Taking a page out of Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s COVID-19 songbook, “Clean hands, clear heads, open hearts,” is the individual and community-based response to the pandemic. It is also how we look at the philanthropic response.

Resulting from the medical instruction and public awareness of Flattening the Curve actions like self-isolation and social distancing cities are now closing down community and rec centres, schools and libraries. These are places where people not only congregated for social and physical activities, but also where they had some of their basic needs met. Many of these spaces are charities and fill more than just a programmatic need. We have received a few emails about what communities need by way of philanthropic support. We look at philanthropy from an ecosystem perspective – traditional giving, ethical consumerism, and volunteering. “Clean Hands, Clear Heads and Open Hearts” is the mantra for supporting your neighbour during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Six things you can do:

  1. Have tickets to a show that has been cancelled? Instead of asking for a refund, please consider transferring that ticket value into a donation to that organization.
  2. Global Giving and Canada Helps have each created a COVID-19 fund distributing dollars raised to a number of organizations internationally. You can find those funds along with other special projects on their websites. Note – it is up to you, the donor to review and assess the effectiveness of these projects. This post does not serve as an endorsement. 
  3. Do a grocery or pharmacy run for someone who is in quarantine/self-isolation. For some kids the schools were the one hot meal they got in a day. Consider reaching out to organizations like Breakfast Club, Meals on Wheels, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, I Can for Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs, to support their food distribution programs. You can also contact your local school board to find out which organizations they have partnered with.
  4. Consider buying local. Support the independent grocer or co-operative. Perhaps, hire a caterer to prepare and package a meal for you and your family, or a friend in quarantine. Buy gift cards for your favourite restaurants; this allows them to have continued cash-flow, and you a place to celebrate when gathering together is permitted. Most Chambers of Commerce have a list of local business members if you are looking for businesses to support.
  5. Call the older folks in your network. Social isolation for seniors is a growing mental health issue. This demographic is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, so it is important that we check-in and let people know that we are available to chat, even if it is through the phone or computer.
  6. Over-purchased toilet-paper and hand sanitizer? Please consider re-distributing these items to locations where our more vulnerable or marginalized folks are. Drop off hand sanitizer at shelters, and giving the TP to the food bank for distribution in hampers.

If you have other ideas, please share them on this post. 

From all of us at Karma & Cents we wish you well.