Maximizing the Local Benefit: Charity-Small Business Partnerships

 

I was on an Imagine Canada webinar with other charity leaders featuring Dr. Judith Stein from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She advised charities to showcase their importance to the economy at this time. Bruce MacDonald, CEO of  Imagine Canada, gave our new Charity-Small Business Partnership Program a shout out as an example of a charity-economy initiative. 

I was thrilled with the national recognition because that was the purpose of the program: the recognition that the local economy is interdependent on the health of all of its inter-related sectors. Those who know me, know that I am a past Board Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. I have seen the support that local businesses give to local charities in the form of volunteers, in-kind donations and fundraising. I have also seen many charities purchase goods and services from catering, hospitality, printing, technology, finance and audit service companies (The Foundation included) and we usually get a great price. 

One person who epitomized a community-minded business person in Oakville, is the late Tammy (Couto) Weiss, who was a co-owner of Bru, Seasons, and Corks restaurants. She always added “freebies” of in-kind support for our events. Her personal commitment to our Women’s Giving Collective Initiative and our 25th Anniversary Gala events made them a resounding success. She will be missed by the charitable sector and greater community. 

The interdependence between our charities and small businesses was the genesis of the new grant program. So this Program provides a grant to charities to purchase goods and services from local small businesses. The Chamber suggested we use a small business description of less than 20 full time employees and $20 million in revenue as a guide. 

We were also assisted by RBC and Ford Canada with financial and volunteer support. Joining our Program Review Committee were:

  • Tino DosSantos,  Vice President, Business Markets, South Western Ontario, RBC
  • Kirby Alguire, Vice President, Finance, Ford Motor Company of Canada
  • Binu Dhas, Vice President, Operations, Hoskin Scientific
  • Christine M Langevin,  Chartered Professional Accountant

This impressive review Committee was supported by Frances Pace and Michelle Collins on our very capable Grants team. Please have a read of the partnerships supported by the Oakville Resiliency Fund and our sponsors here.

I am very proud that this program maximizes the benefit locally. As the giving season approaches, I would like to encourage everyone to keep as much of their purchasing local, because our small businesses, and charities who depend on the small businesses, are relying on it.