Royal LePage Shelter Foundation
In 1979, the Royal LePage Charitable Foundation was established with an endowment of $1.4 million. Since that time, the company has donated over $2.3 million to many different charities working in communities across Canada. This contribution has been supplemented by many individual acts of kindness by Royal LePage offices and sales representatives in their local communities.
In 1998, Royal LePage recognized the potential for making an even more significant impact by focusing all of its national and local efforts on a single cause. This approach would enable the development of long-lasting relationships and build a common base of experience and knowledge that could be shared to the advantage of the charitable partners as well as the Royal LePage offices in their work in the community.
Royal LePage Shelter Foundation
The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation emerged from a national survey sent out to all offices. The Royal LePage sales force indicated that the cause of shelters most closely reflected their choice of where Royal LePage should concentrate its charitable efforts.
Given the variety of types of shelters, the Foundation decided to support designated shelters based on a three-year cycle. The national survey also indicated that a number of offices had developed partnerships with their local shelter for women and children fleeing violence and abuse. The first three-year focus starting in 1999, therefore centres on shelters for women and children fleeing violence and abuse. In each community where Royal LePage operates, the local office has been partnered with the local women's shelter. Existing partnerships with women's shelters continue to thrive, and new relationships have been developed thanks to our partnership with the Canadian Women's Foundation.
The Canadian Women's Foundation is Canada's only national public foundation dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls through economic and social change. Since 1991, the Foundation has raised funds and made grants to charitable projects that help achieve self-reliance through economic independence and freedom from violence.
Shelters for assaulted women are also often called transition houses. They offer short-term accommodation for women and their children who need to leave their homes because of actual or threatened abuse. Often a woman arrives at a shelter in an emergency situation, having left home because she fears for her own and her children's safety.
The first shelter for assaulted women was started in Canada 25 years ago. Many others have started operating in the past 10 to 15 years. A number are quite new and they usually have fewer resources and greater difficulty accessing government support.
While most shelters are funded to some extent by government, shelters for assaulted women are not a government service. They are almost all charitable/ non-profit organizations.
Commitment of financial and human resources support
In 1998, Royal LePage announced that it would raise $1M towards the cause of shelters for women and children fleeing violence and abuse. The funds are raised at two levels:
- Head office activities, a contribution from the endowment, and other national initiatives, including donations through the United Way campaign, support the national grants program;
- All local funds raised through special events and a commission-based donation arrangement by sales agents go directly to the local shelter partner.
In addition, Royal LePage employees and sales representatives have developed unique ways of working with their local shelter partners. The help organize events, sell tickets, form moving committees that help a woman and her children move out of the shelter, and record public service announcements speaking out against violence.
In order to make a longer-term impact on the issue of shelters, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation supports grants for violence prevention and awareness programs. This is done in partnership with The Body Shop Canada and the Canadian Pacific Charitable Foundation using an innovative model for strategic corporate philanthropy developed by the Canadian Women's Foundation.
Under this model, the corporate partners who all support national violence prevention and awareness, work with the Canadian Women's Foundation to coordinate their grant-making. Charitable groups apply through one process to access the funding available and the corporate partners can make grants that balance national projects and priorities with available resources.
Locally, funds are generated by neighborhood initiatives and programs, such as golf tournaments and charity auctions. In addition, commission-based donations are made by sales representatives, and are used directly to support the local shelter. Each Royal LePage office also develops unique ways to support their local shelter. Examples include a Household Donations Program, through which agents accept unwanted furniture and goods from clients who are moving and direct it to shelters in need.