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Free office space available for local charities

A slick new office will be the free headquarters for multiple charities in Airdrie this year.
Home for charities
The interior of the new 1,000-square-foot Unity in the Community Resource Centre, which Airdrie-based charities will share this year for free.

A slick new office will be the free headquarters for multiple charities in Airdrie this year. NextGen Wealthy, an Airdrie-based company that develops commercial properties, raises capital and invests in start-ups, is offering free rent in one of the units in its strip mall to local charities and non-profit organizations to split for the rest of 2019. The 1,000-square-foot office will be called the Unity in the Community Resource Centre, according to NextGen Wealthy owner Jay Dhahan. The office is located at 500 Centre Avenue East, and was originally built for Stephen’s Backpacks Society (SBS), an Airdrie-based charity that provides backpacks filled with supplies to children in need. “We donated this space to one charity, but now, talking and thinking about it, we can slowly help many, and help many start-up charities," Dhahan said. “We want to be able to utilize the space and provide that home to non-profits here locally.” Dhahan said he was moved when he met SBS  director Nancy McPhee last summer, and heard the story about her son, Stephen’s, charity. He said the company had recently developed a 6,000-square-foot commercial strip mall on Centre Avenue, and offered McPhee a year’s free rent inside the corner unit. “I took her across the street and said, ‘Imagine, Nancy, if you had your own office – a place you could bring your donors, your people and help more and more children,'” he said. “She was quite moved with the idea.” With the voluntary help of many contractors and community members, Dhahan said NextGen Wealthy raised $75,000 to complete the office space and make it fully operational for SBS to move in. The charity held a grand opening Dec. 10, 2018 to celebrate its new home. However, since then, McPhee said she has received phone calls from different charities in Airdrie, asking if it would be possible to share the space. She said after thinking about it, it made more sense to allow those charities to use the office instead of SBS, as the organization already has access to a 4,000-square-foot warehouse in Calgary for its operations. “For 12 years now, I’ve been the receiver of so much generosity and so much love from this city,” McPhee said. “But I also know what it’s like to not have a place, and every year, to be looking for a location. “So, why not pay it forward and stand behind my [philosophy of promoting] unity in the community? I can take my luxury – this beautiful office – and give it to a few charities that could really use it.” Now that Stephen’s Backpacks no longer needs the office, Dhahan said NextGen Wealthy is opening it up to other charities in Airdrie. The company has already started reaching out to various local non-profits, according to Dhahan. He added NextGen Wealthy plans to receive proposals and applications from these groups, and select the ones that would benefit the most from the space. Wanda Pender-Boyd, the Chief Operating Officer of Golden Crown Ventures (a sub-company of NextGen Wealthy) said the charities will be offered a similar arrangement to that which was provided to Stephen’s Backpacks Society. “Not a full year, but we’ll do up to a 30-, 60- or 90-day out-plan with each of these charities,” she said. “That will enable them to get in, get some visibility, and it will help with key marketing and so forth. We hope we can get them on the right platform [to be] successful.”

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