The Bricks that Build Community
Philanthropy is a crucial part of city-building. Whether it’s as an individual or as the CEO of a major corporation, you must make a choice—are you going to take away bricks or add bricks to a city’s foundation?
Gilda's Club is making an important difference for cancer patients, their family and friends in the Greater Toronto area. Their mission is to ensure people living with cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.
Ontario Nature protects and restores natural habitats through research, education and conservation, connecting thousands of individuals and communities with nature. Working to protect and conserve Ontario's wetlands, woodlands and wildlife.
I love using bricks as a metaphor when it comes to impacting communities. I immediately fell in love with the idea when I first read how Roger Martin used the metaphor in his book “Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL”. Bricks represent the different ways through which we can become positive leaders, adding to our communities as we go. This thinking has helped guide my personal approach to philanthropy.
Philanthropy: “The desire to promote, the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes”. Synonyms include humanitarianism, social conscience, brotherly love, and compassion.
What can you personally do to add bricks? Quite a lot. You can volunteer, coach a little league team, join a charity, mentor youth, fundraise for a special cause, or even get involved in political campaign.
My favourite bricks are:
I strongly believe there is a personal ROI (return on investment) in dedicating your time to giving back. You learn, you contribute, you have fun, and you develop a network that might just help you during the rest of your career. In my book “21 Leadership Lessons” I encouraged young leaders to invest time in their communities. Over the years I have given my time to many organizations, like the United Way, Dellcrest Centre, Children's Aid Foundation, Toronto Foundation and, long after graduation, continue to be very active at the University of Windsor.
Not everyone is in a position to donate money. I was fortunate to do very well in business over my career. When I retired from MLSE my friends and MLSE owners funded the Richard Peddie Leadership Initiative at the University of Windsor. And Colleen and I created a foundation aimed at city youth. Donating money is one way to approach philanthropy but it is not the only way. The volunteers that give their time and ideas to work with charities and causes are also very critical to successful philanthropy.
I do not have a problem raising my voice when it comes to commenting on what communities are doing right or not-so-right. My speeches, this website, and my twitter account are proof. I am going to work even harder to make sure my voice is heard during the time leading up to our 2018 civic election. You too can have a strong voice if you are prepared to do your homework and are not shy about speaking up.
I’ll continue to share great causes that you may wish to help with your time, voice and maybe even your money.
For a Better Toronto.
The Laneway Project
Helps improve Toronto's 2,400 laneways, including supporting local residents to beautify their laneways, adding greenery, hosting community events, addressing safety and houseing issues and consulting with the City on laneway-friendly policies.
JUMP Math is dedicated to enhancing the potential in children by encouraging an understanding and love of math.
Social transformation through music. Sistema Toronto is a social development program that builds a sense of community, self-respect and mutual support in children.
URGENT PLEA! Toronto Wildlife helps save and rehabilitate thousands of animals and birds each year. Currently fall migrants are eating them out of house and home. Even though fall migration is winding down they still have many birds in care who will now need to over winter -- all eating tasty and expensive live insects. Please consider making a donation.
East Scarborough Storefront
The Storefront uses the power of collaboration to support people and build community in East Scarborough. Consider a donation to support "East Scarborough Works".
Toronto Public Library Foundation
Donating to the Library is an investment in literacy, education, culture and in the advancement of a world-class city.
ERCA - Essex Region Conservation Authority
ERCA does great work in furthering the conservation, restoration, development and management of the natural environment in Essex County. In addition to helping ensure clean creeks, rivers and natural areas it champions the development of the ever expanding Chrysler Canada Greenway for biking, walking and running.
Fatal Light Awareness Program working to educate people about the safety of migratory birds in an urban environment. Over the years, 76,000 birds from 170 species have been recovered at the foot of Toronto's tall buildings. Sadly about 60% of the birds are found dead.
Youth Empowering Parents “YEP”.
Youth conducting one-on-one tutoring of adults in English, computers, and several other essential life skills. In a Regent Park classroom, I watched a young person who was around 10 years old teach an adult how to use a computer. She was so poised and focused — I was blown away.
Their vision is for “a city of informed, engaged philanthropists accelerating change for all”. Their role is to pool philanthropic dollars to facilitate charitable donations for maximum community impact. Full disclosure, Colleen and I have our foundation with them. TF has many excellent initiatives on the go, but there is a new one that young leaders might be interested in. They are inviting 50 millennials or GenX-ers to start their own modest foundations and be part of the next generation of philanthropy in Toronto. Contact them to learn more.