Last Friday, the Open Air Pub (OAP) management team donated $15,000 to the President’s Choice Children’s Charity (PCCC), a national organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged kids across Canada. The cheque, composed entirely of profits from OAP Lite this past spring, was presented to Loblaw Companies Limited Senior Vice-President Roch Pilon and Provigo du Parc Store Manager Eric Robillard.
Run entirely by student volunteers from the Faculty of Engineering and organized by the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), OAP is held every year in Three Bares Park at the start of September and again for two days in late April under the moniker OAP Lite.
The money raised from last year’s OAP Lite further fortifies the existing relationship between EUS, Provigo, and President’s Choice. According to OAP Head Manager Michael Mizrahi, Provigo began sponsoring the event in 2002, and now supplies food, condiments, napkins, charcoal, as well as a freezer truck for storage.
Mizrahi said the profits from OAP Lite have always been donated to charity. Before 2009, profits went to Centraide, an independent philanthropic organization. Mizrahi explained that OAP decided to shift from Centraide to the PCCC in order to strengthen its relationship with Provigo.
“That decision was what has allowed [OAP] to break revenue records the past few years and grow larger than we could have imagined five years ago,” Mizrahi said. “Provigo has been able to sponsor us to a much larger effect, and in return, we’ve been able to raise much more money for the EUS in the fall and for charity in April.”
Founded in 1989, the PCCC focuses on giving aid to children with disabilities, as well as improving childhood nutrition. The PCCC financially supports other similar organizations such as Breakfast for Learning, which educates and empowers communities to deliver school-based nutrition programs.
All PCCC funds are raised regionally and managed nationally, ensuring that all provinces get a share. Pilon emphasized that Loblaw Companies Limited also assumes all administrative costs, allowing 100 per cent of all contributions received by the PCCC to go towards the charity’s projects and programs.
“Since 2004, [the PCCC] has [given] $10 million to Quebec, and helped over 1,700 families,” Pilon said. “Your entire dollar goes to [children in need] … that’s the beauty of our charity.”
Provigo and President’s Choice representatives were thrilled about the donation.
“I was really impressed tonight,” Pilon said. “Fifteen thousand dollars is not peanuts … it’s going to help a whole bunch of kids.”
Students reacted to the presentation of the cheque with a mixture of surprise and approval.
“I didn’t know that [OAP Lite profits] went to charity,” Will Caron, U3 anatomy and cell biology, said. “I think it’s great.”
“It’s exciting to have been a part of that, and I think that it was a very generous donation,” Kristen Bailey, U2 psychology, said.
Both Mizrahi and Pilon emphasized the importance of creating and maintaining strong, reciprocal relationships between the university and local businesses.
“At the end of the day, you always have to give back to your community,” Pilon said. “Offering a discount [to students] is not enough to show a good partnership … so we participate in [initiatives] like [OAP].”
While no new projects have been planned for the future, the involved parties expressed enthusiasm and commitment towards building on their relationship.
In the future, Mizrahi said that the organizations will be working together again in the spring, with profits from OAP Lite also going to the PCCC.
“I think there’s huge potential for what we could do here,” Robillard said. “We feel like we’re a team, and next year … it’s going to be even bigger.”
Is anyone surprised that there’s no coverage of this event in the Daily…? Despite all the proceeds going to the aid of the disadvantaged and the impoverished in society, I guess any story that happens to cast engineering in a positive light just doesn’t quite merit publication (you know, compared to Commentary about Frosh).
Kudos to the Tribunal for their work; recognition and promotion of charitable events like this is extremely important and highly positive for the McGill community at large.
Excellent article, Trib! It’s one thing to constantly gripe about how horrendous McGill and its students are, but quite another to highlight one of the many inspiring things that we do.
As much as this initiative sounds as though its motives are truly altruistic, it is sad to see this shift in focus in regards to the “charity” they chose to support. The article says that in the past OAP money was given to an independent philanthropic organization. This is wonderful because many of these working groups are unfortunately silenced and underrepresented.
“OAP decided to shift from Centraide to the PCCC in order to strengthen its relationship with Provigo”. I think this sentence is problematic. I hate continually seeing people turn philanthropic initiatives into business deals…the concept seems rather ironic to me. Im not writing to dismiss the positive intentions of the EUS or OAP, but strengthening public relations in order to get an increased supply of ketchup and napkins blows my mind. I wish the Trib had been more critical of this and not joined the crowd of people who continue to disregard smaller local and less prestigious organizations
I mean why give money to some independent charity that gives you nothing in exchange, when you can get napkins for just creating a great PR campaign for Loblaws. Does it even count as charity when you get stuff in return? that sounds like a business transaction to me
You seem to presuppose that PCCC is either the same or less effective as a charity organization than Centraide. However, this is not necessarily true. The assumption of all administrative costs by Loblaws is by itself enough to make a donation to PCCC a greater net benefit to society than a donation of an equal amount to Centraide.
Perhaps the sentence from the news article you quoted is problematic, and I suspect that is the attempt on the part of the journalist to take a critical view on the deal. The campus may forget that true journalists are usually much more subtle than the Daily.
It baffles me how one could see a downside to such an arrangement. I think some people are so bent on believing that all corporations are evil that they fail to judge them for their actions.
OAP is what you call a win-win-win-win-win.
-Provigo wins because they receive advertisement for their stores and funding for their charity.
-The children who benefit from the PCCC win because they have money that they wouldn’t have otherwise received.
-The EUS wins because they receive a discount on the products they serve at OAP.
-The engineering students win because the revenue that OAP would have had to spend on food can now go to future events throughout the year.
-The general student body wins because they can enjoy the amazingness that is OAP at a cost that is less than it would be with any other arrangement.
It is a mutually symbiotic relationship where no one loses. Everybody wins. If you would like to fund the supposedly “underrepresented and silenced” independent philanthropic organizations, then by all means, host a fundraiser and donate to them. But in the mean time, appreciate the philanthropic work that your fellow students have organized. There is no reason why charity must be an arduous, solemn affair. If the EUS can run an event that everyone loves and benefit a great charity at the same time, then I think that should be greatly applauded.