Nonprofits Struggle to Survive Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Willie Briggs, a volunteer with Catholic Charities, helped with the distribution of pantry items at a San Francisco food bank last week.ALEJANDRO LAZO/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

 By Ian Lovett and Alejandro Lazo – THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

SAN FRANCISCO—Catholic Charities of San Francisco is still open. The century-old organization is offering free meals for seniors, conducting outreach to the city’s homeless and running two residential-care facilities. But the revenue streams that usually subsidize those programs, such as youth camps, athletic leagues and transportation services, have been deemed nonessential by the local government amid the coronavirus pandemic and ordered to close. As a result, Catholic Charities projects it will run a deficit of at least $3.5 million by June.

“I don’t know how long we’ll be able to keep serving those vulnerable people,” said Jilma Meneses, the organization’s chief executive.

The coronavirus outbreak is ravaging nonprofit organizations’ finances, threatening many of their usual revenue sources at a time when demand for their services is skyrocketing.   Fundraisers are being postponed or canceled. Donations have fallen as much as 75%. Businesses and events that nonprofits operate to earn money, ranging from opera performances to autism therapy centers, have been shuttered. Layoffs have already begun.

“It’s devastation,” said Rick Cohen, chief operating officer for the National Council of Nonprofits, which represents thousands of groups across the country. A coalition of more than 100 nonprofit groups appealed to Washington for help, requesting that $60 billion be earmarked specifically for them in the federal economic-rescue bill. In the bill that President Trump signed Friday, however, no money was earmarked specifically for the sector, though nonprofits would be eligible to apply for federal loans.

The lost revenue for nonprofits comes in many forms. The YMCA, with most of its facilities shut down, expects to lose $400 million in revenue in April alone among its 2,600 locations nationwide.

Elizabeth Pantojas 52, center, pushed her cart of food donations from St. Stephen Outreach in Brooklyn, NY. PHOTO: WONG MAYE-E/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Habitat for Humanity closed its home-goods stores, which generate about $500 million annually, and has mostly stopped building homes with volunteers and selling them to needy families, which accounts for 28% of the organization’s revenue.  Some of Habitat for Humanity’s 1,200 U.S. chapters could be forced to close within months, said Jonathan Reckford, the organization’s CEO.

Still, many charities feel compelled to stay open, even if they are operating at a loss.  Catholic Charities of San Francisco hosted its regular monthly food distribution to about 500 seniors at Temple United Methodist Church last week, despite its ballooning budget deficits.   Seniors this week showed up wearing face masks to collect peanut butter, pasta and other pantry items.

Huang Qiao Jun said he had been coming to the distribution center for 11 years. He didn’t have a plan if the food bank shuts down.

Sixty-seven of Catholic Charities of San Francisco’s employees have been furloughed, and officials said more will likely follow.  Because it employs more than 500 people, Catholic Charities of San Francisco would be excluded from the interest-free small business loans, which would be forgiven in many cases, outlined in the stimulus bill. The National Council of Nonprofits unsuccessfully pushed to have the 500-employee cap removed.

Larger organizations would be eligible for loans at up to 2% interest, which would not be forgiven, and the bill also includes a tax incentive for charitable gifts up to $300. More than 12 million people work in the nonprofit sector.

In Canada, where there are roughly 170,000 registered charities and nonprofits that employ 2.4 million people, many nonprofits have only about two weeks of operating cash, said Jay-Ann Gilfoy, CEO of Vancity Community Investment Bank. “Some of the big organizations will survive, but the local organizations won’t,” she said.

At Los Angeles First United Methodist Church, which serves a low-income population downtown, most of the congregation’s revenue comes from its parking. Located near the Staples Center, where the Lakers play, it normally brings in $49,000 a month. This month, it will be closer to zero, said Mandy Sloan McDow, the senior minister at the congregation.

“I am so, so concerned, because we have some reserves, but not much,” said Rev. McDow. The congregation opened briefly on Sunday to make sure homeless members got a meal.

