Think-tank wants governments to launch donation-matching programs for charities

A Hamilton think-tank is calling on the government to help charities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cardus, a non-partisan, faith-based think tank and registered charity, says it would like to see all provinces, including Ontario, and the federal government establish dollar-for-dollar donation matching programs after Alberta became the first province to do this week.

“The draw on charities is the highest when the economic situation is at its lowest,” says Brian Dijkema, the vice-president of external affairs at Cardus. “The challenge in this particular case, though, is that charities are also finding it the toughest to draw and raise funds that they need to provide those services. So we think there’s an opportunity for the government and society to play a role.”

On Sunday, Alberta promised to match dollar-for-dollar up to $2 million in charitable donations to the non-profit sector.

“It’s a small amount but, it’s a start. It sort of breaks the seal on this concept,” said Dijkema.

“So anytime somebody gives a dollar to the food bank – there are a number of charities that are listed – the government is going to put in an extra dollar,” he added. “That’s excellent. That’s exactly what type of policy we’ve been calling for, but that’s just one province. And ideally, we’d have the feds do it, as well.”

Cardus is also calling on private citizens and the private sector to set up dollar-for-dollar matching donation

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For example, Gore Mutual, a finance company, has partnered with Canada Helps, an online charity that helps fundraising, to match funds donated up to $2 million.

“Whenever it’s known that, for every dollar you give, that somebody else is going to give two dollars or one dollar, that giving goes up and it goes up in a big way,” says Dijkema.

Cardus says according to Imagine Canada, an umbrella charities association, Canadian charities may lose between $9.5 billion and $15.7 billion, and lay off between 118,000 and 194,000 workers this year.

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