10 B.C. businesses and others doing good during COVID-19: Donations for clicks, Terry Fox kicks and much more
Darian Kovacs, (BC BUSINESS) — Our weekly series celebrates local organizations that are stepping up to help others.
As life begins to settle into a new normal and we visit our much-missed friends and family, many businesses can breathe a collective sigh of relief. With B.C. slowly but surely moving toward Phase 3 of reopening, we’re looking forward to better times. In the light of recent events, we’re expanding this weekly column beyond COVID-19 to recognize those who are working to benefit our community in any way, whether it’s supporting the Black Lives Matter movement or funding cancer research. If you know of a B.C. organization doing good during these times, send me an email and share their story. As always, we thank everyone on the front lines and those who continue to support our community.
Recognizing how tough COVID-19 has been on families and on employment opportunities for young people and their parents, property developer Ryan Beedie has boosted the number of students winning scholarships through his Beedie Luminaries foundation this year from 105 to 128. Beedie Luminaries—launched in 2018 with a $50-million donation—provides up to $40,000 each to students facing financial adversity who show resilience, grit, academic readiness and determination to succeed. Besides receiving financial assistance, the scholarship winners are matched with mentors and offered paid summer internships, among other benefits. More than 70 percent of this year’s recipients live in rental or social housing, almost half come from single-parent or foster families, and roughly a quarter belong to the first generation of postsecondary students in their family. Applications for the 2021 Beedie Luminaries cohort open this fall.
Vancouver-based Herschel has teamed up with the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, a nonprofit on a mission to protect and restore the world’s oceans, to help save the Vancouver Aquarium, which reopened today after being closed since mid-March. Using materials including warrantied Herschel items and local boat sails that would otherwise end up in the landfill, the travel lifestyle company has created upcycled home products and accessories such as a utility apron, a wall organizer and a pen case. Herschel, which is making the items at its Vancouver design workshop, will donate all proceeds from the Re-Sail Program to the Aquarium.
The local liquor store chain, which has 13 locations across the province, has launched another community effort: supporting foods banks as they face unprecedented need. On May 30, through its JAK’s Gives Back initiative, the company donated 10 percent of sales to food banks in Vancouver, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Richmond, Campbell River, Penticton and Williams Lake. For the month of May, JAK’s also gave $1 from each bottle of its Gratitude Wine to the cause.
As Canada Day approaches, beer giant Molson is extending the ultimate Canadian gesture by opening up its case to other domestic brands for the first time. Besides inviting fellow brewers to be part of the limited-edition Canadian Case, the company will use its marketing channels to shine a spotlight on them.
Molson, which makes beer in Chilliwack, will also donate $5 for every case printed (up to $25,000) to local charities. Brewers who want in can find details here.
Baby brand Numpfer specializes in bibs, blankets and other products made from organic fabrics. Given the recent news surrounding Black Lives Matter, founder Sarah Robbin saw an opportunity for her Vancouver company to help businesses that had purchased products from one embroiled in a racism controversy. Numpfur is giving stockists Black Lives Matter stickers that happen to be the exact size of Vancouver Candle Co. labels, enabling them to sell the now-unwanted candles and donate proceeds to Black Lives Matter Vancouver. Visit Numpfer’s Instagram page to learn how you can order stickers for your own candles.
Luke Aulin, co-founder and CEO of digital marketing firm Rtown, recently donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association after reading about the surge in suicide attempts due to COVID-19 isolation. On LinkedIn, Aulin pledged that Rtown would donate $10 in support of mental health for every “like” his post received over two days. It got so many likes that he asked his industry to explore how “PhilanthroPosts” could help fund important causes and become a powerful marketing tactic for brands. The question is simple: Could a company that offers a donation in return for engagement in its social media post raise the same awareness as if those dollars were spent on ads? To find out, Aulin is calling on marketers to collaborate at Philanthropost.org. He hopes the answer might change digital advertising, and the world, for good.
Rundown is an Abbotsford-based outfit that uses machine learning to summarize research papers. Scientists, engineers, writers and designers at organizations ranging from Facebook and Google to Harvard University and Home Depot use its technology. The company, which is donating its services to researchers seeking coronavirus-related information, has run more than 2,000 papers through its COVID-19 software in the past four months. If you’re a B.C. resident working on a project relevant to COVID and would benefit from Rundown’s tech, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Sprott Shaw, which has partnered with Kelowna General Hospital on its fundraising efforts since 2007, this year presented challenges. Volunteering to help the KGH Foundation celebrate its Day of Giving, students from the Kelowna campus participated in a drive-through that let residents donate while remaining socially distant. In less than four hours, the volunteers raised almost $4,000 toward the daily total of more than $370,000.
Adidas and the Terry Fox Foundation have joined forces to raise money for cancer research and pay tribute to Fox’s legacy. In honour of the 40th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, the sportswear brand launched a commemorative collection, including a replica of the 2005 Orion sneakers worn by late Port Coquitlam native Fox during his run across Canada. All proceeds go to the foundation, whose Terry Fox Research Institute collaborates with more than 70 cancer hospitals and research organizations nationwide. The collection was an immediate sell-out, but with more stock on the way, you can sign up for the chance to buy a pair of Orion kicks.
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