Latino Leadership, a small nonprofit in Florida, laid off all 33 of its employees this week and shut its center for children with autism.]

Marucci Guzman, the executive director, said they didn’t have reserve funds to stay closed for multiple months.

A no-interest federal loan would help the organization pay rent and keep the lights on, Ms. Guzman said, but wouldn’t allow her to bring back many of the therapists she employs, who aren’t allowed to offer telemedicine under Florida law.

“We would have been celebrating five years of our autism center in April,” Ms. Guzman said, choking up. “Instead of having cupcakes, we’re giving out furlough letters.”

—Vipal Monga in Toronto contributed to this article.


Nicholson Sr. to Chair Canadian Institute for Climate Choices

Recently launched institute to advise on future government policies related to climate change

The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices is an unparalleled collaboration of experts from a diverse range of disciplines and organizations across the country.

They undertake rigorous and independent research, insightful analysis and broad engagement to bring clarity to the climate challenges and transformative policy choices ahead for Canada.

The Climate Institute’s Board of Directors is composed of diverse and highly respected Canadians from a wide range of disciplines. The Board provides overall strategic direction and ensures the Institute’s operational excellence, transparency and financial accountability.

Board of Directors


How mining fuels charities

While the discovery of minerals and precious metals can build communities, it can also have significant benefits for donors


When Shawn Khunkhun arrived at a remote area of Manitoba, he remembers being employee number five. After years of prospecting and raising capital, it was time to drill a promising bit of a wilderness north of Winnipeg.

And low and behold – jackpot.

That’s the story of the Rice Lake Mine. In a place where there was nothing, a boom occurred. Khunkhun arrived in 2005 and left in 2011. During that time, the mine’s employment exploded to 600 workers, paying out an average salary of $100,000. Given the location of the mine in northern Manitoba, many of the workers were First Nations.

“We were a significant employer in the province,” he says, “built on the back of an exploration drill hole.”

Kunkhun, who is now the President and CEO of Stikepoint Gold in British Columbia, knows firsthand the transformational economic impact a hole in the ground can have.

He finds it exhilarating to work with the best scientists, explorers and engineers to come up with a strong business case for investors and shareholders. And it’s even more exhilarating when a discovery is made.

That’s why, over the last three years, Stikepoint has been buying up properties in north-western British Columbia and the Yukon, in search of the next Rice Lake Mine – a discovery that could bring major prosperity not only to citizens in the province, but also to the provincial government’s coffers.

But like Rice Lake Mine, first things first.

Photo by Graeme Oxby / San Gold Corp.
ABOVE: A geologist examines a drill core in the Rice Lake mine at Bissett.

Strikepoint Gold, like other junior mining companies, need to raise capital to explore for that next big deposit. The importance of companies like Strikepoint to the Canadian economy is not lost on the government. That’s why, since 1954, they have offered flow-through shares, to incentive Canadians to invest in these companies with a 100% tax deduction.

While seemingly unrelated, the purchase of flow-through shares is exactly why companies like The Foundation (WCPD) are able to help Canada’s largest donors give up to three times more to the charity of their choice, at no additional cost.

When a mining company like Strikepoint issues shares to raise funds, donors can purchase them for the tax benefits, and then immediately sell them at a discount to an institutional buyer, or liquidity provider, for cash. Thus, the donor does not take on the stock market risk.

The donors offer these cash proceeds of the sale to the charities of their choice and receive another 100% deduction for this donation.

By combining these two unique tax policies, Canadians can assist in the development of the economy, while also giving more to charities. How much more? This method of giving has resulted in hundreds of millions in donations for Canadian charities.

The government has promoted these two tax policies – both older than your RRSP, because it also understands the multi-faceted benefits to society.

