Charities race to cash in on penny's demise
Some Canadian charities profit from penny drives, while others worry
Posted: Feb 4, 2013 12:34 PM ET
Last Updated: Feb 5, 2013 9:06 AM ET
The end of the Canadian penny has been a boon to several charities, but is leaving others worried about what will happen to their coin jars.
First, the good news. Free The Children, an international charity based in Toronto, has already rounded up 70 million pennies during its nationwide penny drive. By the charity’s math, that’s enough to provide 28,000 people in developing countries with clean drinking water for life.
“The 70 million pennies collected so far show just how enthusiastically Canada’s youth have taken this campaign to heart," said Free The Children founder Craig Kielburger in a release.
Other charities are hoping for similar results. Tim Hortons is running a penny drive for its children’s foundation as an extension of its ongoing coin jar program. The coffee company’s website says coin boxes already bring in about $1 million in pennies each year.
Ronald McDonald House is another charity that turns loose change into tidy profits. Spokeswoman Roxanna Kassam Kara says she’s hoping Canadians will donate more nickels, dimes and quarters as pennies disappear.
And it’s not just big charities that are looking for pennies. In Winnipeg, Villa Rosa, a residence for prenatal and postnatal care for young women or new mothers in need, has started its own penny drive.
"Some of our young moms who come in don't have all the supplies they need to get them through their pregnancy and day-to-day living," says executive director Kathy Strachan.
Fewer coins, less profit?Canadian charities are hoping to get their hands on some of the more than 6 billion pennies out there. (Graeme Roy/Canadian Press)
The pennies will help pay for the small stuff, like deodorant and body lotion — "the kinds of things that a lot of people just take for granted but we don't have a budget line for," Strachan says.
Some charities, however, are concerned that having fewer coins in circulation will hurt their fundraising efforts.
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, which trains dogs for the visually impaired, uses life-sized coin collectors in the shape of golden retrievers and Labradors to collect coins at shops across the country. The organization raises about $300,000 in coins every year — a large portion of which is pennies, says spokesman Steve Doucette.
“This year might be OK, but going forward it may hurt us,” Doucette says.
On the plus side, there are still a lot of pennies out there. The Royal Canadian Mint estimates it will recover six billion pennies as the coin is phased out, meaning there’s $60 million or more out there for charities to chase.
Penny for your tweets
In Ottawa, Steve St. Pierre has launched a Twitter account, @CDN_penny, that started as sarcasm but quickly spun out into a strong advocate for charities. St. Pierre uses his tweets, and the hashtag #showyourroll, to encourage people to donate their pennies to the charity of their choice.
"If I've done anything to bring the penny back to the forefront of people's minds and just doing something for a good cause, then I think that's pretty awesome," St. Pierre told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning.
St. Pierre’s Twitter alter-ego, meanwhile, is still alive and snarky.
“Carly Rae Jepsen apparently trades me for a kiss. I did not agree to this,” the penny tweets.
Latest Toronto News Headlines
- Councillors urge Rob Ford to address 'disturbing' allegations
- Toronto mayor Rob Ford spoke in council chambers Tuesday, delivering his most lengthy public statement since allegations arose last week that he was filmed smoking crack cocaine. But the mayor's speech had nothing to do with his reaction to the purported video. more »
- Man shot in leg in Etobicoke apartment building
- A man is recovering in hospital with a gunshot wound to his leg after an early-morning shooting at an Etobicoke apartment building. more »
- Horwath says NDP will support Ontario Liberal budget
- Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says her party will support the Liberal budget, avoiding a spring election, after the premier agreed to the NDP's call for an independent financial accountability officer. more »
- Dellen Millard farm remains under police watch
- Police remain at the Waterloo region farm of murder suspect Dellen Millard today after unknown remains were found on the property, and there's still no word on the test results to determine if they're human or animal. more »
Top News Headlines
- 'Upset' Harper wants fast Senate spending reform
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Conservative caucus this morning that he's "upset" about the recent conduct of some senators and his own office, and he wants Senate spending rules tightened quickly. more »
- Children driven around too much, Canadian report suggests
- Fewer Canadian kids are commuting by walking or biking as a new report reveals a marked decline among young people using active modes of transportation. more »
- Keith Boag: Have you heard about the murderous abortion doctor?
- The gruesome trial and murder conviction of Philadelphia abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell is unlikely to change American abortion law, Keith Boag writes. But it has U.S. journalists questioning their priorities and how they cover such a sensitive issue. more »
- Oklahoma tornado recovery work begins after deadly storm
- Recovery efforts are underway after a tornado flattened two elementary schools and many homes south of Oklahoma City, leaving 24 people dead, including seven children. U.S. President Barack Obama responds by promising federal aid and other help. more »
- Unknown remains found on Dellen Millard's farm
- Will alleged Rob Ford video overshadow Toronto casino debate?
- Missing Toronto woman's parents unfazed by Millard link
- Man shot dead at barbecue near Ossington and Dundas
- Rob Ford should resign if allegations true, councillors say
- Horwath to decide whether to back Ontario Liberal budget
- Man shot in leg in Etobicoke apartment building
- Man dies after bike accident in Underpass Park
- Rare, $26,000 bottle of scotch stolen from Toronto shop