of charities either urgentlyor very urgently need a renovation.


of charities believe a renovation will increase their ability to deliver services.

The Problem:


Many charity buildings and infrastructure are in poor condition, inhibiting non-profits’ ability to deliver important social services, to be innovative, and respond to changing needs.

However, for decades the importance of charity buildings has been largely ignored, even though these places are where many of our most important social services are provided. They are our food banks, our community halls, our shelters, our counselling centres, our community kitchens…

Many charity buildings are not only a blight on neighbourhoods, they actually diminish the ability of charities to do their important work, negatively affecting programs, work efficiencies, staff and volunteer morale, maintenance costs, neighbourhood support and the psychological state of clients. As well, the state and design of a building often inhibits an organization’s ability to innovate.

When in operation, HeroWork worked with a wide range of charities, understanding their visions, developing renewal concepts and plans, and delivered millions of dollars’ worth of high-quality renovations that transform both buildings and the way in which charities operate within those buildings.

Infrastructure Study
Through the years, HeroWork repeatedly saw the same challenges: the condition of charity buildings is diminishing non-profits’ ability to be innovative, create deep social change, and respond to changing community needs. In response we embarked on a three-phased study that investigated the state of charity buildings, the specific challenges faced by charity organizations in relation to their infrastructure, and the system of societal stakeholders in which non-profits buildings exist. Although HeroWork is no longer operating, the result of these studies are still crucial to the health of the sector.


is how much money HeroWork saves partner charities.


satisfaction rating from HeroWork volunteers.

The Solution We Deployed:


HeroWork’s mission was to organize and complete community-based, quality renovations for and with charities, to increase their capacity and efficiency to serve vulnerable populations. HeroWork transformed charities by transforming their buildings.

To did this we mobilized the community—dozens of companies and hundreds of volunteers—to come together on a project in a very short period of time, obtaining donations of labour/materials. We called these events Radical Renovations, which transformed a standard renovation into a spectacular community event, giving participants life-affirming experiences.

Good charity buildings ripple out positive effects in our community. A well-designed and renovated building increases operational efficiencies, lifts up volunteers and staff, revitalizes neighbourhoods, improves relations, engenders innovation, and, most importantly, empowers better services for vulnerable populations in our communities.


Food Bank Model
The Mustard Seed is a well-loved and long-term charity of Victoria, which runs the largest food bank on Vancouver Island. But they had been operating a typical food hamper program for years, where clients would come in, be interviewed, and a volunteer would pick, pack, and provide a box of food for a family. To reduce waste and provide a more dignified experience, the Mustard Seed developed a vision of a “grocery store-style market” in which clients could choose their own food for their families. The problem was that their warehouse was ugly, ill-equipped, and not at all designed to become a type of social grocery store. Plus, they didn’t have the fiscal resources required for an upgrade.

HeroWork partnered with them and developed concepts, plans, and drawings that brought their vision to life. Then HeroWork mobilized over 100 companies and 500 volunteers, contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of in-kind labour and goods.

Today the Mustard Seed operates one of the most innovative programs in the province, serving the food insecure of Victoria in a more efficient and humane way.

Recovery Program
The Our Place Society has been helping the impoverished, mentally and physically challenged, addicted and homeless for decades. Through their years of experience, they discerned that homelessness, addiction, and incarceration represent a repeating, complex, and interconnected pattern that kept people entrenched on the streets.

Our Place researched an innovative solution, modelled from an Italian community called San Patrignano that reports a 72% full recovery rate for thousands of residents who complete their program. Through several deep partnerships they were able to get a long-term lease of an old youth detention facility to operate a Therapeutic Recovery Community. The problem was that the facility needed extensive and expensive renovations to make it look, feel, and operate like a home, not a jail.

They partnered with HeroWork to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on a complex and wide-ranging renovation that now enables them to operate an innovative Therapeutic Recovery Community that, we believe, will become a new model of treatment in Canada.