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why I choose to give

why I choose to give

Homelessness Action Week is October 12 to 18. We hope you’ll have an opportunity to take part in the many great events and projects underway throughout the City of Vancouver.

For this year’s Homelessness Action Week, Streetohome interviewed six disparate donors who all have one thing in common – their desire to address the issue of homelessness. We wanted to find out why the cause is important to them and why they chose to support Streetohome.

From businesses to charitable foundations and individuals, Streetohome’s donors have helped us reach our goal of helping people break out of the cycle of homelessness, and also prevent people from falling into it.

To those who graciously shared their stories and to all our donors, we say thank-you.

We’ll be posting a new story for each day of Homeless Action Week – we hope you’ll read them all.

Changing the status quo

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has – Margaret Mead

Almost 70 years ago, 14 families in Vancouver banded together with their own limited funds to start the fledging financial cooperative, Vancity Credit  Union. It was in response to a time when banks were refusing to lend money to buy homes in certain neighborhoods deemed too risky. They couldn’t have imagined that their upstart venture would become the largest credit union in Canada.

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Maverick, entrepreneurial developer helping to find solutions to homelessness

Eric Carlson comes from a middle-class family, but through grit, hard work, and a relentless entrepreneurial spirit, today he heads one of the biggest property development and management companies in B.C.

He loves business, the art of the deal, and the infinite power of leveraging to create something bigger than you can alone.

He also loves the buildings on the downtown eastside. As a young kid, he’d take the bus from North Vancouver on weekends to visit the Army & Navy to look for fishing tackle, Woodward’s for a fresh doughnut, and the local pawn shop for a good find.

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Commitment to community giving

It was the most expensive lunch Chuck Jeannes ever had, but he was more than happy to pick-up the tab. Five million dollars to be exact.

When Frank Giustra, an industry colleague on the Streetohome Board, asked Chuck to lunch, it was to explain the launch of a unique private/public partnership between Steetohome, the City of Vancouver and the province to address the issue of homelessness in the City.

The goal was ambitious – but if anyone could unite the private sector to get on board, it was Frank, says Chuck. “When he looked me in the eye and told me it was going to happen, I had every certainty that it would.”

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From developer to organic products investor

If anyone knows the importance of a hand-up, it’s David (Divyesh) Gadhia, whose family fled from Uganda’s brutal regime in 1972 when he was 10. He remembers the anxiety his parents felt as immigrants trying to build a new life in a part of the world where they knew no one. He also remembers the community supports available to the family to make their landing just a little bit softer.

“We’re very grateful for the opportunity Canada gave us. We had great access to education, employment and an opportunity to better our lives.”

David with wife Charu

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A lifelong dedication to helping the homeless

When Heather and Lloyd’s lives intersected with homelessness more than 40 years ago – she as a public health nurse working on the downtown eastside; he as a commercial banker working in the city core – they had no idea it would become a lifelong preoccupation.

Over the years, they have become even more passionate, and impatient about solving the issue of homelessness.

“We’re supposed to be a civilized country. We’re an extremely wealthy country, and there’s people living on the streets – that’s completely unacceptable,” says Lloyd, a former CEO of Coast Capital Savings.

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Walking softly, leaving a big imprint

Penny Nardelli, Executive Director, Carraresi Foundation, is accustomed to walking gently in the world, quietly leaving a big imprint in people’s lives through thoughtful and deliberate deeds.

When her friend, the late businesswoman and philanthropist, Virginia Greene asked her to sit on the fledgling Streetohome Board in 2008, she was hesitant to take on such a prominent role.

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