Warren Buffet once said that if you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent. At no time is that truer than now, a time of great tumult and uncertainty especially on the economic side.
Philanthropy is a way for wealthy individuals to create a positive impact on the community and the world around them. That’s especially true if they are causes and organizations that align with an individual’s core values. It’s about leaving a legacy.
And yes for some it’s about tax benefits and enhancing one’s reputation in their respective circles. But giving back to society and helping others can be an immensely rewarding and fulfilling experience. And that’s the ultimate payoff of it.
Philanthropy: Focusing on worthwhile causes like the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto
Regarding Luxury is focusing on worthwhile causes and organizations where individuals can donate their time and money. One of those is the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT), based on Gerrard St. E., in the city’s downtown. NWRCT supports thousands of Indigenous women and their families in the Greater Toronto Area every year.
NWRCT: A safe space for Indigenous women and children
Their programs include offering wrap-around blanket services to address and support basic needs, housing (reducing and preventing homelessness, referrals, provision of resources, furniture, hygiene products). They benefit families (like the Pimaatisiwin Program, promoting the healthy development of children 0-6 years of age, and family support programs that’s all about the stabilization of families), advocacy. And they focus on employment (including programs that assist Indigenous women in building their economic independence through employment training, developing goals, small business supports).
Philanthropy: Tax benefits, but also rewarding and fulfilling
The NWRCT also focuses on education (communication, numeracy, interpersonal and digital skills). People go there to heal from trauma (their community wellness program is focused on reducing family violence, and the Trauma Support program creates innovative approaches to support survivors of sexual violence, harassment and human trafficking). They focus on access to ceremonies and traditional practitioners/healers.
Overall the NWRCT aims to build confidence and capacity within the collective community. They host a variety of cultural activities for their clients and the general public. That includes the Minaake Awards, Sisters In Spirit Vigil, and Winter Solstice.
The NWRCT is a registered charity funded by government programs as well as public and private donations.
“We honour the vision of our founders as we support urban Indigenous women and children from all walks of life,” says Pamela Hart, executive director, NWRCT. “We build self-sufficiency and develop collective capacity to make positive change, and provide individual support, group programming, and cultural initiatives.
“There’s a real responsibility for an indigenous agency like NWRCT, in reaching out to the community. It’s all about giving back, learning, understanding, educating oneself.”
Pandemic reinforced barriers to the community
The needs of Indigenous women are not changing. But the awareness of those needs certainly is, Ms. Hart adds.
“On the front lines of our community, we continue to see the consequences of residential schools, first contact, systemic racism and MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls),” she says. “We continue to see the harm and danger our women face each day. We see the systems that continue to fail the women and will continue to cause harm. These are systems that are not inherently ours and were designed with intent to eliminate the community.
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“The pandemic has had deep impacts and has reinforced barriers to the community yet we strive and grow and offer balance and beauty to society.”
What was needed coming out of the pandemic were opportunities for reconnection to things like ceremony and culture. There was a need for a place for women to build confidence, and to strengthen the family unit.
NWRCT is that place, offering a safe and supportive space for the community to gather and be rightfully themselves and reconnect to one another’s culture and spirit.