A Home for Public Justice

From The Catalyst Spring 2015

It’s no accident that the words ecumenical, economic, and ecological all come from the same Greek root word, oikos, meaning “home.” For the past half century, CPJ has worked towards promoting a society—or a home—that cares for creation, welcomes the stranger, and offers dignity for all within it. Now, as we enter our sixth decade, we are building on that strong foundation while expanding the work of CPJ.

In 2013, as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, CPJ launched “Building Public Justice Together,” an ambitious five-year fundraising campaign. Over the past two years, staff, volunteers, and board members have met with faithful members from across the country to seek their support. The response has been overwhelming and humbling. With three years to go, we are excited about our progress and are looking forward to continued success. The campaign is focused on a series of defined financial goals, all of which will strengthen and expand our ecumenical, economic, and ecological work.

As people of faith, we know that core values such as love of neighbour and the pursuit of the common good are too often missing in current political discourse.

First, we will be building up our core public policy work in poverty elimination and ecological justice. Both of these issues requires dedicated, focused work. Increasing our financial resources in these areas allows us to publish more, give more presentations, and work more effectively with our community partners. And having a strong base in our core work also means CPJ can expand into new areas of public justice, just as we have done on refugee rights.

Second, to support these efforts, we are establishing a strong communications program. As a research and education organization, this is a key element that enhances our outreach on all levels. CPJ has had a dedicated communications staff person for several years. This allows us to expand our social media presence, promote our work through media, and respond more quickly to developments on the Hill and in the news. By making our work known in new avenues across Canada, CPJ is able to expand our membership and increase our impact among policy leaders.

Interns Third, CPJ is committed to our paid Public Justice Internship Program, and we see value in continuing and growing it. Over the past eight years, this program has given many young people hands-on experience with policy analysis, advocacy, presentations, and writing. In the coming years, we hope to bring on a second full-time intern to help support and expand our work. Our interns have benefited immensely by gaining real experience and have also brought fresh ideas and energy to our organization.

Finally, to help secure the long-term financial future of CPJ, we are looking to establish a permanent “house of our own,” a building for CPJ and our affiliates to call home. CPJ moved to Ottawa eight years ago, and our close proximity to Parliament Hill has given us quick and vital access to our national policy makers. We would like to establish a solid, physical presence that would speak to the importance of our goals. A permanent home would give CPJ the ability to creatively expand how we do public justice. This particular aspect of our campaign recently received a $100,000 grant from a family foundation in Alberta. This has given CPJ a major endorsement of our campaign to expand our physical space in Ottawa into an eco-friendly building. This could include learning centres, libraries, community gardens, and a living space for our interns.

Canada is hungry for political dialogue that is more values-based, that is deeper, and that impacts policy more profoundly. As people of faith, we know that core values such as love of neighbour and the pursuit of the common good are too often missing in current political discourse. By establishing our home for public justice in Ottawa, CPJ will be able to give these values a stronger presence in our public life.

CPJ’s “Building Public Justice Together” campaign will:

  • Expand our public policy work;
  • Develop stronger communications;
  • Add a second Public Justice Intern; and
  • Establish a permanent home for CPJ in Ottawa.

More information is available here.

Jim McIntyre is CPJ's Development Officer.

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