Farewell, and Thanks for Having Me

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Marina’s first #unselfie for the first GivingTuesday Canada in 2013

After nine years, today is my last day as CEO of CanadaHelps. I am so proud of my time leading CanadaHelps, my team, and being part of the charitable sector.  This truly has been the highlight of my career. 

I never intended to work in the sector, but I stumbled upon the opportunity in 2013 and I’m so grateful I did. At the time, a member of my family was diagnosed with a chronic illness and we were supported by a charity. It was in that experience that I truly understood the value of the sector — not just knowing intellectually that thousands of Canadians were dedicating their lives to helping others, but really feeling it. I understood this even more as I visited hundreds of charities in my first few years.

When I joined, CanadaHelps was quite small and we had a lot of work to do to catch up on the changes in technology. I hired a core team and we dug in! Over the next nine years, we grew by all the big metrics: donations, clients, product launches, staff. But the most important thing we did in that time was help 26,000 charities grow their impact. I’ve learned so much about the diverse work of the charitable sector, and I’ve been humbled by those who choose nonprofit work as their career. 

As I move on to a new phase of my career, I know CanadaHelps is in incredible hands with Jane Ricciardelli as our Acting CEO, the full staff team, and our dedicated Board of Directors. As a charity, one of CanadaHelps’ core organizational values is “Lead with the Mission” and we take that seriously. The technology landscape has changed a lot since 2013 — now donors can give through social media, through crowdfunding platforms, and through a range of for-profit options. But I believe it is fundamentally important to have fundraising options by nonprofit organizations like CanadaHelps that make decisions driven by the needs of charities, knowledge of the sector, and independence from competing interests.

With my final opportunity to speak to the millions of Canadians who give through CanadaHelps, I want to leave you with this very important reminder to please keep giving generously. 

Charities are so vital to Canada, and they are currently experiencing financial pressures and increased demand like never before. As we see the negative impacts of inflation and the extended pandemic on some donors’ ability to give, I hope every Canadian who is able to contribute financially will do so. It is in times of hardship that we must ask ourselves what we can do to support those around us, and how we can contribute whatever it is that we, individually, can give.

Read more from Marina’s extensive writing and speaking catalogue here>>

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