Big News

Ottawa’s Only Thrift Store Funding Youth Programs Celebrates First Anniversary With RBC

OTTAWA, ON, September 15, 2023 – Thrive Select Thrift, a thrift clothing store owned and operated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO), is celebrating its one year anniversary tonight, September 15, at 1547 Merivale Rd., in the Emerald Plaza. The social enterprise, whose entire proceeds directly fund the charity, has been supported from its inception by RBC, the Presenting Sponsor of the celebrations.

Through the RBC Career Launch program, RBC has provided the charity with a number of paid interns to gain work experience, while making a difference in their community with their business sense. These individuals have helped the social enterprise with everything from business strategy, to online store development, to community outreach, and more.

“The success of Thrive’s first year is a direct reflection of the success of the RBC Career Launch program,” said Susan Ingram, Executive Director of BBBSO. “In fact, the initial business plan for Thrive was researched by our first RBC associate from the program, so we quite literally wouldn’t be here without RBC’s support.”

Thrive Select Thrift not only helps the community by funding BBBSO’s mentorship programs for local youth, but also by offering a way for Ottawa residents to donate their clothes easily, offering home pick-ups for large donations, in addition to their drop-off opportunities at donation bins across the city and the store itself. Since opening in 2022, more than 250,000 lbs of clothing have been collected, diverting them from landfills and reducing production of new clothing as part of the
eco-conscious thrifting trend.

“RBC Foundation’s $90,000 investment will help with the continued growth of Thrive Select Thrift,” said Linda Newman, VP Commercial Banking for RBC in Ottawa. “It created an opportunity for youth to develop new skills, gaining valuable experience through on-the-job learning. Plus, Thrive is a sustainable business model that helps the environment, provides career readiness opportunities, offers families affordable fashion choices, and funds important services for kids in need, too
— exactly the type of project RBC is proud to get behind.”

The anniversary event is being presented by RBC and takes place this weekend. On Friday and Saturday, the public is invited to come down to meet the store’s team and enjoy major sales and giveaways. On Friday evening, from 6-8 PM, BBBSO and RBC will be hosting a private celebration at the store, toasting the community leaders who helped make the concept a reality.

About RBC Future Launch Program

Powered by RBC Future Launch, this collaboration builds on RBC’s 10-year, $500 million commitment to help Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. With a focus on networking, skills development, practical work experience, and mental wellbeing supports and services, the initiative aims to help break down the barriers facing young people.

Learn more about Thrive Select Thrift, funding Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa, at
For media inquiries, interviews, or to request a ticket to the private event, please contact:

Erin Helmer, Director of Development
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa
Cell: 613-818-7313 • Email:

RBC Future Launch