômée du baccalauréat spécialisé en enseignement des langues secondes et est présentement inscrite au programme de formation à l’enseignement (B.Éd.). Ses responsabilités comprennent la gestion et l'analyse de données, la rédaction d'articles, en plus d'autres tâches administratives.<br/><br/>Phoenix joined the Telfer Research Office in 2021 through the work-study program. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Second Language Teaching and is working toward a Bachelor of Education. Her responsibilities include data management and analytics, story writing, and other administrative tasks.

Profile Photo of Phoenix Hudson