south etobicoke community group

Toronto neighbourhood comes up with creative way to raise $20k for local charities

The South Etobicoke Community Group raised money for local charities while supporting small businesses this holiday season. 

Graham Rowlands, organizer of the fundraiser, says it all began as an initiative to support organizations that really make a difference in their community. It was a month-long initiative, ending on December 15.

Over 30 local businesses donated their services and products to be auctioned off in exchange for exposure. Then, in a sort of advent calendar-like way, an item or two was auctioned off every day over the course of a month. 

This included dozens of products like gift baskets from Great Lakes Brewery and gift cards to Mooring Eats.

The person with the highest bid received the product, in exchange for donating all of the money to one of six local charities.

Rowlands says he set it up this way to be a win-win situation, with the businesses, charities and community members all receiving something in the end. 

Christine Boeck Wallace and her husband began a new business during COVID-19 and told blogTO that it was a scary time to start. However, she said the South Etobicoke Community and its initiatives have been amazing in supporting them and helping bring in clients.

Through the kindness of people in the community, the group was able to donate over $20,000, with an anonymous donor matching the first $10,000 raised. 

"When you raise up the community from the bottom up, it helps everyone as a whole and really helps the people that need it the most. I am hoping to inspire others to do things like this as well. And I think these kinds of positive things have a ripple effect," said Rowlands.

Photos by

Hector Vasquez

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