In 1985, the Mulroney government slashed $100 million from the CBC’s budget, a move that would cost the CBC many cherished programs and employees — jeopardizing its very survival. CBC is the one thread that ties Canadians together and helps us define who we are.
Believing that Canada’s distinct cultural and democratic identity joins us together and sets us apart, a group of concerned citizens decided to fight back and founded FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting. FRIENDS was launched with a full page ad in the Globe and Mail urging readers to contact their MPs in support of the CBC. Stephen Thomas Ltd was brought on board to help fundraise for the advocacy and lobbying work of this new organization — a role we continue to play to this day.
We’re proud of our long partnership with FRIENDS, and for supporting their continuous efforts to advance Canadian culture and protect Canadian media against internal and external threats.
Over 35 years, we’ve developed about 170 direct mail fundraising and advocacy campaigns, with our founder Steve Thomas as the mastermind behind them all. A couple of highlights include supporting the I love CBC campaign, which helped FRIENDS grow its email file from 30,000 to 180,000 and the We Choose CBC campaign, which used signs, petitions, leaflets, and public meetings to help elect pro CBC MPs in 20 key ridings during the 2019 federal election. As an advocacy organization FRIENDS does not offer tax receipts which makes our job even more challenging.