Altruism, or is it?


Back in May everyone on the team was very excited about World Pride and we jumped into it with both feet, decorating the stores, wearing Pride t-shirts, having Pride ribbons and toppers. I didn’t think too much about it other than to talk with Andrew about the fact that millennials  – i.e. the generation which works at PGB – are all about embracing and celebrating differences.

But about a month later, a casual comment by a friend came as a real zinger – she mentioned that she hesitated to buy a certain wine featuring a rainbow label and called Chardonngay because she thought it seemed like an attempt to gather in “gay dollars” –  or words to that effect. My friend is gay and although the conversation (and wine) just flowed along, I gathered she was implying a certain resentment of businesses that capitalize on showing Pride support.

Now we are featuring our Pink Ribbon Cupcake for breast cancer awareness month and next month we have the Movember Cupcake for men’s health issues. But I know there are some who feel that these types of campaigns do harm as well as good. There is the issue of transparency about the amount of funds donated from proceeds and then what the charities do with it – and also the issue that many people with a disease just want to move on and live their life without the disease front and centre.  Read, for example, an excellent Facts and Argument in today’s Globe and Mail, “Don’t Colour Me Pink”.

I guess like so many things in business it is not simple. Whatever decisions a business makes, including those about charitable causes and community support, they must ultimately  assist the business to be viable and make its payroll. Hopefully though when a business provides support, its primary motivation is to help out in some way and give back to the community.

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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