My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humour/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blogger for a Day-The YMCA - Way more than a Gym and a Swim

Readers of my blog will be aware that in November, several bloggers, including myself, launched a Bloggers for Charity initiative. The essence of this initiative was to auction off our blogs for one day to the person who bid to donate the largest amount to charity. That person would become a blogger for a day.

On my blog, the highest bid was made by Tim Penner with a bid of $250. Tim made his donation to the YMCA and his blog follows below. Please give his blog the same consideration and attention you would give to my blog and please consider making a donation to the YMCA and/or volunteering your time to the YMCA.

Why the YMCA is My Charity of Choice

By Tim Penner

I’m pleased to tell you about my charity of choice. You may be surprised to learn what it is. In fact, many people aren’t even aware that this well-known organization is a charity -- and most people have no concept of the breadth of services it offers to make this a better city.

I’m talking about the YMCA of Greater Toronto and I’d like to share with you why I donate to this organization and why you should consider doing the same.

We all know that our province and our city are going through tough economic times. Jobs are scarce, budgets are tight and the future is uncertain. If times are tough on average, I would submit that our youth are most challenged. Did you know?

· 1 in 4 children under 18 in the GTA live in a low-income household
· Youth unemployment in the GTA has surpassed 20%
· Surveys show that 1 in 3 teens and young adults in the GTA express a weak sense of belonging

When economic conditions are challenging, young people can be impacted disproportionately. Youth can end up disappointed, disengaged and disenfranchised. This can lead them to make bad choices as they seek a sense of belonging. If we fail to deal with the issues affecting young people, the short and long term impact on our city can be dramatic.

When I want to solve a problem, I like to go to experts to help me, regardless of whether that’s a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant or a mechanic. So who in Toronto has expertise with youth? It’s the YMCA. You may think of the Y as expert in “gym and swim”, and that would be true; but here are some stats you may not know about the services offered by the YMCA of Greater Toronto:

· 14,000 kids in the GTA go to a YMCA Day Care Centre daily.
· 7,500 kids attend a YMCA after school program every day
· 2,500 GTA kids go to a YMCA camp every summer
· 2000 staff and 6600 volunteers provide these fabulous services
· 110,000 young people make use of the YMCA for transitional housing, counseling, and employment training each year

What do families and young people find when they come to a YMCA? They find a welcoming, safe place. They find recreation and access to outdoor education. They find English skills training and career counseling. Perhaps most importantly, they find positive role models.

About 2 years ago, noting the challenges faced by our city, the YMCA Board (of which I am a member) established a new, very simple vision:

“The GTA will be home to the healthiest children, teens and young adults”.

By “healthiest”, we’re referring not only to physical health, but also mental health, and positive engagement in society. This is not the current state – it’s a vision.

In many ways, the YMCA is already making a huge contribution. We know that 4 out of 10 low-income families in the GTA already make use of a Y service today. But what about those people who are simply not able to access a YMCA? An extensive mapping exercise has shown us that roughly 65% of the Toronto population has ready access to a YMCA facility. We need to reach out to the balance of the population, especially in the neighborhoods that need us most.

We have a bold plan to build 5 new YMCA’s in the next 5 years. We’ve been working with partners and with government to build a viable plan and every aspect of the work is being approached with creativity.

One project involves collaboration with the United Way and a hospital in a part of town that needs more services. Another project will transform a Pan Am Games facility into a YMCA after the close of the 2015 Games. To help fund our plan we’ve sold our downtown head office for re-development so we can re-invest the money in new Y’s. But we need to raise considerably more capital.

The YMCA is a proven-effective provider of services to youth. Young people coming to a YMCA find health, fitness, recreation, friends, role models, and a positive sense of self. Our plan is to simply take this expertise – this proven success-model -- and expand it to a broader geographical area.

I simply can’t think of a better cause to positively affect people in Toronto now and for generations to come. I hope you will consider the YMCA as your charity of choice as well. If you wish to contribute to the YMCA, please follow this link.

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.

1 comment:

  1. Tim, thank you for making your donation. Your blog is exactly what I was looking for. Someone talking about a charity, especially one such as the YMCA, that many do not even realize is a charity.