Bingo for Better: Raising Funds and Awareness on International Women’s Day

March 29, 2019

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a chance to recognize challenges still faced by women, and take action towards a better future.

On March 8th, 2019, our Raymond James colleagues across the country wore purple to raise awareness for this year’s #balance for better campaign. Our teams took action by hosting unique fundraisers in support of local charities working to improve the lives of girls and women.

The Raymond James Canada Foundation is thrilled to augment our colleagues’ efforts by providing additional grants to each recipient charity. Together, we raised nearly $7,000 to help build a better, more gender-balanced world.

L-R: Paul Allison,Chairman & Chief Executive Officer RJL; Julie Eifert, Assistant Branch Manager RJL Toronto

“Advocating for females, equality and inclusion is something I’m really passionate about,” explains Amanda Collinge, Manager, Operations Performance CSG. This passion motivated Amanda to organize a hugely successful IWD fundraiser for our Vancouver Corporate Services Group.

“I wanted to create an event that was fun, exciting, inclusive, and provided a learning opportunity” says Amanda, “and Bingo fit the bill!” The bingo game took place by email throughout the day, and included facts and statistic about gender bias in the workplace.

Funds raised will support Battered Women’s Support Services, who provide advocacy and support services to women who have experienced abuse. BWSS promotes safety and equality, and aims to eliminate oppression and violence against women.

“The Battered Women’s Services Society was selected as the Bingo charity as in the past I’ve had personal experience with domestic violence, and the BWSS is an organization that’s providing help to those who need it right here in our community,”  explains Amanda.

Amanda Collinge, third from the left, and the CSG Operations team

Amanda’s brilliant bingo idea inspired other teams to get involved. Led by Jen Gibson, Senior Branch Administrator, Vancouver’s Cathedral Branch also held a bingo fundraiser in support of the Dixon Transition Society. “It certainly created a buzz around the office!” says Jen. “It was fun and interactive, but it also brought awareness to the continued barriers that millions of women still face.” The Dixon Transition Society helps to reduce the impact of domestic violence by providing a safe haven for women and children through transitional housing programs, counselling and outreach services. The Cathedral Branch has proudly supported their life-changing work for the past 13 years.

Our Kelowna branch also took up the bingo challenge, raising funds for Mamas for Mamas, an organization that supports mothers in crisis, and provides ongoing support to low income mothers and their children.

L-R: Derek Rennie, Sam MacCallum, June Low, Kathy Martinez, Cathi Muncaster, Anastasiia Myronenko, Michael Balawejder, Eimear Moriarty

Thanks to a dedicated and enthusiastic team of IWD champions, bingo initiative was a huge hit in our Toronto branch and corporate offices. “Much excitement was generated by the bingo game,” says Julie Eifert, Assistant Branch Manager, “and it was essential in creating awareness about diversity and gender equality. Awareness is the first step to creating positive change.”

Funds raised will go to support Sistering, a multi-service agency for at-risk, socially isolated women in Toronto who are homeless or precariously housed. Their services support marginalized women from diverse backgrounds.

Monica Yiu, administrative assistant, shared her personal motivation to support the cause: “my colleagues at Raymond James guide and empower me to do better. With such a great support system, I think it is right to give back to sisters in need.”

L-R Mark Shimkovitz, Julie Eifert, Megan Callaghan, Brad Smith, Monica Yiu

Fundraising efforts across the country went beyond bingo. In Calgary, our team held an International Women’s Day lunch-and-learn to raise funds and awareness. Christina Chow explained her motivation to host the event: “I want to set an example for my daughter, her friends and ALL girls that they can be strong, driven and confident. If they believe in themselves they can do anything.”

The funds collected will go to support Canadian Women’s Foundation.  CWF is Canada’s public foundation focused on systemic change to support women’s economic development, girls’ empowerment, inclusive leadership and prevention of gender-based violence.

Raymond James Ltd. Calgary

In Victoria, our colleagues did some spring cleaning at home and at the office to collect essential household items to be donated to two local women’s charities focused on housing.  “As a branch, this cause is near and dear to our hearts” explains Nadja Lawrence, Branch Administrator.

Women In Need Community Cooperative helps women achieve healthy, environmentally and financially sustainable lives for themselves and their families. Victoria Women’s Transition House Society works to prevent intimate partner violence and abuse through supportive shelter, housing, counselling and other community-based services.

L-R:Rada Grbic and Kirsty Thomson, Raymond James Victoria

Our Ottawa branch also hosted a donation drive, collecting household items for Cornerstone Housing for Women, an organization working to put an end to homelessness. “Our branch felt it was important to recognize women’s achievements as well as their struggles. Keeping this in mind, Ottawa has very cold winters so we wanted to donate to women who need emergency shelter in our city” explains Sarah. “Women can end up needed emergency housing for reasons such as domestic abuse, mental illness or affordability and we hope to see an end to this one day!”

L-R: Sarah Brillinger, Jeremy Rowe, Donna Capstick, Karol Phillips, Jannie Doronila, Shari Braun


The Raymond James Canada Foundation is proud to support the accomplishments of women in the workplace. As Amanda Collinge notes, “International Women’s Day is a great time to celebrate all of the inspiring women in our lives!”

Thank you to all our Raymond James Ltd. colleagues who participated in our 2019 International Women’s Day initiatives!