Andrea Peyton

Top 40 Under 40 2014

Job Title: Founder and CEO, Weehelp Foundation; Senior Financial Officer, Calder Bateman

Why She’s Top 40: Raising money for child care through helping parents find affordable supplies for their kids.

Guilty Pleasure: “Definitely red wine – malbec. Sometimes you just need a glass of wine when you’re sorting through donations and it’s 30 degrees (Celsius) outside.”

As her friends began having children, Andrea Peyton noticed how rapidly kid stuff (like high chairs and toys) would consume both savings and storage space.

Some parents she knew went to local swaps to save money, buying stuff second-hand and offloading their own kid clutter. But it dawned on Peyton that these wildly popular events could also be great fundraisers for charity.

At the time, she’d heard about some family friends losing their two-year-old son to leukemia – and it prompted her to do something to support local causes, namely the Stollery Children’s Hospital. So, at the end of 2012, Peyton decided to start a not-for-profit foundation and raised funds by selling second-hand kid stuff.

“The first year, it was about how to get people to know about it. We had no funding, there’s no corporate sponsors or government funding,” says Peyton. She also had to find stuff to sell. But she came up with a strategy to combine networking with donation gathering. Every Wednesday, she’d search Kijiji for postings about garage-sale ads or kids items, and then email the posters asking them to donate their leftovers. The following week, she’d spend many evenings picking up donations, and then she would clean and organize everything in her living room.

The approach worked. That year, Weehelp Foundation held its first two Pop-Up Tot Sales and raised over $10,000 in just three months. But it was exhausting for Peyton, who also worked a full-time job as Calder Bateman’s senior financial officer. She even took on a part-time job to cover any of her new charity’s operational expenses (like fuel and advertising).

Two years later, the charity has held other sales and now has many repeat donors and customers. Peyton’s partnered with Edmonton diaper service Happy Nappy to do most of the donation pick-ups, but she’s still swamped. Peyton is also on the board of directors for the Christmas Bureau, as well as treasurer and chair of finance. “It’s kind of like, if you don’t stop, you don’t realize you’re tired,” she says.

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