Gena Rotstein's blog

Ebola Emergency Relief Fund - About the Fund

The Ebola Emergency Relief Fund was established a few weeks ago with a focus on providing a multi-layered approach to funding the Ebola crisis facing countries in Africa.


Charities in the fund: Doctors Without Borders, SOS Children's Village and Unicef.


Doctors Without Borders has posted on their website that they have reached capacity for handling the Ebola crisis. We have decided to keep them in the fund so that they can allocate donations received to their areas of greatest need. Donations made to this organization after October 19th will be directed to the organization as unrestricted funds.


Who is Place2Give and what is Motif Giving?


Place2Give is an online public foundation registered in Canada (833678840RR0001).  The foundation was established in 2012 as a way to provide North American donors up-to-date information about Canadian charities and to facilitate charitable transactions.

Motif Giving is a platform that allows donors to give to a “theme” of charities.  Similar to a mutual fund, organizations in a specific motif are driving towards a single solution.  In the case of the Ebola Emergency Relief Fund, the three organizations that have been selected, have a proven track-record in the sector for addressing medical crisis in the developing world; international advocacy and support and post-crisis management.  This fund is NOT designed to track the dollars, but rather to be used in conjunction with government funding that the individual charities have sought.  We have done this as a way to leverage the contributions.  It’s crowdfunding on a global scale.



How are the funds disbursed?

Funds are disbursed within 30-60 days of receipt (depends on how funds were received).  We disburse the funds either by EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) or cheque.  

We hold the funds for a minimum of 30 days in order to have cash on hand should a donor change his/her mind about the donation.

What are the fees? Donations made online incur a 5% fee that covers the administration of the foundation and 2.9% + .30cents to cover online processing expenses.  Place2Give administration costs include: staff, technology maintenance, banking fees, accounting and legal costs, general overhead.

If donations are made by cheque the fee is 5% + $1 for a total of a minimum of $3 is taken off of the donation to process cheques.  In an effort to keep bank fees at a minimum we make deposits in bulk on a monthly basis.

Our overhead fluxuates between 12 adn 19%/year depending on volume of donations.

How were the charities selected? Place2Give is the affiliate charity with Dexterity Consulting, a philanthropic brokerage firm, that researches charities and provide philanthropic advising services to individuals, families and family owned businesses.  

Based on the research they conducted and the purpose of Ebola Emergency Relief Fund it was determined that these three, IN COMBINATION, will drive the greatest impact for donor dollars.

How does the Motif Fund work? Donors can choose to direct their donation to a specific charity in the fund OR can select Place2Give Foundation area of greatest need.  If the former funds will be disbursed per our disbursement schedule above.  If the latter, the pooled funds will go to the Place2Give Foundation grants committee for allocation to the organizations according to their expressed need.  This committee meets quarterly.  Funds are held in account as designated to these purposes until the meeting is held.

Anonymity: Place2Give honours and respects your anonymity.  You have the choice to keep your donation anonymous.  We will share your contact information with the funded charities ONLY if you give us permission.  

Privacy: By making a donation to Place2Give Foundation you are giving us permission to communicate with you how your donation was used and what Place2Give is up to.  WE DO NOT SELL DONOR LISTS.

Can donations be made by US donors? Yes. Additional fees may be applied due to currency conversion.  Please note, tax receipts can only be used against Canadian income.  It is up to the donor to apply the tax receipt in accordance with his/her jurisdiction.

Hand in Hand

What would it look like if a community foundation worked alongside city planners?  What kind of cities and communities could we create and build?

Over the past several weeks I have been working in Toronto. It’s been an interesting time to be here, in large-part due to the upcoming municipal election, which has the mayoral seat hotly contested.

Last week I attended the Toronto Foundation Vital Signs luncheon.  Vital Signs is an annual audit exploring the “health” of the city by looking at the social, economic and environmental issues facing communities.  The idea behind it is to provide community foundations and non-profit organizations, as well as government bodies, some meaningful information upon which to plan and make course corrections.

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Thanks and Giving

This weekend marks the start of what is typically called the “Season of Giving.” It’s the first weekend where we, as a North American society, start to reflect back on the year and look at our impending tax bills and decide how much to give and to which charities.


We have all heard the phrases shared by the organizations that solicit us -

“A flat gift is a decreased gift as a result of inflation.”

“You can donate securities and receive additional tax credits so it is like your donation only costs you half of much.”

“If you donate a life insurance policy now, you can write off your premiums against your taxes.”


All of these comments speak to the fact that we have incentivized giving to the point of making it purely a financial planning and wealth management transaction.  What if, at this point in time, we started to not just look at our charitable activities as a way to manage our taxes, but also as a way to really illicit change in our communities?

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ALS - Now What?

And the money keeps on rolling... 


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Notes from Ray’s Desk: Closing In on the Finish Line

Every month Ray Stockford, Systems Analyst for Dexterity Ventures Inc., shares the latest tech updates to the Place2Give website and the technology solutions offered through Dexterity Ventures.

 It has been a busy September here at DVI. The Tech Team has been closing in on the finish line for some of the things I have been chatting about over the last few months. Here is a quick rundown of what has been going on: Read more »

Show me the Numbers – Can Charitable Giving be Relegated to Tax Credits

Philanthropy - the Greek word meaning the love of humankind.  Over time we have taken this concept and made it into a financial transaction with tax credits and incentives to do what we should do naturally – love each other.

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Notes from Ray’s Desk: Ground has been covered

Every month Ray Stockford, Systems Analyst for Dexterity Ventures Inc., shares the latest tech updates to the Place2Give website and the technology solutions offered through Dexterity Ventures.

We've been covering a lot of ground this month; we launched a new Motif Giving fund, GROW: The Whistler Motif Giving Fund, and have done some additional updates to our GIVE-API (bug fixes and search enhancements).

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Life Lessons Learned - Saying Good-bye

Today I said to goodbye to my friend, my mentor, my cousin and my fellow Rotarian - Larry Ryder.  It has been an emotional morning, and as I write this post I am considering what I share about one of Calgary's and Alberta's business and community leaders.

Lately, I have been writing and speaking on legacy planning and how it isn't about your "mother's pearls, but rather her pearls of wisdom," as one friend told me.  Larry shared a number of pearls with me, as he did with the other business owners and community leaders and politicians. I could write about what he taught with regards to business and running my company, or what he thought about our mayors (depending on the year... heck depending on the day!), or how he convinced me to buy an Alberta PC Party membership.  But all of that seems rather irrelevant now.  

What I want to share about Larry Ryder is what he taught me about commitment to community engagement.

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Ice, Ice Baby - How an Ice Bucket video has impacted charitable giving

My opinion on the #ALSIceBucket campaign has been pretty strong.  In a piece I wrote for the Calgary Herald and other posts about slacktivism campaigns, I talk about the ripple effect of giving.  This is no different, except for this time the Ice Bucket Challenge was given to me.

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Where Disruption and Innovation Intersect

This week I am attending the Grow Conference in Whistler, BC.  The opening presenter, Brian Solis asked the audience – what is at the heart of your business?  The reason being, companies that focus on the social aspects of how they operate in the world are more successful than companies that only focus on the profit. Brian pointed out that innovation and disruption are mutually exclusive, but that new innovation can disrupt a market, just like disruption can lead to innovation.

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