By Victoria Emslie
NICOLA WEALTH MANAGEMENT has always strived to be an active member in our communities, locally and internationally – not only as a company but also in how we facilitate our staff and clients’ philanthropic goals. This newsletter is intended to inspire the culture of giving through sharing client stories and highlighting charities and causes.
Collectively, we maximize the impact of our individual efforts and initiate change.
NWM Client Philanthropist Q&A
Our clients are as PASSIONATE about MAKING CHANGE as we are. Meet one of our clients who have embraced philanthropy and be inspired by their story.
When Chip and Shannon Wilson first stepped foot in Ethiopia, it appeared untouched for 2,000 years. The village had limited infrastructure, nearly no technology, and a glaring need for improvements in the floundering education system. The Wilsons felt a goal coming on…
Q HOW DID YOU FIRST GET STARTED IN PHILANTHROPY?
A Well, at one point, my wife and I had nothing…and then we had a lot all at one time. Being entrepreneurs, rather than donating money to an organization and trusting them to do the work, we decided to put $10 million and start imagine1day, a charity which focuses on developing education in Ethiopia. This way, we could control the charity and manage it like a business.
Q WHY EDUCATION IN ETHIOPIA? WHAT SORT OF DUE DILIGENCE DID YOU PERFORM PRIOR TO INVESTING IN THAT COUNTRY?
A Once we decided that we were going to do the work ourselves, we spent a year asking a lot of questions and talking to a lot of people. We
hired a leader from World Vision who brought his experience in running a large charity.
We chose Ethiopia because it had the most stable government in Africa. Our visions and goals aligned, and the government demonstrated their commitment to those goals by allocating 25% of their budget to education.
From a business standpoint, Ethiopia had the best ROI. We felt that because of the government’s contribution, every dollar we put in would make a bigger impact.
Q NOW THAT IMAGINE1DAY IS ESTABLISHED, DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CHARITABLE INITIATIVES?
A We cover all of the administration costs out of the initial $10M. For 10 years, the charity has lived off the interest from the initial $10M. This ensures every dollar raised goes directly to the kids in Ethiopia.
After building a school, we work with them for approximately three years, setting them up to be sustainable businesses. We provide desks and teacher education; we bring in water and build latrines for girls; we even introduce agricultural programs for cattle, growing fruit trees, and producing honey.
Q IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE MAKING QUITE AN IMPACT! HOW DO YOU SET AND EVALUATE YOUR PHILANTHROPIC GOALS?
A We are big on setting goals, that’s the way we live our life – “setting goals helps us not live in mediocrity and pushes us to play big in the world.”
In terms of philanthropy, we set a big goal for imagine1day; the goal is to provide quality education for every child in Ethiopia, free of foreign aid, by 2030.
By evaluating our goal daily, we’ve recognized that the African population is growing faster than we are building schools, so we need to restructure our strategy. We are now focusing on two things: leadership training and partnering with other organizations.
Our IGOLU leadership program in Ethiopia has been really effective. IGOLU provides training on goal setting and self-development. It functions as a network, where one person then teaches six people, and those six teach another six each, and so on. By initiating this with teachers and the government we can really make a difference in the world.
We are also working with other organizations that are also working in the education space in Africa. We want to join forces; effectively eliminating any unnecessary overhead. We are not stuck with an ego around our charity. We are only focused on the end goal of providing education for kids in Ethiopia.
Q WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS CONSIDERING GIVING?
A First, think about how they are going to give – is it through a donation or by becoming an operator? Running your own charity isn’t for everyone!
Second, FOCUS on where you want to give. Often, once you have wealth, you’re asked for money all the time, and I think it’s easy for people to get sucked into the “pay and spray” donations, which aren’t impactful.
In my family, we have two charitable passions; our work in Ethiopia and arts and parks, locally. So when we’re approached, the request goes through those “filters.” Then we think about how to best leverage our donations. We’ll give X amount of dollars, if you can raise X amount to match it.
Q YOU’VE TOUCHED ON YOUR FAMILY’S INVOLVEMENT, HOW HAVE YOU ENGAGED YOUR CHILDREN IN YOUR PHILANTHROPY?
A I think it’s important to involve your family, they help decide what your values are. Giving is a great way to bring everyone together, initially and annually.
We visit Ethiopia every two years. It’s essential for the children to see what we’re doing so we have them join us. They like building playgrounds and teaching the Ethiopian kids to play rock-paper-scissors. I know it’s sitting in their minds subconsciously – how lucky they are and how important our work is.
Q SO WHAT IS THE ONGOING PLAN? WHAT DOES YOUR LEGACY LOOK LIKE?
A We feel it’s important to have an end date. After 2030 we throw away the keys. By then we’ve either done our job, or we haven’t done our job, there’s no middle ground on it. This is when I hope to pass on the philanthropy to our children. They can become the drivers behind whatever cause they are passionate about.
Q FINALLY, HOW HAS NWM SUPPORTED YOUR PHILANTHROPIC EFFORTS?
A David Sung is a great resource for me. We hike the Grouse Grind two to three times per week, and that’s where I like to talk to him about what other families are doing philanthropically. He knows my family and is my advisory resource on all my investments; that includes charity.
NWM has also supported imagine1day by sponsoring our annual fundraiser at our house for the last few years; that’s been a big help. They have helped us raise over $350,000 over the last few years.
