The Million Dollar Pledge
How YOU can be a part of this socially conscious idea that helps connect business with giving back!
In my twenties I worked one-on-one with young offenders in Vancouver, BC, supporting their transition from jail into the community – I was planning to follow my mom’s lead and head into a career in social work. I enjoyed the work but found it was hard to advocate for clients while on the front line.
At the same time, I was working as a fitness trainer and had a number of clients who were successful business owners. It was through these clients, who became good friends, that I had my first glimpse into the impact a person can make as a business leader. I saw first-hand how business leadership had the ability to amplify a person’s voice. It became clear to me that my new path, and passion, would be to exercise my voice through entrepreneurship.
The big pull for me, and for many entrepreneurs, is not primarily making money but to make a difference while creating a livelihood for my family.
Fast forward to 2016. The coaching company that I founded, Vision Coaching, was well established and I had just become the co-host, with Greg Hemmings, of the Boiling Point Podcast – a podcast for the ever-evolving entrepreneur and forward-thinking movement pioneer. Greg & I were interviewing inspiring leaders from around the world. We were also interviewing countless business leaders who were focused on “doing business for good” – including many BCorp companies. After each inspiring interview with a values-driven business leader, I found I was asking myself, “How is Vision Coaching giving back in an impactful way?!”
Well, my answer came to me as I was grinding it out on my stationary bike in the Spring of 2017 – I find most of my ideas surface while exercising! I was listening to a fabulous podcast on effective altruism when it hit me – I need to engage like-minded business leaders using an existing framework to form an investment club with a focus on helping vetted non-profits agencies do their magic. By ‘their magic’, I mean how these agencies support vulnerable children & families. The idea was that, together, we could amplify our voice and our impact.
The statistics in our region around child poverty, violence against girls and literacy are heartbreaking. And The Million Dollar Pledge was born to be part of the solution to help turn these statistics around – it’s a comprehensive charitable giving plan that aims to have at least 10 socially-conscious business leaders commit $10,000 a year for 10 years…that’s 1 million dollars!
How the Million Dollar Pledge
came to life
One call to Wendy McDermott, Executive Director at the United Way, and we had a strong partner who would administer and direct our funds. The United Way Saint John, Kings & Charlotte will help our group of businesses figure out how and where to invest the funds. They work with charities and organizations every day on how to best address pressing social issues like child poverty, violence against children and low workforce participation. And one by one, other businesses have come on board – we have nine committed to date!
According to the Federation of Independent Business, 98% of small businesses want to give back but don’t know where or how. We believe we have a solution!
The Million Dollar Pledge is different from other forms of corporate giving and that’s resonating with people. Participants are pledging $10,000 a year, but I think what’s appealing to a lot of business leaders is that you get a seat at the table in terms of having a conversation about where exactly the money is invested. Participants get to see the outcomes these agencies are having and get to invest the money where they think it’s going to have the biggest social impact and the best return on their investment.
An exciting early development is that the idea of The Million Dollar Pledge is being picked up on outside of our region. There is a group starting up a similar initiative in Charlottetown, PEI and we’re thrilled!
We now have 12 partners on board, pledging $10,000/year: Hemmings House Pictures, InteliSys, Mrs. Dunster’s, Spartan Systems, Teed Saunders Doyle, Porpoise, Domino’s, Aquila Tours and Town Health Solutions, Scott McCain, Vision Coaching and an anonymous donor.