Update to Services in consideration of COVID-19: In consideration of provincial and federal guidelines, Gift Funds Canada will have limited staff and office hours starting in September, 2020. We will continue to provide full services to our donors and the charities that they support, but it may take us longer than usual as we accommodate the current procedures. Please send gift information to gifts@giftfunds.com and grant requests to grants@giftfunds.com

Please send all other general inquiries via email to contactus@giftfunds.com and we'll direct them to the most appropriate staff member who will reply as soon as possible by phone or email. Please know that we will do everything we can to continue to serve you and the organizations that depend on grants from your funds. Take care.

The Importance of Social Justice Philanthropy and What to Consider Before Donating

Social justice philanthropy is a hot topic in the news, on social media, and among donors. Ignited by important and in some cases tragic events, marches, rallies, and global conversations have brought awareness and support to issues that affect many aspects of society.

Celebrities and athletes such as Canadian former speed skater, Anastasia Bucsis have used their influence to speak out on issues they are passionate about. Even the NBA has announced it will support athletes who choose to personalize their jerseys to promote social justice issues or charitable causes.

Beyond the media spotlight, many donors have been inspired to support social justice causes by directing their philanthropy to the dozens of Canadian charities that focus on addressing social justice issues. There are also many individuals taking this time of heightened awareness to learn more about social justice issues in their community and determine how they can contribute philanthropically. This article can help donors and their advisors make an informed decision when determining where to direct their support.

Identifying Social Justice Charities

A great place to start is understanding that social justice charities focus on the root causes of social, racial, economic, and environmental injustices. This means that when a donor makes a gift to a social justice charity, they are supporting the work of addressing the root causes of the problem, not the symptoms of that problem. For example, imagine a community with widespread asthma due to air pollution from a nearby bus depot. A social justice charity would seek new regulations for bus idling and emissions as opposed to funding medical treatment for people with asthma. In this case the distinction is subtle but important when planning where to donate.

Consider the People Involved

Another key consideration for donors looking to support a social justice charity is the people involved in the organization’s work. Social justice charities often strive to include the people who are impacted by the injustices and include them as leaders and decision-makers. This type of inclusive model has become the standard among many charities in Canada and is a sound way to ensure the appropriate perspectives are able to contribute.

Investigate an Organization’s Financial Standing

All registered charities and charitable organizations in Canada are recognized by the Canadian Revenue Agency, and must make their financial information—including tax, expenses and granting—available to the public.

Donors can work with their advisor to compare these financial details to other charities to see, from a dollars-to-dollars perspective, which social justice charities are making the biggest impact. If the organization doesn’t disclose their financial information on their website or in a printed publication, donors can ask for it. This is particularly important if a donor is considering a gift to a granting charity or foundation to ensure their donation is supporting the charitable cause intended.

Discuss the giving options

Once a donor knows which area of social justice they wish to donate to, it’s time to discuss giving options. One option is to establish a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), which can provide several advantages to the donor. A DAF allows donors to create a low cost, flexible instrument for charitable giving as an alternative to giving directly to a foundation, which may not be able to be as responsive as a DAF.

When a donor works with a reputable charitable organization like Gift Funds Canada, they can set up a charitable giving fund and donate to any registered charity in Canada they choose. This ensures their donations are supporting the change they wish to see in their community.

At the same time, a DAF provides the donor with administrative convenience, cost savings, and tax advantages by conducting their grant making through the fund. Advisors can benefit from professional support and expertise from the knowledgeable professionals at Gift Funds Canada.

Social justice philanthropy is an inspiring charitable space because of its aim for systemic change. Donors interested in contributing to a cause of this nature would be well served to work with their advisor and do their homework about the mission, people, and financials of any charitable organizations before writing a cheque. This will ensure every dollar donated will contribute to a better society for all.