Like many holidays in Canada that are celebrated with meals shared with family and friends, Thanksgiving is an opportunity for gratitude. I know that I am very lucky to live in a safe neighbourhood, in a safe country, with access to clean water, food, shelter, free medial care, employment, and opportunities that bring me joy and satisfaction. I also know that my experience is not everyone’s experience – in Toronto, Canada, and the world – which is why I am also grateful that I live in a place with a thriving charitable sector and millions of Canadians that support it.
The approximately 86,000 charities in Canada serve local communities and the world. If you scroll through the charitable campaigns on the CanadaHelps website, you’ll quickly see the gaps that charities are filling in our society. These are just a few:
- Providing adapted bikes for kids with neuromotor disabilities in Calgary
- Giving access to books for kids in Sioux Lookout
- Rebuilding the infrastructure of a camp for foster families in the Northwest Territories
- Protecting forests for the Western Screech Owl’s habitat on Vancouver Island
- Offering interpretation services for refugees so they can access counselling services
I’m also extremely thankful for the Canadians who give to charities each year, and to those who choose to include CanadaHelps as one of the charities in their giving plans to support the work we do for the sector. We know from our annual The Giving Report that the number of people in Canada who give to charity is declining (from 1 in 4 in 2006 to 1 in 5 in 2015), which makes the commitment of those who currently give, and the potential of Canada’s young people for growing in their giving and their civic action, more critical than ever. I’m also inspired by the Canadians who have used the power of their networks to raise money for a cause they love:
- Bryan is walking 100km to support Interval House Hamilton, because they supported his family when they needed it most.
- 8 year-old Daniel is raising money for the Autism Society, because they provide him “major support” in his life and he wants to give back.
- Jen and Paul have chosen to raise money for two charities they care about in lieu of wedding gifts.
- Fans of actor Dan Levy raised $23,000 for the Lesbian Gay and Trans Youth Line.
These public acts of commitment to charities have real impact –with funds raised, awareness for the causes these people are passionate about, and contributing to a broader culture of giving back.
A strong charitable sector is the backbone of a strong society and I’m grateful that I get to be a part of changing the world with all of you. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do in the future.