Making Mountains Of Molehills(In a good way) by Paul Seale
It was smiles all around recently when Heather Cabral of the Social Beehive made a donation to the Old East Village Grocer.
Owned and operated by ATN Access for Persons with Disabilities, the store has been the recipient of donations before, but this one was different. ATN Executive Director Vicki Mayer explains, “When we chose to open a social enterprise, we knew that we were entering into a special community of believers: people who see everyday transactions as an opportunity to make a better world.”
It’s a thought that resonates with another social entrepreneur. Realtor Marla Marnoch, a self-described “neighbourhood enthusiast” founded Earmark to help people invest in their communities by allowing her clients to donate part of her commission to charities of their choice. “People are buying and selling houses anyway,” she says. “This is an opportunity for our clients to be change-makers and create the maximum possible good out of their moves.”
Cabral was attracted to Earmark and Marnoch helped her find her new home near the Old East Village Grocer. “When I started making regular visits to the store, I found that good things always happen there. I connect positively with an old acquaintance or I meet someone with an interesting opportunity. And I see the staff there growing in confidence and independence.” Founder of London’s Conscious Christmas event – an effort to have people offer experience-based gift s for the holidays – Cabral knew she had found a kindred spirit when the grocery store jumped in. “I began to see how visionary the store was as a community hub and a training centre, how much it was doing for the community I live in. All of this while I was deciding where to donate the money made available by Earmark.”
A week later, at a party for the store’s first anniversary, she gathered with family, Marnoch, Mayer and OEV Grocer manager Matt Swenson to present a cheque for $1400 to the store. “I know that this place will make the best possible use of the money,” Cabral says, ”and make the most out of telling this story.”