This is the mission of the Canada Post Community Foundation. Bet you didn’t know our postal service had a foundation. I didn’t know until I posted a package today and was asked if I wanted to contribute to children’s charities. It was such a generic ask compared to what is normally presented at retail, and the young clerk and I had an interesting chat about positioning and where Santa letters fit in.
I got home and did some digging. Turns out that canadapost.ca/community is the online home for the foundation. The current President and CEO of Canada Post, Deepak Chopra (not the famous one), is listed as one of the 4 trustees of the Foundation with the VP Government Relations/Policy, VP Communications/Public Affairs and one outsider as the remaining trustees. The site refers to the former Canada Post Foundation for Mental Illness & Mental Health, which was established in April 2008. So I guess with new management comes a new direction.
Information on the site is thin, news item (there is only one) is undated, but funding is covered enough to let folks apply. They take applications in February and support these areas:
• create lasting change for children
• programming supporting healthy children
• building safe, kid-friendly communities
• services for children and youth with special needs and their families
It’s interesting that they specifically do not support sports teams but do support a variety of school projects. Also no operational or admin funding, fundraising activities, research, faith based groups or conferences.
Looking at the financials, the $2million fund comes mostly (75%) from retail sales (stamps) and 15% from employees. The recent grant recipients are online and they’ve done a pretty good job of providing information on those, although links to the organizations might be useful. Looks like grants range from about $5k to $65k, with many of them receiving $65k.
Canada Post is not the only enterprise to have its own foundation for giving. Within organizations there’s often an overlap between United Way campaigns, departmental or employee driven fundraising and the organization’s central foundation with employees being squeezed in middle. As a consumer, being asked at retail to support an organization’s charity drive is not uncommon, but I think Canada Post has some catching up to do in refining the message and raising awareness that they’re in it for the kids.