Saint John Businesses Form Social Investment Circle Called The ‘Quarter Club’

SAINT JOHN – A group of business owners in Saint John has created a new club to tackle some of the biggest social issues in their community.

The Quarter Club is a group of local small business owners and entrepreneurs that have created a social investment circle that was officially launched Tuesday at McGill’s in Market Square.

Shane Borthwick of Impact Investing says they got the idea from The United Way’s Million Dollar Pledge campaign, which began by recruiting 10 local businesses to commit $10,000 a year for 10 years for a total of $1 million to invest in addressing social issues in the city. The group now has 13 members and counting.

Nine business owners have joined the Quarter Club and their target is to double this number by the end of February. The social investment club requires a five-year commitment of $2,500 from each business every year, more manageable for companies with less money to commit on a yearly basis, says Borthwick.

“They’re doing it at the $1-million level,” he said. “What if we brought that down to a level that’s more accessible for smaller businesses.”

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The founding group identified early on they wanted to focus their efforts on domestic violence and mental health.

“When we met with the United Way, we learned that Saint John has one of the highest rates of violence against young girls in Canada. This is unacceptable. As parents of two girls, this statistic hit very close to home,” said  Corey and Emily McGill, owners of McGills.

“We are proud to work with the United Way as we collaborate with other businesses in Southwest New Brunswick. All of us working together will help us have a greater impact in our communities, get families the help they need to break the cycle of abuse in our region.”

Borthwick says there’s strength in numbers when it comes to businesses making a difference in the community.

“Our view of success in business is more than just profit, it is about triple-bottom-line results,” said Borthwick. “As a founding member of the Quarter Club, we are able to leverage our time and financial resources with other like-minded entrepreneurs in the region to move the needle on some of our community’s biggest social issues – access to mental health and breaking the cycle of domestic violence.”

The other founding members of the Quarter Club are Jake Palmer of Remax, Cynthia Goodwin of CC Goodwin Consulting, Janice MacPhearson and Keith Dunphy of Pomodori, Fitzpatrick Wealth Management, Krista Wetmore of IG Wealth, and an anonymous donor.

Wetmore says the United Way’s rigorous screening process of charities and focus on results was a great way to ensure their donations will be making a difference.

“I joined the Quarter Club because it is a great way for business leaders to pool resources in order to provide significant funding for mental health and domestic violence programs in our region,” she said, in a release. “The United Way has a rigorous screening framework to determine which programs to support. The results are closely monitored with clear performance metrics, thereby ensuring we are making a difference.”

Banner photo: Back left to right: Greg Hemmings, Corey McGill, Keith Dunphy, Robert McGuire. Front left to right:  Heather MacLean, Cynthia Goodwin, Emily McGill, Janice MacPherson, Shane Borthwick. Image: Christine Comeau/submitted.