As Metro Vancouver enters a new wave of growth in residential real estate, a more innovative and socially-conscious community of developers is coming up with new ideas about philanthropy. Increasingly, many of us are aware of the value in creating housing that connects home buyers with their community in meaningful ways.
Last spring, Westbank launched its latest condo development in downtown Vancouver with an announcement that every home sold at Vancouver House would put money towards building a home for a family in a garbage dump community in Cambodia. Operated by World Housing, this program offers a one-for-one model similar to that of TOMS shoes. It is a global initiative sure to appeal to jet set buyers from many different parts of the world.
This week, Marcon announced it will be making a substantial donation to North Shore Rescue in a new program which pairs condo buyers with charitable giving. A portion of every home sold in Marcon's latest project in Lynn Valley called Mill House will go towards a larger corporate donation to the Tim Jones Legacy Fund. This program represents a more local approach to philanthropy, and is a cause that rings true with home buyers and the greater community.
Tim Jones is a legend on the North Shore. The North Shore Rescue (NSR) leader died last January after collapsing on a trail while coming down from a rescue cabin on Mount Seymour. For more than 25 years he volunteered tirelessly, saving more than 1,600 lives and advocating for wilderness safety and stable funding for the search and rescue operation.
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For people considering buying a new home on the North Shore, donating to the search and rescue organization that enables safe participation in outdoor activities makes perfect sense. That's because one of the leading reasons people buy into this community is the outdoor lifestyle provided by close proximity to mountains and trails.
By partnering with the North Shore Rescue, buyers at Marcon's Mill House development can give back to a group that's been keeping outdoor adventurists safe for many years, as well as spread awareness about how NSR works to a larger community.
NSR is made up of a team of approximately 40 volunteers who perform about 80 search and rescue operations each year, mostly in the rugged, steep, and thickly forested North Shore mountains. They help hikers, skiers, snowshoers, mountain bikers, and others who are reported lost or in distress.
And yet, every year, they have to reapply for grants, fundraise, and get enough corporate sponsorships to maintain their services. With the Tim Jones Legacy Fund, the organization is hoping to build capital to stabilize the group's finances.
It's time other developers stepped up.
Marcon is encouraging other developers with projects on the North Shore to create donation programs directed towards the Tim Jones Legacy Fund, but even more can be done to partner with other non-profits in other communities.
As developers, we can agree that philanthropy is a price to be paid for success and we can push the bar by creating innovative charitable projects that create meaningful change -- as well as good homes -- for our buyers. There is no doubt more developers will come on board, especially as buyers begin to demand a higher level of corporate social responsibility.