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Credit: Courtesy of Innovative Fitness

Through its No Excuse effort, Innovative Fitness is offering $1,000 in personal training credits to people affected by the closing of other gyms 

Our weekly series celebrates organizations that are stepping up to help their community

As B.C. prepares to enter Phase 3 of reopening the province, we’re reminded that many businesses and individuals are still struggling as a result of COVID-19. Although the health of our province is changing for the better, communities are struggling to find a new normal. Supporting local businesses, front-line workers and vulnerable people remains a priority as we all prepare to move forward. As always, we thank the health-care professionals and essential service providers who have kept working during these trying times. We look forward to sharing more examples of B.C. businesses and other organizations that are going above and beyond.

Arraei Collective

Arraei, a Vancouver slow fashion brand, has been busy producing thousands of non-medical masks for donation to organizations around the city. In keeping with its Zero Waste policy and Giving Back philosophy, the label is making the masks sustainably and giving one away for every order that customers place. So far, Arraei has set aside 2,500 (valued at $35,000) for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, the Vancouver Police Department and several local long-term care facilities and retirement homes. The masks are beautifully constructed, with double-layered natural fabric (hemp, lyocell and organic cotton blends) and a pocket/sleeve to add a filter. Made in Vancouver, they’re designed to be washed and reused.

BC COVID-19 Combat Collective

Four organizations—the BC Cancer Foundation, the BCCDC Foundation for Public Health, UBC and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation—have teamed up to raise funds for top B.C. scientific experts researching innovative ways to detect, neutralize and fight COVID-19. By making a donation, you can support prevention, testing and treatment projects that will halt the pandemic and save lives here and around the world. “The BC COVID-19 Combat Collective will tackle this virus from every angle,” the group promises.

Bn3th

The pandemic has given performance underwear brand Bn3th (pronounced “beneath”) a chance to connect with customers on a new level, by checking in with them, sharing positive stories and simply taking the time to chat. To thank those on the front lines, the North Vancouver company is giving a 35-percent discount on all products to anyone who works in essential services, from supermarket clerks and transit drivers to doctors and nurses. You can claim the offer by emailing info@bn3th.com with your job description and other details.

BlueShore Financial

Through its Pay It Forward campaign, BlueShore gives its employees funds to donate to the organization, people or good cause of their choice. Many staff have pooled their funds to make bigger contributions to organizations such as the food bank, Harvest Project and Open Door Social Services Society. North Vancouver–based BlueShore’s Double Your Impact program has partnered with the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation by matching $10,000 in donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. The financial institution also supported Changemaker’s Market (see below), which helps support small businesses throughout the province, by matching funds raised up to $15,000. BlueShore is running a similar campaign with the Whistler Community Services Society.

Changemaker’s Market

Fun fact: B.C. has the most female-owned small businesses of any province. Our small businesses are also among the most charitable in the country. Just ask the participants in Changemaker’s Market, which saw 150 women-led companies donate more than $50,000 in goods and services to the online auction. Launched by the BC Women’s Health Foundation, Changemaker’s aimed to help bolster small and medium-sized businesses’ visibility while generating funds for important women’s health efforts. Participants ranged from well-known B.C. brands like Matchstick Coffee, Vitruvi and Woodlot to lesser-known creators like Kula Foods and Studio Sashiko. The auction raised just over $30,000, with contribution from BlueShore Financial bringing the total to $45,000.

Heffel Fine Art Auction House

The art world is pitching in to help Canadians left vulnerable due to the spread of COVID-19. Vancouver gallery and auction house Heffel has partnered with Toronto’s Nicholas Metivier Gallery for an online charity auction that include 28 works donated by prominent Canadian and international artists. All proceeds, including the buyer’s premium, will go to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and four other food charities across the country. The RBC Foundation will also support the cause with a $25,000 donation. Running at Heffel.com until June 23, the auction is expected to raise between $170,000 and $230,000 from the sale of works by the likes of Edward Burtynsky, John Hartman, and B.C. artists Bobbie Burgers and Ben Reeves. The event is stay-home friendly, with the catalogue, virtual preview and bidding all found online.

Innovative Fitness

Like many other businesses, gyms everywhere have been forced to close their doors during the COVID-19 crisis. The No Excuse initiative, launched by Vancouver-based Innovative Fitness, provides up to $1,000 in free personal training credits to people who can’t use the credits they bought for other facilities. The boutique fitness studio, which has 11 locations across Canada, is offering this deal worldwide. If you don’t live near an Innovative Fitness outlet, you can join personal training sessions via the company’s virtual platform, Innovative Fitness Direct. To learn more, email noexcuse@innovativefitness.com or visit the IF website.

Save-On-Foods

After COVID-19 left many families in dire need of food, Save-On-Foods and the Western Family brand teamed up to donate 50 percent of net proceeds from Western Family products sold from June 11 to 17 to food banks across Western Canada. In its third annual Share It Forward campaign, Langley-headquartered Save-On-Foods aimed to give a total $300,000 to food bank partners in every community it serves. Its PriceSmart Foods and Urban Fare stores throughout the region also took part in the effort.

Synergy Enterprises

Synergy, a Victoria-based corporate sustainability management firm, launched #MyFEDFarms with the Food Eco District (FED) project in its hometown. Recognizing the challenges to food security and affordability due to mass layoffs, FED is supporting families and unemployed workers by providing startup food gardens to 500 homes for free. The kits include two to five round planters, soil, starter plants, seeds and growing info. #MyFEDFarms is a true community project, with partners including the Big Wheel Community Foundation, the City of VictoriaGrowing Together, Peninsula Co-op, Topsoil Innovative Urban Agriculture and Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. Learn more about #myFEDFarms by visiting its Instagram page. 

Valley Acrylic Bath and UVic

A female-owned business, Valley Acrylic makes bathtubs, sinks, and other bathroom and kitchen products. With UVic civil engineer Rishi Gupta, the Mission-based company is developing an acrylic-based coating that that repels coronavirus. The plan is to install two prototype compact washbasins treated with this new material in high-traffic public areas in Vancouver and Victoria. After that, Valley Acrylic intends to commercialize the antiviral basins, producing 100 a day to meet the need for better hygiene in public spaces while also getting around the shortage of hand sanitizer.

Watson Gloves

Burnaby-based Watson has been donating gloves and non-medical masks to essential services organizations and nonprofits across Canada, such as the BC Cancer Agency, Samaritan’s Purse and Vancouver Coastal Health. Seeing the rise in demand for personal protective equipment, the 102-year-old company quickly pivoted, expanding its main Burnaby factory to swiftly produce non-medical masks. Watson has given its front-line staff a bonus to thank them for helping get PPE to Canadians.

If you know a B.C. business that is going above and beyond to help others during the pandemic, drop us a line! We’d love to feature them in this weekly series. Please email darian@jellymarketing.com