As Advent begins and our year comes to a beginning and an end, it’s time for my annual sharing of ideas for sharing our abundance with charities that do something to directly help others while seeking to make broader social change. Most of the charities have a link on their website to make donations on line, but all welcome donations through the mail. Several of these charities I’ve been on the board of; others are ones who do unique work that I support. Not all of the groups I suggest supporting are charities—OCAP isn’t, for example—but all could use your financial support.
1. St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society . 138 Pears Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 1T2.
St. Clare’s still seeks ways to develop new affordable housing efforts while continuing to provide affordable housing to people, most of whom come as a result of referrals from agencies working directly with the homeless, marginalized and difficult to house. St. Clare’s grew out of Toronto Action for Social Change, which organised a number of creative protests during the Harris years. More information can be found at: http://stclares.ca/
2. FoodShare Toronto. 90 Croatia Street, Toronto, ON M6H 1K9.
From the good food box programme to community gardening to advocating for sustainable food policies, FoodShare works hard to make sure that social justice includes what is on the table. More information can be found at: http://www.foodshare.net/ As Foodshare has a number of social enterprises, it helps to make a note on cheques that the funds are for a donation.
3. Rooftops Canada. 720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 313, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2T9
Rooftops Canada, the international development arm of Canadian co-operative and non-profit housing movements, works with overseas partners in countries from the Baltic Sea to Zimbabwe to “improve housing conditions, build sustainable communities and develop a shared vision of equitable global development. “ Rooftops initiatives range from capacity building to microfinance. More information can be found at: http://www.rooftops.ca/
4. Canadian Alternative Investment Foundation (CAIF),
CSI Regent Park,
585 Dundas St East, 3rd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5A 2B7.
CAIF evolved from the Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative (CAIC), which does social investing on behalf of Canadian charities. CAIF is a charitable foundation which will be providing grants and loans to charitable organisations involved in community initiatives that further the vision of CAIC’s founders. More information can be found at http://www.caifoundation.ca/
5. CHFT Charitable Fund, 658 Danforth Avenue, Suite 306, Toronto, ON, M4J 5B9
The CHFT Charitable Fund is a project of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto. Its programmes have ranged from diversity scholarships to support for the Green Roof initiative at Hugh Garner Housing Co-operative to a basketball court at Atkinson Co-op. More information can be found at: chft.coop/charitable/
6. Student Christian Movement of Canada 310 Dupont Street, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M5R 1V9
The SCM “is a youth- and student-led grassroots network passionate about social justice, community in diversity, and radical faith in action.” From social justice pilgramages to worship resources, SCM has spent over a century exploring new ways to make the world better for all. More information can be found at http://www.scmcanada.org/
Over the years I have also supported the following organisations that are more activist than charitable in focus. These include:
7. Christian Peacemaker Teams.
In the USA:
CPT, PO Box 6508; Chicago IL 60680-6508
CPT, 25 Cecil Street, Unit 310; Toronto, ON M5T 1N1
CPT sends delegations to places of conflict to be a practical resource for non-violence and a witness to the world of violence and injustice. From Columbia to Iraq to first nations in Canada, CPT delegations have been a hopeful presence in many places around the world. For more information see http://www.cpt.org/
8. Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. 157 Carlton Street, Unit 206,
From direct action casework to solidarity with imprisoned refugee claimants to walking picket lines, OCAP activists are a strong voice for economic and social justice. For more information http://www.ocap.ca/
9. Wilderness Committee. P.O. Box 2205, Station Terminal, Vancouver, BC V6B 3W2
The Wilderness Committee is a mainstream but persistent voice for wilderness and endangered species. In addition to political campaigns, they are a good source of fair trade goods not found elsewhere. For more information see http://wildernesscommittee.org/home
10. Peace Brigades Canada. 145 Spruce Street, Suite 206, Ottawa, ON K1R 6P1
Peace Brigades Canada is a part of a global network of activists who work with human rights activists in places of conflict. From Nepal to Mexico, Peace Brigades volunteers have accompanied human rights workers as the eyes of the world. For more information see http://www.pbicanada.org/
The above is not an exhaustive list. I donate monthly to Interval House and the Christian Resource Centre. I support the work of Homes Not Bombs. In the past many organisations including The Canadian Friends Service Committee, Elizabeth Fry Society and Amnesty International had me among their regular donors. However, I think my top 10 represent a range of places, from social investing to radical peacemaking, that are my priorities at the end of 2013.