Caledon Community Services hosts event about ‘Deepening Community’ May 30

by Monty Laskin, Caledon Community Services

Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson recently hosted his business breakfast, entitled “Building Caledon-Imaging the Future”. It was an informal armchair chat with Kirk Brannon, president of Brannon Steel. Mr. Brannon’s bio was sterling, a very wise mind. There was also a mention that he was the incoming Chair of Headwaters Health Care Foundation. Hmmm, a philanthropic foundation getting top billing at a business breakfast. This promised to be interesting.

As a social services wonk, I always have those ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ conversations with colleagues. You know the kind — there’s oodles of money for wellness promotion, and the army is holding galas to purchase a few more fighter jets. As Mayor Thompson and Kirk got to chatting, they had me. Here were two influential community leaders at a gathering of Caledon’s business sector, and top billing was the role business needs to play in a community’s health and wellness. These gents talked about a community they both love to call home. No surprise, their standards were high.

Every big, bold idea that addresses the needs of a growing community needs to raise funds to be sustained. There is rarely anything that any level of government takes on where a charitable agency isn’t expected to pull some of the weight itself. I understand that. There’s nothing CCS should ask others to do that we’re not willing to do ourselves. And beyond funds, these big ideas need the skills of talented and enthusiastic volunteers. Mayor Thompson and Kirk were singing my kind of tunes; they honed right in on the very good business sense of being a business that is proud to have philanthropic interests.

Kudos to Mayor Thompson for suggesting that a healthy community is good for business. His breakfast huddle advocated a deep well of respect for community building and an appreciation of what community services contribute to his community. With Kirk Brannon as a model, Mayor Thompson held a business forum asking Caledon’s businesses to share their good fortune and their skills so that shops like Caledon Community Services, Caledon Parent Child Centre, and Bethell Hospice can do what they do best.

Milton Friedman once said: “The only corporate social responsibility a company has is to maximize its profits.” CCS couldn’t disagree more; apparently, our mayor is also no fan of Mr. Friedman. For that, I am deeply grateful.

Kirk Brannon is a Caledon resident. He looks beyond business to care for his employees and his community. He shared that he thrives when volunteering for causes dear to his heart. From my perspective, I couldn’t have attended a better breakfast meeting. And it was crowned when I won the much-sought prize of lunch with the mayor. I get to bring one guest. It’ll surely be a CCS client, not quite sure who yet. But someone who will share with Caledon’s mayor where our community is spot on and where it needs to step up that much more. I am certain that in the stories shared, business will surely have a role in the successes and in the challenges.

If you’re a business owner who felt that Mayor Allan Thompson and Kirk Bannon were on to something in their friendly chat about the important business of community building, please join the mayor and many other lovers of Caledon on Friday, May 30 for a full-day gathering led by internationally-renowned Paul Born, founder of the Tamarack Institute. Paul will be talking about the ways to generate shared momentum across business, faith, human services, education, etc. It’s at the Caledon Equestrian Park and registration is limited. For details and to register, visit http://events.tamarackcommunity.ca/dc_caledon

Monty Laskin Chief Executive Officer, Caledon Community Services

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