A lesson they’ve learned is the importance of creating opportunities for empowerment and sustenance for the people they’re trying to help. Giving away free items without being mindful of the local marketplace or without any attempts at job creation can have the (often unintended) consequence of keeping local communities dependent on the organizations who’ve implemented some very well-meaning projects.
Elisa Birnbaum is editor-in-chief of SEE Change Magazine, a digital publication of social entrepreneurship and social change. Her journalistic portfolio includes articles published in the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, CBC.ca, Profit, Zoomer and Lifestyles Magazine. She's a regular contributor on social entrepreneurship for the National Post and covers issues in the non-profit sector as a freelance reporter for CharityVillage.com. President of Elle Communications, Elisa helps her clients tell their stories effectively and with impact. As a producer, she has worked on documentaries and current affairs programs at History Television, Discovery Health, TVO and the CBC. Elisa holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Concordia University and an LL.B degree from Université de Montréal and the University of Toronto's Osgoode Hall. She's a speaker on social entrepreneurship and was recently awarded an Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship at Cambridge University, UK, for her work with SEE Change Magazine. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.