Dave C Bonk

Avenue Calgary’s 2016 Top 40 Under 40.

Photograph by Jared Sych. photographed at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.

Age: 38

Job title: Founder, Hearts & Hammers and Social Impact Entrepreneurs

Why he’s a 2016 Top 40:

Bonk founded Hearts & Hammers, a non-profit that renovates homes for families with accessibility needs, and Social Impact Entrepreneurs to encourage fellow business owners to undertake their own initiatives.

In  the years following the economic downturn in 2008, real estate investor Dave C Bonk began purchasing foreclosed homes to remodel. The state of many of these homes opened his eyes and his heart to the struggles faced by the former homeowners. “Some of the properties I was buying were in a state of unimaginable living conditions,” he says.

His response was to form the non-profit Hearts & Hammers to donate home renovations to those in need. Originally, Bonk thought the project would do one large-scale home “makeover” per year, but, when nominations began coming in, he noticed a high demand for accessibility-related renovations, many of which were necessary to keep families together in their homes.

Since launching Hearts & Hammers in 2013, Bonk, his team and the many volunteer contractors they work with, have completed dozens of projects ranging from yard cleanups to $70,000 renovations. The projects have included building wheelchair ramps, installing electric lifts, widening door-ways, removing carpet and doing bathroom modifications, a common request that allows those with accessibility needs to maintain their independence and their dignity. Bonk works with suppliers such as TimberTown to provide materials, with additional funds coming via sources such as private donations and the Stampede City Kinsmen.

Bonk’s experience with Hearts & Hammers has also led him to explore policy work to identify ways aging populations can remain in their homes.

His most recent endeavour is Social Impact Entrepreneurs: Home of the Find Your Why Workshops, whose mission, Bonk says, is to “develop and shine a light on business owners who create social impact, starting from the place of their unique ‘why.’ ” Entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to make an impact in their communities, and Bonk says his own passion is helping to tap into this potential.

“I know what it’s like to work just for the money. I spent my twenties doing that,” he says. “I know the richness that adding a social impact project to your business can have.” – Fraser Tripp

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