WE is a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. Igniting a passion for social change in youth, families and employees, WE is dedicated to their work, both locally and globally. Whether you’re a student engaged in experiential service-learning through WE Schools, a parent raising compassionate, caring children through WE Families, or an employee giving back through WE Companies, you are part of the movement of people coming together to change the world through the power of WE.
This movement is celebrated each year through stadium-sized events called WE Day. The greatest classroom in the world, WE Day brings together world-renowned speakers such as Malala Yousafzai and Richard Branson as well as award-winning performers like Selena Gomez and Gord Downie. It is a powerful, shared family experience, inspiring young people to learn about worthy causes, and take action on them. Click here to see the power of WE Day.
WE Villages: creating sustainable change
Traditional models of international development are broken. Too focused on temporary solutions, they do not overcome the complex causes of poverty with a holistic, permanent solution. We help people build up stable, thriving communities that give them the power and dignity to support themselves.
The WE Villages program is active in eight developing countries. It’s a model of international development that address the five primary causes of poverty with holistic and sustainable solutions that work in tandem to transform communities. The model is built on five Pillars of Impact: Education, Water, Health, Food and Opportunity. Each pillar is a critical component in breaking the cycle of poverty.
Learn more about WE Villages by watching this video.
Sustainable Solutions in Ecuador
The WE Villages team began working in Ecuador in 1999, focusing on the province of Chimborazo and the Amazon region in the province of Napo. WE Villages is dedicated to improving the lives of indigenous communities by working in partnership with local governments and community leaders to eliminate barriers that prevent children from accessing education. In the indigenous community of Kanambu, many students deal with inadequate classroom conditions and contaminated water, often resulting in waterborne diseases. Through WE’s Education and Water Pillars, the team works with the community to help provide resources to break this cycle of poverty.
Kanambu Students Take Pride in Their School
In Kanambu, Ecuador, students have worked hard in the Clean School Program, a friendly competition launched within our partner communities in the Amazon and Chimborazo. The program encourages students and teachers to work together and take pride in their schools. This year, the students involved in the program received training on personal hygiene, healthy eating, and how to keep a clean school.
Out of all of WE’s partner communities in the Amazon, Kanambu took the overall top place this year with the cleanest bathrooms and classrooms, and the success of their new garden initiative.
How Will You Live WE?
You choose how you Live WE. Locally and globally, you have the power to make an impact. WE offers a variety of programs and opportunities for your family to start Living WE.
Locally, you can reach out to get your child’s school involved in WE Schools. We provide helpful resources for educators—including access to curriculum, posters and a full calendar of action campaigns, as well as exclusive learning opportunities for students.
Through WE Villages, you can help support primary education, water for life, health and income opportunity workshops for a women’s group, or nutritious meals for a whole school room. Connect to a country, pick a Pillar of Impact and join the movement of change-makers across the world. Check out more impact-giving gifts here.
WE volunteer trips give the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, foster genuine connections and see the world through a new lens. See how your contributions are affecting people in the countries you support. Family trips inspire children with a global perspective on opportunity, gratitude and family values, while providing a transformative experience. Click here to learn more about travelling with purpose.
Changing the world starts with you. Leave a legacy. Leave a positive impact. Together, we can and we will change the world. For more information, visit WE.org.
NWM Gives Back Update
Nicola Wealth Management values the role companies play in making the world a better place. The NWM Gives Back Charitable Committee is a board of NWM staff, management, and spouses committed to developing and fostering a culture of giving. The committee acts as facilitators for employees and partners to succeed with their charitable goals thereby giving back to the world in meaningful ways.
The second half of 2016 has been a busy time for NWM Gives Back. Coming into the holiday season, the committee continues to support staff-driven initiatives and is thrilled to announce a partnership with a new international charity.
Each year, the NWM Gives Back committee is always keen to rally behind causes that NWM team members are passionate about; this year was no exception. The committee is incredibly proud to celebrate the outstanding effort and accomplishments of the firm’s Movember team, the NWM Moustacheers. Sporting moustaches and completing the Mo-movement challenge, this dedicated group of Mo Bro’s and Mo Sistas raised nearly $40,000 in support of Movember which tackles some of the biggest health issues faced by men:
prostate and testicular cancer, and mental health.
The committee is also extremely excited to announce our new partnership with WE Charity. NWM Gives Back has made an ongoing commitment to the community of Kanambu, Ecuador, the WE Village featured earlier in this newsletter. Our support will help the people of Kanambu establish the five Pillars of Impact previously outlined: Education, Water, Health, Food and Opportunity. This is an exceptionally well-run organization and we are looking forward to working with them on this project.
NWM encourages employee volunteerism by granting all employees one full volunteer day in order to allow them to connect and contribute to their community. Through these volunteer days, two great volunteer traditions have developed. In the summer, NWM volunteers make the trek out to Richmond where they get put to work at The Sharing Farm. In the winter season, the volunteers help out at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Both of these local charities help feed local families in need.
In addition to these local causes, NWM Gives Back helped several other team initiatives including Murray Neilson and his devotion to the incredible work of International Justice Mission (IJM), Grace Budiono’s Operation Christmas Child gift box drive, Dannielle MacDonald’s porridge event for the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Institute, and many others!