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‘It has to speak to your heart’: Donors share why charity is a priority for them

Joan Kelley Walker’s interest in charitable work came about with a new romance. “My first exposure to World Vision was through my husband,” she says. “Back when we first started dating, he was fostering kids, and I was curious as to what all that was about.”

Today Walker, a Toronto-based model, actress and journalist, has been involved with the organization for more than 20 years. “I’ve been to many countries with them to see the work first-hand and when I come back, I can tell people that the donations and the work they are doing is making a huge impact,” she says.

That’s exactly what donors to charitable organizations want to hear: that their dollars are making a difference. Especially given that, following the pandemic, there are many causes needing both the time and attention of donors.

In partnership with World Vision, we find out why supporting this charitable organization is so important to donors and how that support is making a difference.

As Walker notes, philanthropic support is a personal value. “It has to speak to your heart and brain, and World Vision ticked all the boxes of what was important to us,” she says. This included doing work in countries that weren’t under corrupt governments or regimes where possible, and also supported both boys and girls, particularly in education.

If those were the factors that drew her and her husband to the organization, watching the work being done is what continues to keep them there. In her time as a World Vision donor, Walker has gone on trips to Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Cambodia, Mozambique, Costa Rica and more to see the charity’s work on the ground. “Those trips have been amongst the most impactful moments of my life,” she says.

Just before the pandemic, she travelled to the DRC to follow a project focused on clean drinking water. “And what I saw was how World Vision trains and educates the local community so that they can support themselves,” Walker says. “They create 12- to 15-year plans, and when the plan is complete, those involved in the project don’t need World Vision anymore. That’s the goal. I’ve seen that done with my own eyes.”

The organization’s work is focused in three key areas: emergency relief for people affected by conflict or disaster; community-based transformational development, focused especially on children’s needs; and promoting justice that advocates to change unjust structures affecting the poor. But it’s the many tales donors and those working with the organization tell that indicate how the financial support of donors really makes a difference.

READ MORE: Where does your money go when you donate to big charities?

Claudia Berloni, director, development programs, programs and policy division with World Vision Canada, has also travelled through numerous countries where programs made possible by donors were being implemented.

This includes a trip to Myanmar, where she met Mah Tin Tin Ma Thin Thin Oo, a local woman whose family had lost a four-year-old child years earlier.

“Mah Tin Tin Ma Thin Thin Oo had received training on how to improve her family’s health and nutrition, as well as how to plant and harvest bio-fortified crops: agro-ecologically appropriate, nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits in the farm she and her husband cultivated,” Berloni said.

And through World Vision, the woman also accessed programs on nutrition, fully stocked medical clinics and even a boat ambulance to help get her family to medical care faster.

“I learned that Mah Tin Tin Ma Thin Thin Oo, with her flourishing farm, healthy family and supportive husband, was a beacon of hope for the other women in her community,” Berloni said. “This reminds me that when Canadians give to World Vision, they are part of a global response to injustice, poverty and oppression. They can partner with children, their families and communities to change the course of lives for the better.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s wonderful’: 9-year-old Calgary boy uses lemonade stand to help others

To learn more about the charity’s work and how you can help, visit World Vision.

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