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That little $100 million.

In 2015, billionaire John Paulson donated $400 million to Harvard, the largest donation in its history. This prompted Malcolm Gladwell to enquire what possible marginal good that could create for Harvard whose endowment today stands at $53.2 billion.

Why not give it to a smaller university, where it could do much more? This is what Hank Rowan did 30 years earlier when he gave $100 million to Glassboro State University, a tiny, almost bankrupt school in South Jersey. Gladwell did an enlightening podcast on that gift and where philanthropy works hardest.

I thought about this when we were kayaking with friends last week off the east coast of Vancouver Island. Jackie Hildering, co-founder of a tiny non-profit, the Marine Education and Research Society, spoke to the 10 of us at our campsite one night, about protecting whales from the predations of tourists, cruise ships and boaters. The next day, we heard from K’odi Nelson, executive director of Nawalakw, a tiny non-profit that’s protecting his Indigenous nation from the predations of white history at their healing centre we boated to in the Great Bear Rainforest.

We’ll be donating to both. Yes, there are much bigger causes that are equally deserving, and charities just as small though closer to home. But for people like us who travel in Canada, I can’t think of  a better cause than sustaining our home and native land.


1. OpenCorporates. Bellingcat, the home of online investigations, strikes again with the world’s first online open source of corporate information from 145 jurisdictions. Shady company? Check them out. Your own company? Check it out.

2. Living lists. First, 11 theses on globalization. Next, 101 things we’ve learned, from Christie’s Auctioneers. Finally, 100 things I know (well, Mari Andrew knows well). Truly finally? This. No? Then this.

3. Think you know Toronto? The Star drew up 9 maps that tell us who Toronto is today, including “the income-divide doughnut”, and “to find the greenest parts of the city, follow the money.”

4. The Republic of Cows. Why has Alaska given a remote island to feral cattle? Either they’re unwelcome invasive megafauna or rightful heirs to a place they’ve inhabited for 200 years.

5. Falling. Global wealth declined for the first time since 2008. Speaking of money, learn more about how we really spend money; plus our secret longing to be good; and a different kind of falling.

6. Trains and planes and automobiles. Actually, the world’s largest cruise ship; how cruise ships got so big; air crashes averted; sinking pirates; falling drones; and 45 things you’ve never seen.

 7. What do women explorers need? Their own club. The Explorers’ Club of New York invites men and women to join. But it didn’t always. Back in the 1920s, women had to form the all-female Global Exploration Society.

8. Forest fires aren’t the only thing heating up the Arctic. Nor is global warming. The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats has produced a report on the Canadian Arctic about those other threats; and the Canadian Senate has followed suit.

9. Guess where trips. This new online travel service will send you away for a mystery day. Muskoka has a hidden gem museum, and here are some amazing message-in-a-bottle stories.

10. Old is new again. YMCA Canada remakes The Village People’s eponymous song. Today, the “Y” is all about mental wellness. And Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood in The Presence of the Lord. Oh, and Madonna turned 65 last month.

11. What I’m liking now. A new BritBox series on Prime, the three-part police procedural, Karen Pirie. A bad title for a great detective.




This is not a cruise, but a sail.

All we do is bask in the historic luxury of this unique ship and the tender expertise of Lindblad Expeditions.

So join Jean and me, next year from May 29 to June 5, on the sea from Nice to Amalfi.

For more information, click here.

Bob Ramsay

Here are the other trips RamsayTravels is hosting in the coming months.

In order of appearance…

October 2-10, 2023 — Bicycling and the Kardamyli Literary Festival in Greece.

February 25 – March 9, 2024 — South Pacific aboard the National Geographic Orion

September 2-9, 2024 — Lindblad Expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Just e-mail Bob Ramsay at if you have questions.

Thanks for coming this far with us.

Bob Ramsay

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