Skip to main content

Wake up call: New report on Community Investment

Wake up call: New report on Community Investment

alrm clock against blue background

The role of business in our communities has never been more important. Billions of dollars in corporate social investments and authentic partnerships are needed to face the challenges ahead. But are Canadian companies ready?  

Imagine Canada’s new research explores the most pressing and long term shifts in corporate social investment in Canada, encouraging Canadian companies to think differently about how they invest with and engage in their communities as they explore paths forward. Through emerging data and qualitative research, the study explores a series of cataclysmic shifts that have occurred within the social good sector of Canada and looks at how companies have responded in 2020, making real time adjustments in their strategy for corporate partnerships, giving, and volunteering.




Read the report to find out:

  • How companies have responded to surfacing issues during COVID-19
  • The social shifts affecting the future of community investment
  • The uneven distribution of burden on communities and innovations that have been brought forth in response
  • What communities need and expect from corporations in order to build back better

What it matters

This study exploring the business response to challenges faced in 2020 shows corporate philanthropy at its best. From loosening funding restrictions, allowing community partners agility to respond to the pandemic according to needs on the ground, to the outpouring of support for the BIPOC communities, companies and their employees have stepped up to the plate in 2020, providing billions of dollars in relief to Canadian communities.

The pandemic also ushered in new waves of innovation within our communities. But despite the new practices implemented and the outpouring of support from the corporate world, social issues - food insecurity, homelessness, mental health - are worsening, and the nonprofit sector is in crisis. Faced with unprecedented challenges in 2020, the companies that participated in our study have been engaged, responsive, empathetic, and flexible. The challenge and opportunity that lies ahead will be asking how this can serve as a wake up call to continue this effort, do better, and do more. 

About this report

In addition to compiling data and insights available from secondary sources, Imagine Canada connected directly with more than two dozen leaders in the corporate community investment, corporate social responsibility, partnership, sponsorship, and employee volunteering space. We asked them how the changes introduced in response to the pandemic are impacting them in the short and long-term, and how it will impact corporate community investment and related parts of their work. Twenty leaders were directly interviewed, 8 participated in a focus group, and more than 50 participated in a town hall discussion. 

About the Caring Company Certification

The Caring Company Certification recognizes outstanding contribution and leadership in corporate community investment and encourages Canadian businesses to make giving back a strategic priority. Caring Companies are corporate philanthropy leaders that commit to giving at least 1% of their pre-tax profit in support of their communities. 

First launched in 1988, the Caring Company Certification is Canada's premier public expression of excellence in corporate community investment and social responsibility, and the only certification of its kind in the country. 

Certified companies set the standards for social responsibility and corporate community investment in Canada. Connect with Imagine Canada to learn more about the certification, and find out if your business qualifies to be a Caring Company.


This project was made possible thanks to generous support from our National Partner, RBC Foundation.

RBC Foundation logo



Imagine Canada would also like to acknowledge the support and participation of our Knowledge Partner, Blackbaud.

Blackbaud logo green


Subscribe to the Imagine 360° Newsletter
Stay up-to-date about the latest news, research, events, and opinions across the sector.
Unsubscribe at any time through the link in the newsletter footer.
Imagine Canada, 65 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, ON M4T 2Y3,
First and Last name
Let's Imagine podcast banner
Related blog post

Let's Imagine Podcast EPISODE 19: The Burden of Care - Addressing Challenges in Employment in the Nonprofit Sector with Laura McDonough and Steven Ayer

In a study from the Environics Institute, Future Skills Centre, and Diversity Institute, findings showed that nonprofit sector workers are less satisfied with their jobs than workers in either the public or private sectors.

Related Resource

Decision Making Framework for Nonprofits

Caring Companies
Become a leader in community investment.
Caring Company Logo