Ingram Micro Celebrates Relationships, Helps Community

For the second year running, Ingram Micro Canada used its end-of-year vendor event, Ingram Micro Experience, to both thank its top vendor partners for a good year, and brighten the end of the year for a couple of local charities near and dear to the hearts at the distributor.

Held at the posh Trump International in downtown Toronto, Ingram used the event to both update its vendor partners on its strategy for 2014, and raise some additional funds, providing donations to three worthy causes in total. I caught up with Ingram’s Mark Snider, Jennifer Johnson, and Dave Mason at the event to explain the premise.

On the night, Ingram presented cheques for $21,000 each to The Vita Centre, a non-profit devoted to providing parenting support and education to young parents in Ontario’s Peel region, and Our Place Peel, the only homeless shelter for youth in the same region. It’s the second consecutive year that Ingram has provided support for Vita Centre, while Our Place Peel is new this year.

For Debra Thomson, executive director of the Vita Centre, last year’s donation of $32,000 was transformative. It was the first major corporate donation for the organization, and Thomson said it allowed the Centre to both expand its space, and its office space.

“What Ingram did is an example of leadership,” Thomson said. “They’ve played a phenomenally important role in the Vita Centre’s history.”

This year, the distributor asked Thomson for recommendation on a second local charity to support, and she suggested Our Place Peel, a shelter whose 14 beds are averaging 98 percent occupancy. The organization, which both shelter and support in the form of training and skills development to homeless youth between 16 to 21, is the only one of its kind in Peel Region, and regularly has to turn away youth. Christy Upshall, executive director for Our Place Peel, said the charity is expanding its offerings to include more support for at-risk youth who’ve left the shelter already, seeking to reduce recidivism.

Upshall said Ingram’s support goes well beyond the presentation of a cheque.

“They’re really tying to engage their employee with non-profits and educate their staff,” she said. “They’re here to support you as well, and brainstorm new ideas.”

In addition to the cheques for Vita Centre and Our Place Peel, the distributor and its vendor partners raised $2,580 for the Chum Christmas Wish, which offers presents to children in need throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Ingram co-ordinated the donation through a raffle at the event, with prizes including tickets to a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game, a night at the Trump International, and a Tiffany bracelet.