The vast majority of people want to make the world a better place. I'm optimistic about what we can do together.
Becoming an Ashoka fellow enabled me to spread our original work at Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) to more than 40 locations around the world. PLAN supports families prepare for the social and financial well-being of people with disabilities after their parents die. Ashoka support also enabled PLAN to lead the campaign to create the world's only disability savings plan, the RDSP. There are more than $2 billion in deposit. My current focus is social innovation that spreads and endures, which is the topic of my latest book, Impact: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation. Lasting change requires us to engage with the cultural dimensions of change (habits, attitudes, beliefs). I am particularly interested in what unites us. For example, the omnipresence of natural caring for each other and our environment is a universal that transcends ideology and background. When I grow up I'd like to be a peacemaker.
Relationships are the key. In Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), Al and his colleagues have created an infrastructure that systematically builds community, while dismantling the obstacles inherent in the social systems that control publicly funded services for the disabled. Al sees those systems as necessary and does not seek to replace them; rather, his work parallels the public bureaucracy and holds its feet to the fire by demonstrating what else needs to be done. For example, the Burnaby Association of Mentally Handicapped in Vancouver now pays for lifetime membership in PLAN for some people to whom it provides services. Al sees this relationship as "a good place for us." PLAN's ability to facilitate relationships for people who are isolated will continue to infiltrate bureaucracies and citizens' movements and a growing international constituency of families with disabled members.
- In addition to his work with PLAN, Al is a founding partner of Social Innovation Generation (SiG) and BC Partners for Social Impact
- Al is a faculty member of John McKnight’s Asset Based Community Development Institute (ABCD)
- In 2014, Al received the Order of Canada
- Al was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2015
- In 2015, Al spoke at the Walrus Talks Innovation
- In addition to Impact: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation, Al has published two other books: Safe and Secure and A Good Life
- Al has directly influenced Canadian policy through the introduction of the RDSP