Social Enterprise Projects

Combat Hunger Today

Combat Hunger Today was created to help alleviate food insecurity through Fair Trade distribution of Kampot Pepper – known as the best pepper in the world. At Combat Hunger Today the consumer or corporate gift buyer can purchase organic spice and ‘Help Farmers & Feed Kids’.

The idea was inspired by the late Paul Newman. Newman’s Own has contributed over $600M to charity since 1982. They have done that at about five percent of gross revenue. At the Give Back Market we have increased the give by an order of magnitude (ten times). At Combat Hunger you can also donate directly to an international aid agency or to local food banks. Social Purchasing is a simple yet, in this case, delicious form of philanthropy.

Entrance to Hotel & Gallery with video array.
Entrance to Hotel & Gallery with video array.

The original concept for the Skwachàys Lodge & Residence was to combine a medical stay facility for Indigenous people coming to Vancouver for medical treatment and an artist live/work residence for artists requiring supportive housing. From conception to completion this ten million dollar project took ten years. Joseph MacLean was the lead consultant on the project from 2004 until it opened in June 2012. Watch the opening day video..

Tasks included market research, feasibility studies, financial analysis, business plan development, proposal writing, fund-raising, community visioning, project management, media and communications strategies, managing the cultural enhancement process as well as the creation of a video array that extends into the sidewalk. The site includes the 24 supportive housing units, an 18-room boutique hotel and the street level Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery.

Through the Eye of the Raven - 7600 Sq Ft
Through the Eye of the Raven – 7600 Sq Ft


Digital Technology & Education Society was a play on the letters DTES, the local name for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Funded by the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Strategy the project trained Indigenous youth in the digital trades – in particular web design and development. The project ended in 2009 when the funding ran out but was reopened in 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. the DTES is partnered with the American international development agency USAID.

The motto of this digital trade school is: ‘We don’t hire people to build websites. We build websites to hire people.’


Shine a Light on Literacy was a social enterprise project that I developed for Vancouver Native Health Society. The fund-raising component was based on a hand crank LED flashlight that could also charge a cell phone. We sold these cranklights at the PNE and as a fund-raiser for other groups including other non-profits, schools, libraries and community organizations. The project also created summer jobs in the Aboriginal community that brought youth and elders together to help ‘shine a light on literacy.’ 


Interestingly it was this project that led me write ‘A is for Aboriginal’ that is distributed online and through booksellers in Canada, the United States and even in South East Asia. The book is also used a a fund-raiser for schools, libraries and non-profits.

Environmentally friendly flashlight
Environmentally friendly flashlight