Giving Tuesday

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then? Giving Tuesday, of course. At the end of the year and during the holiday season, many charities rely on getting the bulk of their funding from the public.

In Ottawa, many charities are still recovering from the great Phoenix Sideswipe, so giving is that much more important.

If you give during the year, thank you. If you are looking for a list of charities to give to, every city has a list. I will include at the end of this list a group of charities that I either support, or have supported in the past.

Remember the gift itself doesn’t have to be only cash, it can be securities, but it can also be your talents. Phone up the charity and ask if they need help. If you have a specific skill that you think can help, offer that skill, there are many ways to help out a Charity.

If you are volunteer, Thank You as well. Your good works are appreciated, even if you aren’t always told that. Maybe we should call Wednesday Thank You Volunteer Wednesday?

Giving Tuesday Charities

Here is a list of a few interesting charities in Ottawa you can help out with a donation:


Giving Tuesday My List

I really don’t buy into the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and such tom-foolery, but Giving Tuesday is something I can get behind. There are many wonderful charities that need your help, and for those unsure here is a short list you could use. Make sure you give to them and not over arching “charities”, they take too much for Management Fees.

Giving Tuesday

Charities that Need Your Help:

You shouldn’t really need a specific day to give, Charity is an important part of any financial plan. It is also near the end of the year, money you give now counts towards this years taxes! Keep that in mind. You could give Charity as a Christmas gift too.



Payroll Donations at Work

As an employee of the government every year the GCWCC canvasses employees to set up payroll donations for the charities of their choice. The past few years those donations have been lower due to the Phoenix Pay system issues.

I have participated in this program for many years, but I suspect this year will be my last for a few reasons.

The primary reason is the overhead charged by the United Way to administer this program for the Government. The program has negotiated a lowering of the normal fees the United Way takes 26% or higher of money donated.

Payroll Donations

Currently the Government program claims to only be losing 15% (up to a maximum of $750 per year) to United Way management fees.

The 15% fee is not exactly what you think either. My Church did a bit of research and in fact, because I want to donate using a “payroll donation”, there is an “additional 5% adjustment due to “pledge loss”. This means 20% of the money I  give will get scraped off for admin fees.

My Payroll Donations Plans for Next Year

I realize that charities have overhead costs, but this fee schedule is too much. To scrape over 20% from a donation, is a non-starter for me. Next year I will simply give directly and figure out a way to do pay roll donations in a more roundabout way (i.e. putting money in a separate account, and make donations quarterly to specific charities).

The business of charity always upsets me. I have learned enough about it that I keep wondering why does it cost so much to try to help people ?


Phoenix Pay System Side Swipe

As most Canadians hear every few weeks, the pay  system for the federal Civil Service has been updated, and the new system (called Phoenix) has had many problems, which has caused many serious problems for Civil Servants. These issues are being addressed, but there are still many issues with the new system. I am not affected by this system.

Folks have had to declare bankruptcy, have seen their credit rating destroyed, defaulted on mortgages, and many other serious issues. Who is to blame? I won’t touch on that point, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

phoenix pay system

One of the side effects is that the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign has suffered. Most Civil Servants are petrified to make any change that would cause their Phoenix profile to change. Evidently profile changes have caused Phoenix Issues (like stoppage of pay, wild changes in pay levels, etc.,).

Charities Paying the Price

This paralysis of profiles has meant that folks have not enrolled in the GCWCC or increased their charitable donations either. Many folks haven’t done this because they are recovering from Phoenix Issues, but still more are just afraid of what the changes might cause.

Let us hope the pay system issues with Phoenix are resolved (I say that both as a taxpayer and a Civil Servant) soon. I know the charities in Ottawa are hoping for resolution soon as well.


An Easter Story: The Leather Coat

Sometimes some interesting stories happen around me that I like passing on in this forum. I am recounting this Easter story to show that for all the complaining about the youth, I think the world will be in good hands when we old farts finally move on.

On Ash Wednesday this year, our Church ran its typical activity day (where the kids come and learn about Lent, Ash Wednesday and Easter), and a few other parishes also participated (my wife helps run these).

One of the activities for the high school kids (who take the day off school) is to go down to one of the Churches in the Ottawa Core, where there is a “lunch club” where folks of modest means (and many homeless people) come to have lunch, and have somewhere to “be.”  The teenagers from our churches went to help out at the lunchroom and to get maybe a glimpse of how some people have to live.

A few of the teenagers brought their coats in and hung them up, and unfortunately, one of the coats went missing after lunch. The kids hung up their coats in an “if you need one take one. If you have one, leave one” area of the closet, so a lovely leather coat went missing. The jacket that disappeared was a treasured family keepsake (it had been the young man’s grandfather). There was a lot of rushing around to find the coat, but it was gone.

The kids returned to our Church, and our minister got the whole story, so he took the young man aside to talk to him about the missing coat. When our minister asked the young man if he was upset about the coat going missing, the young man’s only response was, “… at least someone will have a warm coat to wear tonight …”.

My Feelings

This is astounding. A kid who could have whined, complained, blamed, or been upset about the loss viewed the coat for what it most likely had become, a gift to someone who might need something warm to wear.

An astounding young man

Note: I feel I can repeat this story because our minister spoke about it in his sermon.


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