There has been a lot of debate recently about how and to what extent corporations should be allowed to fund community initiatives. City Hall is currently ablaze with lobbying and ambivalence as we draw nearer to City Council’s vote on land transfer and vehicle ownership taxes, a decision that could easily blow the door open to more private sponsorship of community services and public space.
Meanwhile, over three hundred volunteers from twenty companies, including Molson and Home Depot, who are involved with Volunteer Canada’s corporate council will be taking part in a unique form of corporate philanthropy on Friday as they renovate and repair a community centre in Regent Park. Unlike the controversial sponsorships of Nuit Blanche and skating rinks in December, participants will not just be dropping some cash on the table and heading back to the office to see what kind of slogan mash-ups the media can come up with for their headlines; they’re actually going out and doing the renovations themselves.Though the materials are being supplied by Home Depot, we have been assured that no ads for bathroom fixtures and kitchen countertops will adorn the newly-painted walls of the community centre. The only brand that will be visible at the event is Volunteer Canada, which has partnered with the the businesses.
Somebody’s got to get this stuff done, and this initiative means that over three hundred people will be investing a day’s worth of labour into a high-priority neighborhood building. We’ll drink to that.