“The life of a mining company is in exploration, and the best way to spend money on it is flow-through shares because the funds go 100% into the drilling and exploration,” said Farshad Shirvani, President and CEO of DoubleView Capital Corp, another company in the exploration phase for gold and copper in British Columbia.

Shirvani says he has raised millions for his projects using flow-through shares.

“BC is based on mining. It is the main artery of money into more remote communities, especially for First Nations. They need the job market and the money into their communities.”

At Telegraph Creek, for example, located off Highway 37 in Northern BC, is a mix of First Nations and other peoples. Shirvani says these communities are not as isolated as we might think.

“They have cell phones, like us. They are connected to the world. And they want to be more connected to the world,” Shirvani explains.

As for Kunkhun and Strikepoint Gold, his focus is now recruiting those first employees – geologists, drillers and other professions – so the company can inch that much closer to a discovery. One of the towns closest to his prospects is Stewart, BC, population of only 500. Back in the early 20th century, this city has a population of 10,000 when gold and silver was discovered in the area.

“Mining is everything up there. It is essential and it is the backbone,” he says. “What is exciting is the possibility of reinvigorating that.”


Ottawa Philanthropy Awards celebrate extraordinary contributions made by volunteers and donors

Some 400 people attend AFP Ottawa’s 25th annual awards dinner held at National Arts Centre

             BY: Caroline Phillips – Ottawa Business Journal 

This year’s winners of an Ottawa Philanthropy Award don’t have to be reminded that it’s always better to give than to receive.

The seven generous and caring individuals, groups and businesses recognized Wednesday night at the 25th Annual AFP Ottawa Philanthropy Awards have been doing nothing but dish out their time, money, experience and/or skills to help make Ottawa a better place.

The Canada Room at the National Arts Centre was filled with 400 attendees, many of whom were left inspired, proud, humbled and perhaps even blown away after learning that one of the award winners, Dymon Storage, a private Ottawa-based company, is committed to donating half of its operating profits back to the community.

Margot Ault chaired the dinner for her third and final year, cutting it very close to the due date of her first child (three weeks and counting!). She spoke about what a privilege and honour it’s been to have served in her role, and of the positive impact of Ottawa’s philanthropic spirit.

“Philanthropy is where we turn when problems are too big or daunting to tackle alone, and when deserving causes and needs slip through the cracks of our social safety net,” said Ault, manager of philanthropy for The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

“The winners tonight are a reflection of our community, of our home — Ottawa. They are a reflection of the benevolence of our community, the passion of our community, the diversity of our community.

“They reflect the generosity of time and money and sweat and tears that go into bettering public and private institutions, and improving the lives of those who need a helping hand.”

The evening was emceed by 1310 News and Rogers TV host Mark Sutcliffe, who’s also a partner in the Ottawa Business Journal and a former recipient of the AFP’s Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award.

On hand were AFP Ottawa board president Teresa Marques, president and CEO of The Rideau Hall Foundation, and Peter Nicholson, president and founder of The Foundation (WCPD), a financial services firm specializing in philanthropy. It was back for its fourth year as the dinner’s presenting sponsor and is also a returning partner in the latest 84-page Giving Guide publication launched that evening.

Ten-year-old Logan Hussein melted hearts with his adorable acceptance speech for Outstanding Youth Philanthropist, sponsored by RBC.

Hussein has raised more than $50,000 for specialized equipment in the CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit through annual birthday parties that he hosts with his parents at their home. Last year, alone, he raised $15,000.

“You’re probably wondering, ‘What’s this kid’s story?’ ” he said, standing on a milk crate for added height.

“Well, here it is: it was a dark and stormy morning,” Hussein began, causing the room to erupt in laughter as he borrowed one of the most famous opening lines in literary history. He continued to share the story of how, as a newborn, he had to be rushed to CHEO’s NICU. “I came into this world, not crying. I couldn’t; my lungs had collapsed and I was struggling to grasp for air.”

