Staples Gives Almost $200k to Five Canadian Charities

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Five Canadian charities will split $150,000 USD ($196,442 CAD) as part of office supply retailer Staples' 2 Million & Change worldwide program, which directs funding to non-profit organizations focused on education or job skills.

The charitable initiative allows associates to vote on and direct funding to eligible registered charities across 24 countries. In 2016, six selected charities in Canada shared a total of $150,000 (USD), and globally the program donated more than $2 million (USD) to 1,000 non-profit organizations.

In Canada, where Staples has 11,000 employees and 304 retail locations, it split its donations five ways: each of the East, West and Ontario regions all select a charity of their choice, as do Staples' Richmond Hill corporate division and its separate contract business division. Associates in each region vote on the charity they'd like to donate to.

"In Ontario it was Children's Aid Foundation who received $25,000 ($32,752 CAD) and the Boys & Girls Club of Canada received $20,000 ($26,202 CAD)," Nina Sampat, national director of operations and a board member for the Staples Foundation, tells Samaritanmag. "Kids Help Phone received $25,000 ($32,752 CAD) and that was in the West, and it also received an additional $20,000 ($26,202 CAD) because that was the vote for the Richmond Hill region, that charity was a double winner.

"What we do is the funds actually go into that region, so when we work with these charities we want to make sure it's the Boys & Girls Club East, the funds that we give them, that when we give them that $20,000 it's going into that Eastern region that our associates chose. Into their community. And then we had Pathways To Education Canada and they got $10,000 ($13,301 CDN). And for our North American contract team, they awarded $25,000 ($32,752 CDN) towards Breakfast For Learning."

These organizations all further Staples' goals of supporting education and job skill development.

The Children’s Aid Foundation funds programs that give Canada’s most neglected, vulnerable kids the support they need to reinvent their lives. The organization does things like provide post-secondary education grants, supports young families through its Prevention & Early Intervention Fund and teams up with former Toronto Blue Jays star Joe Carter for the Joe Carter Family Support Fund to help vulnerable youth people get access to opportunities.

At Boys and Girls Clubs in Canada the goal is to "provide a safe, supportive place where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life." Its many diverse programs cover things like childhood obesity, safety, poverty and hunger, bullying, low self-esteem, academic failure and youth crime, all with the goal of children growing up to be healthy, successful and active participants in society.

Established in 1989, Kids Help Phone Canada’s only 24/7 counselling and information service for young people. Young people in need can contact professional counsellors via phone or messaging app to provide confidential assistance.

Pathways To Education helps youth from low income communities graduate from high school and prepare for post-secondary or employment training.

Since 2001, Pathways to Education has been helping youth from low-income communities to graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education, training, or employment. Pathways does things like provide after-school tutoring, mentoring, and financial assistance to address the barriers young people may face in their progress.

The goal of Breakfast For Learning is "to ensure all children and youth in Canada attend school well nourished, improving their ability to learn, giving them the best chance of success in life." Active in more than 1,600 schools, this national program children is focused on helping children's nutritional needs.

Letting its associates choose the charity they want to direct money towards is important to Staples.

"The associates don't have to pay a penny out of pocket," says Sampat. "This is really coming from a corporate funding. Most corporations will fund certain charities. But rather than the top executives deciding where that funding is going to go, we tell our associates to tell us.

"We want to make a difference to communities and charities that are important to our associates. So by helping and asking what's important to them, we feel that we're hopefully giving them an environment that they feel like we really care about the communities and the charities that are important to them."

Staples also has a number of other charitable endeavors.  Staples Share Fund helps employees who've suffered "severe financial assistance due to significant qualifying events such as: natural disasters, catastrophic personal events or other circumstances beyond their control." Additionally, the company has been a strong supporter of the Special Olympics

Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.