Canadian Charity vs Covid-19

Easter Seals Camp - Courtesy: Easter Seals Ontario Facebook

by Arshia Alexander

I feel proud about Easter Seals’ accomplishments. I don’t know too many charitable organizations that have been around for a hundred years. I don’t know many that have done what we have done for kids over those hundred years. I think it’s incredible, and I don’t think enough people know the story,” says Lauren Squizzato, Development and Fundraising Manager at Easter Seals.

Since the announcement of a global pandemic by WHO on March 11th, 2020, the economy has taken a massive hit globally, including charitable organizations. Easter Seals was one of them.

Angus Reid Inst. Sep 2020


According to data released by Angus Reid, two-in-five Canadians or %37 of regular donors have reportedly donated less than what they used to compared to 2018 and 2019 since the pandemic started.

Easter Seals reported in 2020 that they had lost a little over 2 million dollars in revenue compared to 2018 and 2019.

Losing donors was not the only issue that the pandemic presented. Many charitable and non-profit organizations had to lay off and reduce staff by %30, which is much higher than the %23 staff reduction of the economic downfall of 2008/2009.

Also, the pandemic meant that charities could no longer host their fundraising events in person.


Easter Seals reported in 2020 that they had lost a little over 2 million dollars in revenue compared to 2018 and 2019.

“We’ve always been an event-focused charity, and I think that’s something that during the pandemic, you can’t do, uh you can’t focus on events because you’re not allowed to have them,” says Lauren Squizzato.

According to Squizzato, most Easter Seals staff were older than her and not so familiar with modern technology and online marketing. Despite not hosting in-person events, Squizzato had to help the team familiarize themselves with hosting online events.

“We’ve gotten into a cycle of doing the same thing every year because that’s what we know. So this definitely forced a change, so I think a lot of new and fresh marketing pieces started to form,” says Lauren Squizzato.

Shifting online had its benefits for Easter Seals. According to Squizzato, they had fewer costs hosting some of the events online than paying for venues and other expenses. Shifting online allowed them to break even in 2020 almost.

First Event After Restrictions Lifted

Andrew Nielsen – Courtesy:

On October 2nd, 2021, Easter Seals finally had one of their signature events, “Easter Seals Drop Zone,” in public. Over 60 donors who donated or helped fundraise $1000 and more rappeled down the choice properties building at 175 Bloor Street East wearing superhero costumes. The event was a success. Easter Seals managed to raise over $90,000.

Squizzato said that the big hero of the event was Andrew Nielsen, who helped raise $50,000. Nielsen used to attend Easter Zone’s camps for most of his childhood and is now one of Easter Seals’ ambassadors.

“You’re helping me help kids with physical disabilities be kids. I went to an Easter Seals camp as a kid. I developed independence and many unforgettable memories and made lifelong friends like my best friend, Todd. I want kids with physical disabilities like me to have all that too.” says Andrew Nielsen.




Drop Zone Heroes – Courtesy:



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