Hussein, who’s now perfectly healthy, is striving to raise $11,000 for CHEO’s NICU at his upcoming 11th birthday bash. He spoke about how fun and well-attended his parties are, with magicians, balloon artists, face painting and ball hockey. There’s apparently one thing that’s missing, though. “I’ve been trying to get a Sens player to attend (hint, hint).”

The impressive young man, who delivered parts of his acceptance speech in French, is also the youngest recipient of the Order of the Good Bear, the highest honour bestowed by the CHEO Foundation.

Jim Orban, president and CEO of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, landed the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award, sponsored by Global Philanthropic, for raising more than $100 million for the Heart Institute’s largest-ever campaign. In accepting his award, he shared his recognition with his entire “dream team,” making a point of naming each member and asking them to rise from their seats.

He recalled a quote that he’d seen on a banner two nights earlier, at JNF Ottawa’s Negev Dinner, from Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States: “If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself, something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you”.

“That’s what I think a meaningful life is; living not for oneself but for one’s community,” said Orban.

Construction industry leader Paul McCarney was awarded this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser, sponsored by his alma mater, Carleton University, where he graduated with a degree in civil engineering.

He has co-chaired the President’s Breakfast for The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, has been a strong leader in its annual The Ride fundraiser, and was involved in its $100-million Legacy Campaign. He’s also been an invaluable supporter of The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.

“What motives me or many of you to give back?” McCarney, president and CEO of Clean Water Works, said at the podium. “It’s that will to want to make the community a little better, and to help those who are less fortunate.

“I realized at a young age I had an advantage, a real head start over millions of other kids in this world,” said McCarney, while adding that his father, a general surgeon, and his mother served as excellent role models for him and his five siblings. McCarney’s parents took in a ward of the Children’s Aid Society. As his family of eight quickly became nine, he found himself, at the age 16, serving as a big brother to the boy. One of the other major charities he’s a tremendous booster of is Christie Lake Kids, which helps to provide a better future for kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds

The Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist Award went to Dymon Storage. It’s been helping The Ottawa Mission since 2012, most recently with its $300,000 gift toward its health clinic to offer primary medical care and dental services to individuals who are homeless, or at risk for homelessness.

“The way I see it, we’re all very fortunate,” said Glen Luckman. “We live in a great country and city, with a society that actually compensates us lucratively when we are successful.”

He spoke about society being built on the success of those who came before us. “Warren Buffett said it so well when he said, ‘Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago’.

“Most everyone here tonight are, figuratively, planting trees and shading others.”

The crowd broke into applause after Luckman shared how Dymon has committed to donating 50 percent of all operating profits and 50 percent of the growth in the company’s value back to the community.

Ottawa businesswoman Marina Kun received the Outstanding Individual Philanthropist Award, sponsored by PGgrowth, for her support of Ottawa Chamberfest. Her philanthropy has helped the arts organization bring internationally renowned artists to Ottawa to perform at its summer music festival.

“I cannot express adequately the tremendous pleasure and happiness I receive when I’m at a concert and know that I have participated in bringing joy to so many people,” said Kun. “I look at people, and everybody is so happy and smiling.”

Kun is the owner of Kun Shoulder Rest, which manufacturers string-instrument accessories used by musicians around the world. She told the room how she’s always had a love and appreciation for classical music, even though she’s not an accomplished musician nor comes from a musical family. “

She apologized for being at a loss for words, explaining that she’s used to speaking in Spanish, having just returned from a trip to Mexico. After she collected her award and left the stage, Sutcliffe’s quick sense of humour shone through. He thanked Kun and congratulated her— in Spanish.

The Outstanding Philanthropic Group Award went to H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everywhere) Volleyball SummerFest. What started as a small event has grown into the world’s largest one-day volleyball event with live entertainment. It has supported more than 110 charities and raised close to $3 million over the past 38 years. The award was accepted by executive director Holly Tarrison-Gaskin.

