Using business as a force for good is something everybody can do - even when making what seems like an ordinary purchase decision. Such as buying a mobile phone. If you had a choice between buying a handset from a company that would pocket the profits and a company that would donate a portion of your purchase to help others in need, which company would you choose?
Canadians responded by purchasing phones and helping me and Glee actor and Virgin Unite ambassador Cory Monteith raise $200,000 for at-risk youth programs in Canada. Virgin Mobile Canada and Samsung donated $15 off every Samsung Gravity 3 RE*Generation phone purchased. Last week in Corys hometown of Vancouver, he, along with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and I announced more than $50,000 in grants to Project Limelight and Broadway Youth Resource Centre, which offer at-risk youth resources, education, performing arts classes and other support to keep them off the streets.
The children at Project Limelight were rehearsing for a production of Wonderland and gave us an impromptu performance.
Their smiles, spirit and growing confidence were an inspiring reminder that the arts are a wonderful way for at-risk youth to avoid falling through the cracks - something that Cory himself was in danger of. The woman who mentored and encouraged him to go into the dramatic arts, Maureen Webb, and her sister now run Project Limelight and will help bring opportunities like this to more kids like Cory.
This is not the first time Cory and I have teamed up. We dedicated a Dans la rue food service bus in Montral last year and kicked off the sales of the Samsung Gravity 3 RE*Generation phone. Not only is he a talented and down-to-earth lad but Cory has a genuine passion for helping kids in need and for using his influence in a positive way. Who do you want to work with to make this world a better place - and what will you do together?