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Weekly Question: What Happens Next?

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How can we fill the void left by the Sens Foundation?

2012 NHL All-Star Game - Hospital Playroom Unveiling Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

By now you know that on Thursday, the Ottawa Senators announced that they intend to part ways with their charitable organization The Ottawa Senators Foundation. And given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the organization’s silence on the issue of police brutality and systemic racism in North America, the team could not have timed this announcement any more poorly. I won’t litigate the break-up as I can only offer conjecture. I will say, however, that this looks appalling for the team right now and most importantly, this leaves a void in our community’s charitable efforts.

While it feels like one door has slammed shut, I want to encourage folks to take this opportunity to reconsider how we give back to the community. In no way do I absolve the team from their responsibilities to the community that supports them but at this point I have no expectations from the Senators and we don’t know how long we’ll have to wait before they find a new charitable partner. Let us also not forget that large charities like the Senators Foundation carry a lot of overhead that interferes with their ability to redistribute the funds they receive as we learned back in 2018. While we can’t attempt to match the contributions from a business juggernaut like the Senators, we can still promote and educate about opportunities for fundraising and awareness in the community.

Again, I don’t absolve the team in these regards and they know as well as anyone that their standing in the community depends largely on how they rebound from this latest public relations blunder. I feel compelled to state, however, that individuals adjacent to the team, and not the team itself, have championed some of the most enduring community efforts in Ottawa including D.I.F.D., the Capital City Condors, and You Know Who I Am. Individual players and alumni promoted those causes independently of the team. The Senators are, after all, no strangers to letting their players do the heavy lifting.

So while we usually offer the Weekly Question as a poll for readers, a chance to rank our past favourites, or an attempt to predict the future, consider this week’s question more like an open forum to promote and exchange ideas for fundraising and the promotion of awareness in the community. Much like the open forum we offered on Wednesday, this is an opportunity for the readers and staff alike to move ahead with S7S as both a hub for Senators fans and a place to promote meaningful conversations in our community.

So to get the ball rolling, here is a list that my spouse sent me of Black-owned businesses that you can support in Ottawa. The Ottawa Food Bank reminds us that food insecurity disproportionately affects the Black community and that needs to change. The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival will take place online this year due to the ongoing pandemic so you can educate yourself and support the indigenous community via the link provided. Also, as friend of the blog Bonk’s Mullet has promoted through Sens Money on the Board, we can provide opportunities to youth in our city through Kids up Front Ottawa and the BCGO. It’s easy to get upset about Thursday’s announcement but it’s more important to make sure we don’t let this messy divorce create a lapse in community involvement from our fanbase. So spread the word about important causes in our community and let us know, Sens fans, what happens next?

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. Let’s spread the word.