Businesses in Toronto – big and small – help make our city the economic force it is. They create jobs, they pay taxes and they provide services and create products we need.

We’d suggest there’s another goal local businesses should make a top priority: to give back to the community they serve.

Business owners and their employees are part of our neighbourhoods just as much as anyone else – in fact, they hold a position of influence that should be used to set an example by spreading goodwill.

In recent editions we’ve helped share the stories of some businesses already leading the way.

Bloor West entrepreneur and 1-800-RID-OF-IT President Rick Crawford rolled up his sleeves this week to help clean garbage from the Humber River. He saw a need and made use of his expertise – providing the trucks, staff and equipment from his national rubbish removal company to clean one of our city’s waterways.

Etobicoke-based ShredEX recently held a charity paper shredding event where companies were invited to pay a nominal fee to shred papers and the proceeds all went to a local crisis centre.

And in Scarborough, Rouge Valley Mitsubishi held a charity test drive event and raised more than $1,200 for the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club.

There are plenty of non-profits and local community groups in need of help. Encourage employees to participate in one of the many charity walks that take place throughout the year. Or form a company team and pitch in on a Habitat for Humanity build.

Doing this can be a win for everyone – for the community, but also as a team-building exercise and a way to instill pride in the company and confidence in its mandate.

Even adding a charity element to a new office opening or anniversary can make a difference. North York’s Royal LePage Partners celebrated its 100th birthday this year with a barbecue and fundraiser for the North York Women’s Shelter.

It’s the completely selfless actions that inspire further good works. As the backbone of our communities, businesses should use that leverage to support the people around them.

If your business is going above and beyond, let us help spread that good influence.

The North York Mirror’s and Scarborough Mirror’s Urban Hero Awards are underway and we’re seeking nominations in all categories – including the business category. Visit www.urbanheroes.ca for rules and to submit a nomination.

Editorial: Bloor West Villager

September 12, 2013