Extending the Season of Giving and Helping Good Causes Win Year-Round


 We typically refer to the holiday season – those weeks up to and including Christmas, Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa and other year-end celebrations — as the season of giving. It is tradition in various cultures – including many of those that help shape British Columbia and make it the rich and diverse Pacific Gateway province that it is – to exchange gifts out of love, family, friendship and even respect. Generosity of spirit and renewal is also synonymous with the lead-up to Chinese New Year and other similar celebrations outside of the Gregorian calendar at this time of year.

Running parallel to those conventions of gift-giving is the annual high-water mark of charitable giving, incentivized as it is in Canada by the December 31st deadline for tax deductibility in any one calendar year. In recent years, the day of giving – or Giving Tuesday as it has become popularized in the United States on the first Tuesday after the American Thanksgiving holiday – has earmarked the last week of November as the beginning of the year-end fund-raising push for many charities throughout North America. That focused month – between Giving Tuesday (which was Tuesday, November 29th in 2022 and will be Tuesday, November 28th in 2023) and December 31st – accounts for the vast majority of charitable donations made each year.

I’m an example of that. If you’re like I was this year – and like I am most years — most of my donations were made on the deadline day of December 31st.

Over the years, my own “Podium” of donations has tended to be directed towards children’s charities in general and those that inspire play, physical activity and sport for young people. That Podium includes the born-in-BC KidSport charity, so that All Kids Can Play. It also includes the global Right To Play and the BC Sports Hall of Fame’s own Hero In You program.

KidSport donations typically go to cover the registration fees of kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford playing hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball, football and the many individual sports that they would love to call their own. Right To Play donations tend to cover equipment and other start-up essentials so that kids can play year-round, even in impoverished countries in Africa and around the world – but they can also be directed to programs that empower children and allow them to stay in school in the face of “violence, child labour, early marriage, illiteracy and inequality”. Our own Hero In You campaign at the BC Sports Hall of Fame skews toward the inspiration and aspiration that draws young people towards sport, recreation and physical activity. It is quintessential story-telling – designed to Inspire the Future – through everything from the spoken words of Honoured Members of the BC Sports Hall of Fame to school-based learning modules that dig deep on the journeys of game-changing British Columbians such as Terry Fox. Every single point of contact under the Hero in You umbrella is meant to pick kids up and give them an added sense of purpose – and inspiration — as they build their young identities as active-living and well-performing children.

I was proud – again this year – to make donations on December 31st to help support KidSport (specifically the North Shore chapter), Right To Play and the Hero in You program of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. For me, it was important to make my KidSport and Right To Play donations in the name of Dr. Don Hedges, who passed away last Friday after a long illness. “Doc Hedges” gave so much of himself over the course of his life and his career to ensure that the athletes he worked with – in lacrosse, soccer and other sports — received the best in medical care and health support. In his own way, he stood for the principles of play and performance in ways that few could ever match over the years as the team physician for the Coquitlam Adanacs, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the old Vancouver Ravens.

I was also happy to see my friends at Pastime Sports & Games – led by collectibles guru and trading card expert Ken Richardson – donate $800 from a Kirk McLean autograph signing session last month to KidSport BC (specifically the Langley Chapter). Pastime did so in the memory of Daryl Weiss, the long-standing collectibles leader who was simply one of the real good guys. Daryl, who brought his infectious smile and his unbridled passion to everything he did in the promotion of signed memorabilia and apparel, passed away last month as well. But like Doc Hedges, he will never be forgotten.

Those dedications help make donations to KidSport, Right To Play and the Hero in You program even more meaningful, in the period of traditional giving in November and December. Yet they can also make any donation to these terrific children’s sport charities more substantive and compelling at ANY TIME of the year.

And that’s among my own resolutions for 2023. Yes, I will continue to make specific year-end donations. I will continue to get fired up for the Day of Giving that last week in November and respond to the sheer adrenalin of the December 31st deadline day. But more than ever before, I will do my part to dedicate donations in the memory and honour of people who have made and continue to make our province, our country and our world better. The good news is that it is a built-in tool that is part of the online donations platforms of KidSport, Right To Play and the Hero in You. It’s so easy to do.

Moreover, I will make it a priority to establish some monthly giving commitments to these core charities of mine, so that the Season of Giving is extended to help game-changing causes all year long.

The December 31st deadline has passed for another tax year. Yet Sport BC’s KidSport “Give the Gift of Sport” campaign runs through this Friday, January 6th, with a goal of raising $1 million very much in play. And I can tell you that Right To Play and the Hero in You program here at the BC Sports Hall of Fame will appreciate every dollar no matter when the donation is made.

As we look out at the tremendous opportunities and potential of 2023, I encourage you as supporters of the BC Sports Hall of Fame to go with your heart. Identify your favourite children’s sport charities – whether it is KidSport, Right To Play, the Hero in You or another great cause. Plan to give before next December 31st. And better still, consider spreading out your gifts over the course of these next 12 months. Finally, if it moves you, make your donation in the name of someone you want to remember or otherwise honour.

A little bit will go a long way on each of these fronts. Happy New Year!

Tom Mayenknecht, Chair
BC Sports Hall of Fame

PS – For more information on the BC Sports Hall of Fame’s Hero in You program, contact our Experiential Programs and Learning Ambassador, Nina Houle at nina@bcsportshall.com.

Tom Mayenknecht is the Chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. A principal at Emblematica Brand Builders in Vancouver and a nationally-recognized sport business commentator and host of The Sport Market on BNN Bloomberg Radio and TSN Radio, he is a strong advocate for the KidSport, Right To Play and other children’s charities. He is also a member of the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame as a builder.