We Charity turns some of its properties into revenue

We Charity Inc., a Toronto-based real estate investment company and charities such as Right to Play and Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, has sold two downtown Toronto properties it owned for a…

We Charity turns some of its properties into revenue

We Charity Inc., a Toronto-based real estate investment company and charities such as Right to Play and Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, has sold two downtown Toronto properties it owned for a combined total of $36 million.

The sale has been pending since July when Financial Times cited a potential $40 million sale to a Chilean investor for one building, and $32 million to a Japanese investor for the other building. None of the two reported deals closed last month.

We Charity had sold seven properties in 2016 and 2017 for $35 million, according to Reuters’ reporter Catherine Ng in Toronto.

The properties are a 55,000-square-foot office building at 67 Trinity Street in Toronto’s financial district and a 10,300-square-foot condo building at 285 King Street West, known locally as the Dutch House, adjacent to “the Danforth” — an artists’ alley.

In a statement sent to The Washington Post, a spokeswoman for We Charity said the transaction is important because the sellers want to monetize their assets and become a property developer. The two properties would be $39 million.

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We Charity said the profit from the transaction helped fund We Charity’s projects. In 2015, for example, We Charity has distributed $45 million in its investments, and donated $27 million in 2017 to over 350 charitable projects and programs.

The sum makes the companies at the center of the transaction “one of the leaders in a growing number of publicly-traded real estate investment companies that prioritize philanthropy,” the spokeswoman said.

We Charity owns 200 buildings with 84,000-square-feet of office space in Toronto. We Charity was founded in 2005.

“We Charity, through The We Charity Trust, which we run with We Charity Investors Limited Partnership, is focused on translating investment and tax loss position into meaningful philanthropic grants,” the spokeswoman said.

Robert Rose, who manages We Charity’s fundraising efforts, is a former president of the Board of Advisors for the Canadian Council of Non-Profits and is a senior advisor for the Centre for Philanthropy at Queen’s University, the spokeswoman said.

“Through We Charity’s ongoing partnership with Ford, Mike is joining the We Charity board,” she said. “We Charity is delighted that Mike will join the We Charity board, whose mission is to give back to the community through fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Mike Ford is founding partner of Ford Motor Company of Canada and is involved in the world of philanthropy, according to We Charity’s website.

His involvement with the family-owned automaker comes from service, not money. Mike Ford and his brother Rob Ford established a foundation called the Ben Rose Foundation of Brain and Spinal Injuries which supports causes around the world that provide for people with brain and spinal injuries. That foundation has funded scholarships, increased recycling and rescue search dogs.

It comes to light

Last month, CityNews reported that We Charity paid more than $23 million for this two property in 2016. At the time, Finance Minister Charles Sousa said he was “not aware” of that sale, nor was he aware that two years later We Charity sold the building for less than the original price, according to a January 2017 report in the Toronto Star.

“We Charity has come to this issue after learning of changes in the Ontario Capital Region,” Meghan Harward, a spokeswoman for We Charity, told The Washington Post last month.

Harward said she couldn’t disclose what she could about We Charity’s move with We Charity Investors Limited Partnership (WTIL), the arm of the We Charity investor in Toronto.

In the 2017 report, It also didn’t disclose that We Charity Investments Limited Partnership sold its offices in Toronto in 2016.

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