This year’s Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist Award, sponsored by Brazeau Seller Law, went to Tony Priftakis, owner of Gatineau’s Buffet des Continents. It hosts four to five charity events a year for CHEO. As well, roughly 90 per cent of the restaurant’s 105 employees donate $1 a week from their paycheques to help the children’s hospital. The restaurant has raised $114,000 over the course of 10 years. “The lesson is: you start small, take baby steps, and over the years you can achieve big things,” he said at the podium.

The recipients were chosen by a selection jury consisting of Bernie Ashe, retired CEO of OSEG, Stephen Greenberg (Osgoode Properties), Mariette MacIsaac (Trinity Development Foundation), Suzanne Pinel, Brian Scott (Smith, Petrie, Carr & Scott Insurance Brokers), articling student Patrick Pwagirayezu (Emond Harnden), Jennifer Van Noort (The Ottawa Hospital Foundation) and Sheila Whyte (Thyme & Again).



Culture of kindness

The Foundation (WCPD) supports the OSM’s Opening Night Concert as a Presenting Sponsor, as it continues to recognize the importance of music and culture for all of society

Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Earlier this month, The Foundation WCPD gave voice and support to the Orchestre Symponique de Montreal (OSM) by serving as the Presenting Sponsor at its Opening Night Concert. Fiera Capital also served as a Presenting Sponsor alongside The Foundation. More than 280 people attended the annual event, which raised nearly $200,000 for one of the most important cultural institutions in Canada.

“The OSM wishes to thank its presenting partners. Without our partners, we could not have raised these much needed funds,” says Catherine Lussier, the Head of Project for Philanthropic Events.

“This event will allow our talented artists to continue their incredible work and support the more than 150 concerts we hold each year. We thank The Foundation (WCPD) for its commitment to culture.”

While the Opening Night Concert assists the artists of today, the OSM is also focused on the musicians of tomorrow.

In particular, the OSM is committed to many educational and outreach programs for young people. These educational programs range from opportunities in elementary school all the way to instruction at the college and university level. 

For elementary schools, for example, the OSM allows children to become familiar with classical music by offering educational concerts. In addition, teaching guides, online resources and educational activities give students ongoing exposure and education as it relates to instruments and composers.

Bita Cattelan, VP of Philanthropy at The Foundation (WCPD), has been a strong supporter of culture and the OSM for many years.

While the preservation of our cultural heritage is important, Cattelan also believes that music can play an integral role in health and education, whether it is used as a form of therapy, or as a mechanism to help children excel in school and their daily lives.

Through the generous support of major donors, the OSM has built a music school in Montreal for children from disadvantaged backgrounds called La Musique Aux Enfants. Over the last three years, these children had the opportunity to visit the music school and learn to play an instrument.

“And the results are now coming in,” she explains.

“The hope and belief is these children not only go on to study music, but it has also been linked to an improvement in behavior and learning capabilities.”

The results will be shared with the provincial government as evidence that music programs in schools can have a positive impact on the lives of young people.

Apart from its support of the OSM, another key aspect of WCPD’s commitment to the arts is the creation the Cultural Philanthropic Advisory Council.  Dedicated to promoting philanthropy for arts and culture across Canada, its members are considered key leaders and influencers, with a united desire to maximize donations to the artistic community.

Members of this council include Andrew Wan, Concertmaster  at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Alain Dancyger, Executive Director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and David Moss, the founding National Executive Director of Culture Days, the largest arts and cultural participation and engagement initiative in Canadian history.

“For me, I do it because I really enjoy performing arts. I was exposed when I was young, and it really nourishes me. I make my way to the concert hall and I get reenergized,” Cattelan says, who is also a member of the Cultural Philanthropic Advisory Council.” Second, I understand the challenges and struggles that artists are faced with. They are so passionate about their art – it is hours and hours of commitment to perform and perfect their craft. I really appreciate that. I do believe we need to advance culture and help these artists. It is a very challenging path.”

To learn more about the OSM and consider a donation, click here.