Inspired by Betty Londergan's What Gives 365 and the Bible (not necessarily in that order!), I'm giving away $250 a week in 2011.

This is where I'm recording that journey, and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Charity Intelligence and Building Houses for and by Low Income Residents in Winnipeg

The fourth week of the month would normally be the week we give to a cause or recipient suggested to me. This time, I'm taking my suggestion from an organization called Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci), and specifically their 2010 list of recommended charities. Ci researches and analyzes charities in order to funders greater confidence that their funds are being well used. I'm really impressed with their approach. For example, they ask the very basic question: does this charity need the money? (As opposed to whether they are able to raise it.) They look not only at financial numbers, but also at the goods and time donated to a charity tefore assessing whether its spending ratios are healthy. They look at the degree of local ownership, at how many people are served, and at how the organization is managed. Recently, they have begun assessing social enterprises and social purpose businesses alongside more traditional charities, to help Canadian givers better understand the 'double bottom line impact' of businesses  seeking both financial and social return. Interesting and helpful stuff.

So this week I have decided to make a donation to Inner City Development, a social purpose business that does renovations in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Why them? Manitoba and renovations have both been on my mind in recent weeks -- Manitoba because of the terrible flooding that folks there have been experiencing, and renovations because we're about to embark on some of our own. I've also been doing some research in my professional life on those who are experiencing precarious housing in my own area. I appreciate the practical approach of providing jobs -- not just handouts -- to inner city low income residents. And how much more practical can you get than picking up a hammer? And I love that an explicit part of their mission is to provide services to inner city non-profit organizations. They started by renovating inner city housing for low income residents, and they are committed to providing full-time, year-round employment to their staff -- unusual in the constructon industry.

I suspect I'll go back to the Ci report many times before the year is out -- I hope you do too.

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