Moving into a new place often comes with housewarming gifts, but rarely does it come with a gift from the real estate development company that constructed your building — much less a charitable gift that empowers you to give back to your new community.
Such was the case for the 177 new owners at Bosa Properties’ Promontory development at Bayview Place in Victoria this fall. Through Chimp, Bosa gave each owner a charitable gift of $150 to give to any Canadian charity of their choice.
“Charitable giving is part of the Bosa family’s values and is embedded in our family culture,” said Sylvia Bosa, who runs the Bosa Properties Foundation. “We’ve been giving in strategic focus areas to make a high-impact difference, but we wanted to find a way to engage homeowners and residents to help better the community by giving back. We hadn’t found a way to do that until Chimp came along.”
A Sampling of Bosa Properties Foundation Projects
Bosa Properties Foundation supports a number of community initiatives focused on children and youth, and healthy food programs. Here are a few examples:
Clubhouse 36 Program: This Surrey School District program provides programming to vulnerable students in fine arts, cooking, sports, engineering, science, and extra academic support. Bosa Properties Foundation is providing the funding for the food served to participants for the next three years.
Community Garden at Bosa False Creek: Bosa Properties Foundation partnered with Can You Dig It – a non-profit organization promoting urban agriculture and creating meaningful networks within the community — to create a rooftop garden at the Bosa False Creek rental building. The garden is cultivated by residents, and a portion of the yield is contributed to food depots to help those in need.
Surrey Urban Mission: The Surrey Urban Mission serves hundreds of people needing a meal, a place to live or someone to talk to. The Bosa Properties Foundation provided additional funding to build a commercial grade kitchen that has allowed the Mission to provide 1200-1500 meals per week as well as to run community kitchen programs.
Early Entrepreneurs Startup Skool, Vancouver: The Bosa Properties Foundation is sponsoring 12 students to attend Early Entrepreneurs, a week-long summer camp for vulnerable youth ages 9-12 this summer. Equipped with a crash course on entrepreneurship, students will learn how to think critically, problem solve, and generate ideas.
Children of the Street: The Bosa Properties Foundation provided funding to produce an online series of educational videos to help parents learn how to keep their children safe in the face of online sexual exploitation.
Crisis Centre of BC and School District Partnership: The Bosa Properties Foundation has provided funding for a two-year comprehensive crisis and suicide prevention plan providing high school, middle and elementary teachers and counsellors the capacity to respond to crisis and suicide.
RainCity Housing Society: The Bosa Properties Foundation’s contribution to RainCity Housing went toward purchasing 42 new beds at the facility; funding the Homeless Outreach Program for those living on the Downtown Eastside by providing meals and covering transportation costs to medical clinics; and funding community kitchen nights at three housing projects.
How the Promontory Giveaway Worked
The Promontory giveaway is the first time Bosa Properties has given directly to residents and opened up giving to a wider range of charities than it usually supports. Each resident received an email inviting them to sign up for a free Chimp Account, containing $150 they could give to any registered Canadian charity of their choice. “We’ve gotten some great messages back from a number of our purchasers,” said Sarah Yada Seto, responsible for marketing for the Bosa Properties Foundation.
Steve Bailey, a small business owner in electronic security systems sales and installations, and one of the new residents who received $150 charitable dollars, said he was surprised by the donation. “I’m sure it’s something they didn’t have to do, or could have done on a much more limited basis. I was also surprised by the way they did it,” he added. “Allowing each owner to choose their charity probably minimized their opportunities for publicity in the general public, but it also maximizes the opportunity to do the most good in the community which is terrific.”
Bosa’s Legacy of Giving
The $25,000 Bosa Properties gave to owners was just a small part of the $177,000 the company gave to charity in association with the Promontory project. “We donated $1,000 from the sale of every home,” Bosa said.
The Bosa family established its Foundation to give in the areas it is passionate about: children and youth, and healthy food programs. “My Dad, who founded the company, is very community-focused,” Bosa said. “He is passionate about food issues, and believes that without a full stomach, people simply aren’t able to function. And family members are consistently passionate about children and youth. We believe you can really change a child’s life, so we work to find out about key issues in the communities we’re involved in, and to work with organizations that can help.”
While empowering residents to join them in giving was a first, it’s an approach Bosa Properties plans to repeat. And the outcome may be more far-reaching than it imagined. “This was a great opportunity to do something, rather than just think about it, and so I added funds to those provided by Bosa,” said Bailey, who decided to use his donation to support the current refugee crisis.
“I was very happy to be introduced to the Chimp concept and website because I think it will inspire me to act when I feel the impulse to give,” Bailey continued. “A wide range of charities are represented, payment is easy and can easily be made anonymous (which is my preference in most cases), and tax receipts are issued immediately. I also like that I can ask people to contribute to my Chimp Account rather than giving me gifts on special occasions.”
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