Support Frontline Healthcare Workers

My name is Rick and I am an average citizen that wanted to make a
positive difference in Ottawa during a time of crisis. In the height of the
Covid-19 pandemic our doctors and nurses, including all of the staff
needed to support their efforts, were putting their lives on the line every
day in order to save their fellow citizens. I found myself concerned
about the long term psychological effects on frontline staff as a result of
the many hours they spent fighting the virus.

When the pandemic first took root I decided to focus my time and
efforts into creating a funding program that provided aid to frontline
healthcare workers and to the hospitals in the regions where they work.
To support this effort I designed a lawn sign that would be visible in our
communities. The intent was to express our deep appreciation for all of
their sacrifices. Although the program enjoyed success in the initial
stages, the move to phase 3 of the Covid response significantly reduced
demand for products like this.

Each sign now sells for $20. Proceeds are distributed according to the
following approximate breakdown:

50% ($10) Allocated directly to frontline healthcare workers at a hospital in your area

50% ($10) Covers manufacturing, distribution, and administration costs

These signs are recyclable with your regular pick up. Signs should not
fade for one year. To support local businesses, all signs were printed in
Ottawa using Canadian materials.

$20 per sign is affordable to most home owners. We do not want your
money if you are in dire straights and only ask that those who can
afford a sign give it serious consideration. Note that FrontlineHW will
not be beholden to any large corporation, government, or individual.

The main goal of the initiative is to ensure that frontline workers know
that they are appreciated and that the public stands with them.
Although we are not using distributors at this time, signs can still be
ordered by the public using the “Contact” section of this web site. Some
businesses also buy 10 – 100 signs to decorate their properties for
Canada Day and show their appreciation for frontline staff and
hospitals in their area.

Let us know if we can help raise money for your community!

Program Objectives

Our product has been designed to be 100% Canadian.

During the development of this product FrontlineHW considered the following:

  • How can we show our support and appreciation for the efforts or frontline healthcare workers and how can we provide them with monetary relief?
  • Provide a mechanism that will ensure that all monies donated are applied on a regional priority basis
  • Include support for local economies
  • Allow customers to have easy access to purchase signs from local distributors
  • Prove that the program works by identifying how and where donated money is spent in their local regions
  • Vision: Verify that the program can be used for most urban areas to allow the product to be offered on a province wide or country wide basis
  • Ensure absolute transparency regarding distribution of monies received and maintain up to date accounting ready for audit

Positive Results

A total of 331 signs were sold during 2020 in the west end of
Ottawa. This translated into $3,887.50 for the Queensway Carleton
Hospital. The majority of the money ($2,418.20) was used to
purchase 4 benches so that healthcare workers could relax
during breaks and lunches. These benches are made of materials
that can be cleaned and disinfected making them safe for staff.

An additional donation of $1,456.80 was made to the Queensway
Carleton Hospital Foundation.

The following article was posted on the Queensway Carleton
intranet (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) on September 8, 2020:

“Queensway Carleton Hospital recently had four specialized
benches installed across our campus – each the perfect size for
physical distancing. These benches were a lovely donation from
Rick, who wanted to show support for our frontline workers by
giving them a space to sit and relax outdoors.”

Thank you Rick/FrontlineHW for this kind donation!

Why we decided not to register as a charity

Have you ever made a donation and wondered where your money went? How much of your actual contribution made it to where you wanted it to be spent? The typical average breakdown for charities is as follows:
75% goes to the program
15% is used for administrative activities
10% goes to support fundraising activities

Administrative costs can include 

  • Human Resources and Accounting staff
  • Portions of Director and employees salary
  • Information technologies dedicated to infrastructure and operations
  • Production of annual report
  • Office Supplies
  • Building utilities
  • Legal Services
  • Board of Director expenses

Source: Love to Know – What percentage of donations goes to charity?

Another source seems to indicate that only about 10% is used to support administrative activities and fundraising. This is an excellent report with lots of information on charities and Canadian donating trends.

Source: The Giving Report 2020

After reviewing this information we decided not to register as a charity. There are two main reasons for this:
1. Current Covid-19 donations are time sensitive and the process of establishing a charity can be complicated and time consuming
2. Additional administrative actions are necessary such as establishing a Board of Directors, producing annual reports, rental space/utilities for the business, etc. This adds another level of red tape that impacts our ability to get the product to the consumer.

In the end we would like to think that we are creating a new form of support for Frontline Healthcare Workers. One of our main objectives is to find a way to advise those that have purchased signs where their money went and how it helped those frontline workers.

Many people give to charities in lump sums and do not invest in small operations like ours. We only ask that those who can afford a sign consider supporting our cause. Remember that you will ultimately know how your $10 per sign was spent and how it helped frontline staff.