For anyone who knows D-Squared Construction CEO Domenic Franco Madonna, they will tell you that for him, giving back to the community is nothing short of a passion project.
As an Ottawa-born entrepreneur who worked his way up in the construction industry, Madonna has remained committed to using his business success to help others, striving to support a different charity every year.
During the height of the pandemic in 2021, Madonna and his team set out to raise $100,000 for The Ottawa Mission through their #SpreadTheLove campaign – a goal that quickly snowballed into triple the amount.
“When we hit our target goal within the first week, I was shocked,” says Madonna, who raised over $300,000 by personally reaching out to D-Squared’s vast network of business partners, suppliers and vendors for support. “I don’t think people realize the type of power they have to inspire others to give back. There are a lot of other companies out there that can do what we did, just by picking up the phone.”
On top of the company’s fundraising efforts, D-Squared donated $25,000 to create winter warmth kits for residents in the community, which a team of employees from D-Squared helped package alongside the team at The Ottawa Mission.
For Madonna, the donation isn’t about recognition, or a pat on the back, it all comes down to helping those in need, he says.
“It’s simple, Ottawa needs to help Ottawa,” he adds. “At the end of the day, people remember you for the things that you do for the community and the things that help other people, not for how much success you have or money you make.”
Building a community
For the team at The Ottawa Mission, Madonna’s donation has allowed them to move forward with the renovation of a new eight-unit housing facility that will provide members of the community with a warm, safe and affordable place to call home.
With the cost of living skyrocketing, and need for supportive services also on the rise, this couldn’t come at a better time, says Kristin Schilkie, manager of housing services at The Ottawa Mission.
“One of our biggest challenges has always been a lack of affordable, safe housing,” she says. “Donations like this have a direct impact on people in our community and it puts us one step closer to ending chronic homelessness for individuals in our city.”
Currently, The Ottawa Mission owns two other housing facilities in the capital, but with the addition of the third Schilkie says they will be able to expand the program to more residents.
“We are a non-profit so having those partnerships with businesses and members of the community are just so impactful,” she adds. “It helps us do our job and best support our clients, which is the end goal.”
For Madonna, seeing his team’s efforts result in a safe home for vulnerable members of the community reinforces why giving is so important.
“When you donate to The Mission you can actually see your money going to work and making a difference, and that alone is pretty special,” he says. “For us, knowing we played a part in giving someone a fresh start is what matters most.”