Charity Leaders Band Together to Maintain Public Trust

    New donor assurance program announced

    TORONTO, Oct. 18 /CNW/ - Leading Canadian charities have come together to
announce a new initiative designed to maintain public trust in their
fundraising work.
    At an event at the University of Toronto's Hart House, close to 200
charity leaders gathered for a panel discussion called "The Charitable Sector
and the Media: Accountability and Reporting." The event was co-hosted by the
Canadian Journalism Foundation and Imagine Canada in response to negative
media stories that threaten to erode public confidence in the charitable
sector. "While public confidence in charities remains high - in fact, a recent
study tells us that 79% of Canadians trust charities -- we recognize the need
to be proactive in our efforts to keep relations strong with donors," says Don
McCreesh, Chair of Imagine Canada, the umbrella organization that represents
and supports many of the country's leading charities. "While there is an
important role for regulators such as the Canada Revenue Agency, we believe
that charities can do a great deal to self-regulate their activities by
adopting standards of good practice. We need a balance between sound third
party regulation and charities showcasing that they take these issues
seriously themselves. Well-informed media are also key players in influencing
the public about these issues."
    Moderated by Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane, with United Way of
Toronto CEO Frances Lankin, Imagine Canada Chair Don McCreesh, Toronto
Community Foundation Chair Martin Connell and Toronto Star journalist Kevin
Donovan, the panel presentation and ensuing discussion provided a forum for
the release of Imagine Canada's newly revised Ethical Code. The Ethical Code
is a donor assurance program that establishes standards for responsible
fundraising practices and reporting to donors.
    Several event attendees have signed on as flagship members of the new
Ethical Code. Among them is Scott Haldane, President and CEO of the YMCA of
Greater Toronto. "Our board of directors has committed to the principles of
this new Code and we are building on existing internal mechanisms to ensure we
operate in an open, transparent and responsive way to our donors."
    The Ethical Code program, set to launch formally in January 2008 with a
national recruitment campaign and a compliance process, complements the
existing Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Ethical Practice,
operated by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the professional
association for individual fundraisers. Together, these two initiatives ensure
that both the individuals driving the profession and the organizations behind
them are working together to ensure the interests of the donor are top of

    Ethical Code Flagship Members

    The following charities have committed to the principles of the Code and
to working with Imagine Canada on further developing the Ethical Code Program:

    - Canadian Cancer Society - Ontario Division
    - Habitat for Humanity Canada
    - Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
    - Plan Canada
    - Salvation Army, Canada and Bermuda Territorial Headquarters
    - St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation - Hamilton
    - The University of Western Ontario
    - United Way of Greater Toronto
    - World Vision Canada
    - YMCA of Greater Toronto
    - YWCA Canada

    Collectively, these charities represent almost one billion dollars in
annual fundraising revenue.

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Hartford, ABC, Manager, Media Relations &
Communications, Imagine Canada, 2 Carlton Street, Suite 600, Toronto ON M5B
1J3, 1-800-263-1178 x 225, (416) 597-2293 x 225

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Imagine Canada

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