Stephen retired from playing professional hockey after a career-ending injury and started to carve a path in the advertising world. After fifteen years of building his own successful agency, he sold it to Saatchi & Saatchi, a part of the Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest communications group. For a few years after the transaction, Stephen filled an EVP role for Saatchi & Saatchi, working with clients like Toyota, P&G and AT&T to develop ROI through events and sponsorships.
After spending several more years sharing his talents on sales, marketing, and strategy with companies in need, Stephen created another startup called Balanced Lifestyles, Inc. and began coaching on business strategy. He authored a book, started speaking, and expanded his reach to fifty-three countries. Since retirement never held his interest, and he had already accomplished what he intended, he asked someone important for advice. He asked his mother what did she always want him to do. She answered… “end homelessness.” That seemed a bit daunting, so he responded, “what if I build a homeless shelter?” She must have been pleased that he was, at least, heading in the right direction.
In 2016, RTG Group was formed. The initials stand for “Receiving Through Giving,” which explains the philosophy that is the foundation of the organization. Stephen got to work on the promise to his mother by determining that there had to be a new model for giving. In fact, he felt that charities lacked the structure needed to function efficiently. Having served on plenty of charity boards, he had seen the gaps where enterprise could be
the solution. He and his partners started RTG Group as a for-profit social enterprise that provides a unique system for feeding the hungry that gives the donor a tax receipt and discounts through a mobile app to over 200,000 North American companies. Says Stephen, “the donor gets back more than they put in, and that’s important. In fact, it’s our motto.”
RTG’s system for the new giving model puts them in a facilitation role where the donor purchases the food directly from RTG who, in turn, gives it to a charity partner for distribution. RTG makes sure the donor is thanked with a mobile discount app, and uses 50% of all gross profits to help kids go to school, support incarceration career transition programs, and yes, also build homeless shelters. They work with partnering organizations who can promote the system they call the “Give and Gain Meal Plan” to their members and employees. Next year, they will be launching in the United States, and are planning a veterans program to be ready early in 2018.
Transparency in giving is incredibly important these days, and RTG’s methodology may just be a game changer for how charities get the work done. Just two years into their new plan on ending hunger, they are already providing 100,000 meals a month in Canada with projections of feeding over 1.5 million people per month in North America in 2018. That must also be doing some good for the programs RTG supports, and it certainly should be putting a smile on Stephen’s mother’s face.