Vancouver company donates half of yearly profits to at-risk youth programs

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Paul MacDonald

Many people talk about doing more, but one Vancouver business is putting its money where its mouth is.

Last year, Paul MacDonald, owner of Ethical Waste Services made the decision to donate 50% of the company’s profits to Access Youth Outreach Services Society, which provides programs and support to at-risk youth in Metro Vancouver.

“I was in my truck complaining about how people never give back and I was like ‘Oh my gosh! I can give back!'” says MacDonald.

Before starting Ethical Waste Services, MacDonald always had the desire to give back, even going so far as to become a certified math teacher.

“I had this desire to help youth in some way, for all that I have,” he says. “I’ve been really lucky, because I was considered an at risk youth when I was younger, but I was fortunate and I had lots of support from my family, where a lot of kids don’t.”

After receiving his degree, MacDonald realized the work he would be doing in a school was more restrictive than what he could do as an individual and as a business owner.

“I realized that my business, the model could help so many more people, and I’m not stuck in that teacher’s box,” he says. “I’d rather help kids make a life for themselves than teach them how to add and subtract.”

Last year, Ethical Waste Services donated $7,000 to the Access Youth Outreach Services Society, and this year they hope to do more. With business predicted to double, MacDonald has put their goal at $20,000.

“People have told me ‘Paul, you’re not going to change the world,'” he says. “But how do you know? Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but if other competitors in the garbage business have to do what I do to compete? I think the norm should be everybody donates 30%, 40%, 50%, and those businesses will thrive. Other businesses will suffer because they’re not being socially conscious and helping everybody.”

On top of donating, MacDonald serves as a volunteer with Access Youth, as well as a member of their Board of Directors.

“It makes it worthwhile, because I can see the difference we’re making,” he says. “You know how they say ‘find your passion and it’s not like work’, right? That’s what I did. Now I know. I know my why, why I’m put here.”

An upcoming gala in support of the Access Youth Outreach Services Society takes place October 16 at the Hard Rock Casino. It will feature speakers, live music, and more. All proceeds from the event will go directly to funding programs through the society.

Access Youth Outreach Services Society Gala

When: Friday, October 16; 6 to 11 p.m.

Where: Hard Rock Casino – 2080 United Boulevard, Richmond

Price: $80

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Shawn O'Hara Shawn is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. He loves writing about news, arts, movies, comedy, and culture. Some would argue Shawn is too old to still play Dungeons & Dragons. Shawn would disagree.

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