Founders

How We Got Started

In 2005, together with their five boys, Brigitte and Robert McKinnon embarked on a humanitarian trip to the Amazonian frontier city of Pucallpa, Peru, to connect with two young girls they had sponsored to attend school. An eye-opening experience, the family recognized a community in dire need of help, limited by a lack of access to education, housing and healthcare. Returning home conscious of what felt like a forgotten community, the McKinnons and their  boys decided they had to do more. Their solution came through the creation of the Pure Art Foundation, a registered Canadian charity that would work to empower this community through health, housing and education programs.

We acted on a simple principle of compassion – I felt that we could do small things with great love.

Brigitte McKinnon

Partnering with Fair Trade and the 100% model

After a few years, in search of a sustainable business model that would help reduce the poverty throughout this community and bring dignity to other marginalized communities around the world, Brigitte and Robert turned to Fair Trade and its nine principles as a solution to the struggles the Foundation sought to alleviate. Today, Pure Art, a not-for-profit boutique and recognized Fair Trade Federation member in Canada, has become a hub for the Foundation’s initiatives, as well as a place where consumers can connect to Fair Trade products from all around the world. The Art of Shopping with a Purpose™ is a model beyond charity that brings fair trade and sustainable development into a partnership that seeks to empower communities from around the world through the healing power of art.