DECEMBER 11, 2023–In support of Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), Cailey Heaps, CEO and President of Heaps Estrin Team, has stepped up to join a cohort of donors who believe in “trust-based philanthropy” during a time of economic uncertainty that is causing significant stress for one of the country’s vital community services.

The idea of “trust-based philanthropy” or “unrestricted giving” is when donors allow the charitable organization to put their money to work on the highest need as opposed to controlling its designation.

This type of philanthropy is essential to ease the current crisis when food insecurity is at a record high amid a downward spiral in donation revenue.

“The numbers around food insecurity in this country are the worst in Canadian history,” says Nick Saul, CEO of CFCC. “Currently 7 million Canadians worry about eating, compromising on the quantity and quality of their groceries and/or missing meals. Twenty-five per cent of kids in Canada live in food insecure homes. That is a social disaster of massive proportions.”

Cailey & Nick CFCC_HET

With a frontline understanding of the scale of the issue, CFCC started a new multi-year initiative, 20 for 20, that is founded in the philosophy of trust-based philanthropy. The aim is for 20 people or more to commit to giving $20,000 for the next three years in order to provide consistent, unrestricted funding. CFCC’s 20 for 20 drive will support a broad range of food and health programs in 15 partner Community Food Centres across Canada as well as five additional centres in development.

“Cailey immediately jumped in when we asked her,” Saul says. “She’s an early adopter to the idea of ‘trust-based philanthropy’ and understands the importance of community. Cailey has demonstrated this throughout her work and it is embedded in her company’s relational approach. She thinks beyond her own table.”

“I am delighted to be part of this 20 for 20 group of people supporting CFCC and their partners across the country,” says Ms. Heaps. “As a parent of three children, I can only imagine how stressful it would be to not be able to feed my family consistently. The idea that so many children and families face food insecurity in this country, in this day and age, is devastating.”

According to the 4th annual State of the Sector Survey from Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN), published earlier this year, the charitable sector is under unprecedented duress due to recession fears, inflation, high interest rates, government austerity and a downturn in consumer confidence. Forecasting shows that by 2026, there will be a 100 percent increase in demand for services and 131% increase in costs. “These trends have the potential to bring our sector to the brink of collapse,” the report stated.

As Saul explains: “The stark increase in costs and resulting rise in services show the true struggles of people living on low incomes. The diminished lives of those 7 million Canadians experiencing food insecurity is essential to understand: this leads to family breakdown, strained social ties, deteriorating mental and physical health, and people remaining trapped in a terrible labour market with low wages and few benefits. There is no way you can live with any dignity under those circumstances.”

Even within this crisis, Community Food Centres Canada and their 400 partners across the country work continuously to provide welcoming spaces with nourishing food access. In these spaces, nourishing meals and progressive policy change go hand-in-hand. The innovative approach and vision move beyond immediate food needs into advocacy that changes lives and calls for longer-term, substantial transformation.

Heaps, a finalist in this year’s RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Excellence awards, is known for her trailblazing approach to build her real estate company into a consistent #1 performer in Toronto and in Canada as a whole for Royal Lepage, achieving over $750 million in sales volume in one year. Year after year, the brokerage is in the top .1 percent of realtors in North America.

She has changed the perception of what a real estate company can be by building a business that engages with the needs of the communities it serves, building trusted and meaningful relationships. “To me, real estate is about community, connection and lifestyle,” she says. “Together, my team and I share a desire to build a community that is invested in the wellbeing and happiness of others.”

Cailey Heaps joined the company in 1999 and worked alongside her mother, Heather Heaps, until her death from ovarian cancer in 2019. Heaps has built her real estate company on the foundation of what her mother started, continuing an ethos of “people above all else.”

Deeply influenced by her mother’s legacy of giving back to the community, Heaps is well known for her team’s widespread and generous philanthropic initiatives in support of many community and charitable causes, including Princess Margaret Hospital, Make A Wish, SickKids, Community Food Centres Canada, Habitat for Humanity and LGBT Youth Line, among others.

About Community Food Centre Canada (CFCC)
At the heart of Community Food Centres Canada’s work is the belief that food is a basic right. CFCC brings people together around good food to help communities thrive. With more than 400 partners across the country, they build inclusive, culturally-responsive Community Food Centres, share knowledge, create health-focused programs, and advocate for equitable policy change.

The non-profit organization is also in the midst of building a national headquarters at 340 Gerrard East in Toronto to serve the diverse Regent Park, St. Jamestown and Moss Park communities where residents face disproportionate barriers to health and wellbeing. The renovation project for CFCC’s new home is taking a former mattress factory and reviving it into a thriving community hub. The facility will bring expertise, research and advocacy training under one roof. It will act as a vibrant forum for developing leadership capacity and new ideas with partners from across the country as well as housing CFCC’s Poverty Action Unit.

About Heaps Estrin Team
Heaps Estrin has been the #1 top performer for Royal LePage in Canada since 2019, which means that Heaps and her team are outperforming more than 20,000 realtors across the country. In Toronto, the team competes with over 77,000 members of the Toronto Region Real Estate Board and is the #1 performer in the highly-competitive Central Toronto market for any brokerage.

The company has achieved over $2.5billion in sales since the start of the pandemic. Their 2023 sales volume exceeds $700 million. Projected for 2025 is the target to achieve $1billion in sales volume in a year. Year after year, the company is in the top .1% of realtors in North America.

Community activities at Heaps Estrin include: HERB, the Heaps Estrin Real Estate Buggy, which operates as a mobile coffee shop, rotating between local schools in key neighbourhoods during drop-off times to give parents a treat in their busy day. The team organizes Ice Cream Socials at popular neighbourhood parks in the summer and at the start of the school year. The company hosts skating parties and movie nights for free at local theatres or outdoor venues.

In 2022, Heaps opened The Lobby, a community space in Toronto’s popular midtown, bordering the Rosedale and Summerhill neighbourhoods. “The idea behind The Lobby is that there is no progress without innovation, “ Heaps comments. “The space is the physical embodiment of everything we do in addition to real estate.” The first real estate concept store in Canada, The Lobby functions as a retail environment, art gallery and event venue for presentations, charitable gatherings and panel discussions on a range of subjects. Pumpkins and apple pies are distributed at Thanksgiving. Santa Claus visits during the holidays.

Earlier this year, she launched BEYOND, a luxury hybrid shelter/urban/real estate magazine at a time when many companies are abandoning printed marketing materials. With its second issue published in fall 2023, BEYOND grew in size and saw an increase in advertising clients. It has a print run of 27,000 with copies dropped on select doorstops in central Toronto and is sent electronically to a client database of approximately 35,000.

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Heaps learned from her parents about being what she calls “risk aggressive.” Her father, Frank Heaps, founded Upper Canada Brewing Company in the 1980’s, later selling the company to Sleeman Breweries. All three of her brothers are entrepreneurs. Her eldest brother, Ian, is the founder of the Australian Boot Company, responsible for bringing Blundstones to Canada. Angus Heaps, the middle brother, owns a property appraisal business in Vancouver. Cameron Heaps co-founded Toronto-based Steam Whistle Brewing in 2000. Her mother, the late Heather Heaps, started a real estate career in 1986 and quickly became a top performer for Royal LePage.

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