100 Heroes looks to make a difference

How to be a hero.

Colin Breadner has the formula. It won't make you bulletproof, it won't make you invisible, and it probably get you into a comic book but a new initiative in the city can qualify five-score people as genuine heroes.

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Based on versions he saw in the United States and Kelowna, local entrepreneur and philanthropist Breadner brought the 100 Heroes initiative to Prince George. He is already halfway to his goal of 100 contributors to the program, which puts money into the hands of local charities.

"A lot of people don't have a lot of time to give to charity, and a lot of people don't have a lot of money to give to charity, so this makes a major contribution by only needing a little from each member," Breadner explained.

Members can join the informal initiative for no charge. People who sign up (go to www.100HeroesPG.com for the steps to do this) can make three suggestions of local charities that could use a cash injection, as long as all the money is guaranteed to stay in Prince George. During April, three of the suggested charities will be drawn randomly out of a hat.

To be more involved in more than making the suggestions, you can contribute $100 and qualify as one of the 100 Heroes. All the money is put in a pool and all of it goes to one charity that emerges from the list of suggestions.

"That kind of single donation of that amount of money can be transformative for a charity," Breadner said.

"We're talking $10,000, so that can have a major impact on any not-for-profit organization's whole year. That can leverage a whole lot for a community association or a sports group, an arts and culture organization, a medical cause. It can change lives."

Raising money for local charities can be stressful and deplete other resources in order to make even modest amounts of income, but this only takes an hour of the charity's time.

That hour will be invested at Trench Brewery & Distillery's great-room on April 29. The three randomly drawn charities "will each be given five minutes and a microphone," said Breadner, "so they can tell us a story about themselves and how the money will be used. We don't want them to talk about who they are and what they do, that will be set out in advance. That five minutes is for them to tell us all a story about that money and how it would help."

The 100 people who chipped in their $100 will all be invited to attend this event, hear the three stories, and mark an X on a secret ballot to vote for their favourite.

"The winning not-for-profit will get the money - all of it," said Breadner. "There will be no second and third place sums of money. The whole point is, if you cut down the money, you cut down the effectiveness."

The runners up, though, can reenter for the next round of the process, which Breadner will facilitate to happen four times a year. The winner of the money pot cannot reenter the process for 18 months following their big win.

"Local people are doing remarkable work to make this a great community, and this will give them the chance to have a big voice, a big presence, and impact the community in ways many of them just can't attain any other way, without a lot of hard work," Breadner said. "Each time we hold a 100 Heroes event, some cause is going to get a really big boost based on small contributions working together."

One stipulation of the winning charities is they have to issue a $100 tax receipt to the 100 people who contribute.

Sign up or become a $100 hero via Facebook or the initiative's website.

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