Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award Nominee - All Together Now

Canadian Distributor Establishes Charity To Give Back To The Less Fortunate

Raman AgarwalAge-old problems persist in many communities across the globe today. Any search of news headlines results in numerous reports of environmental destruction, urban violence, substance addiction and abuse, the prevalence of preventable illnesses and the lack of access to food, clean water and education. While the causes of these situations are often complicated, one thing is clear: The more privileged of the world still have a lot of work to do in the name of helping those in need.

Thankfully, there are successful companies that make aiding needy people a part of their business culture. Case in point: The Akran Foundation, the charitable arm of Akran Marketing (asi/115329) based in Ottawa, Canada. Akran Marketing was founded in 1997 on a part-time basis and went into full operation four years later; today, the company has satellite offices across North America. While the company has been involved in charitable efforts from the beginning, it formed the Akran Foundation in 2010 as an official community-based nonprofit with the goal of supporting a variety of charitable organizations to help disadvantaged people both in Canada and internationally. It currently supports 25 charities.

"The Akran Foundation was created to show our clients, suppliers and partners that Akran Marketing is not just about making money and keeping all the profits," says Raman Agarwal, president and CEO of the company and founding director of the Foundation. "It's about sharing and giving hope to the communities we live in and cherish." Through the Foundation, Akran Marketing distributes 10% of its annual net profits in the form of donations, grants, technical expertise, products and services, primarily in Canada, India and China, to a range of charitable initiatives in various sectors, including health, education and the humanities.

In addition to direct financial donations, the Foundation matches employees' contributions and donates imprinted wholesale-priced items to nonprofits' and charities' marketing efforts, as well as free overstock products. Gift collections, auctions and fundraisers are held, all with the goal of raising awareness and money for needy communities. Organizations it currently supports include The Missing Children's Network of Canada, the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre, The Children's Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and many more.

When it comes to determining which organizations to support, the Foundation operates on a case-by-case basis. "Our fundamental goals are to provide education, protect our environment and support our communities," says Agarwal. "We will support any charity that falls into these categories." While more and more companies are making charitable efforts a key part of their operating procedures, Agarwal believes there's always more work to be done.

"I think it should be of great importance to everyone," he says. "Every company in North America should make it part of their Corporate Social Responsibility to suggest that their staff donate their time or money or both, and the company should match the contribution if possible. By doing this, we can make this world a better place, and help to reduce poverty and hunger while providing better education to each and every child."

To find out more information about the Akran Foundation, visit