Char San Pedro:
Good to Be Good
Char San Pedro:
This International Women’s Day we sat down with Char San Pedro, founder of GOOD TO BE GOOD; A foundation based on cultivating community-wide and humanitarian advocacy with a mission to serve women in marginalised communities.
Meet at an intersection between fashion and giving back to the community and delve into Char’s work as a gender equality advocate and the reasons behind how her foundation began.
As part of our ongoing responsible business journey Second Nature, Shona Joy will be donating $2 for every order placed between the 6th - 12th March to GOOD TO BE GOOD.
Captured at home by Carmin Davidson, Char is featured wearing pieces from our latest collection, Azulejo. Explore the feature and shop for good.
How did Good to Be Good begin? What inspired you to start a charity?
Six years ago, with the help of dedicated friends, loved ones, social justice activists, and leaders within the charitable space, I built GOOD TO BE GOOD from a place of indomitable love: a love for women and the communities they inhabit. The kind of love that longs for liberation, power, and Truth (big T) and which livens our capacities for compassion and kinship.
Before the inception of GOOD TO BE GOOD, I worked on several charitable initiatives with large-sized foundations and was privy to the decent work done through these channels. But something didn't feel right: I saw and worked for these national foundations—solely white-led and staffed entities—that raised a lot of funds through the spectacle of highly profiled, coveted galas and massive overhead fundraiser events. Yet, hardly any focus was placed on the priorities of the communities they intended to serve.
I thought, here is my chance to occupy this space differently: to bring my own lived experience and that of others into how I work, to grow with people committed to social justice and serving their communities at the core, and to build upon the knowledge and wisdom of past and current social movements to strengthen and heal communities from the injustices that continue to plague them. I expanded a belief that we had the power to help change the intolerable circumstances women and gender-diverse people are often forced into for the better rather than embracing a contemporary set of ideas put in place by the status quo.
I was committed to building a space to develop and enhance grassroots solutions to empower women and gender-diverse people from historically marginalised groups through subsidised relief, resources, and development programs and animate our collective values as a form of action—values of interconnectedness, compassion, community, and unflinching equality.
GOOD TO BE GOOD started as a small group of friends—frustrated by the lack of personalised and dignified support for women and their families—collecting essentials for local shelters on special occasions like birthdays and holiday parties and grew into a federal nonprofit organisation serving more than 1000 community members nationwide.
And the work continues today. Because as the saying goes: when you empower a woman, you empower families, communities, and societies for future generations!
We're still building, but proud of what we've accomplished as a team and community.
You have a long standing connection to the fashion industry through modelling, how does this translate into the work that you do?
Modelling has allowed me to work with creative and artistic individuals, many of whom are now dear friends, who desired the energy to create temporary alternative worlds through imagery and form. Who doesn't love storytelling?
I also had the privilege of exploring different cultures and expressions of individuality, fuelling my passion for creating with other creators.
My first experience modelling showed me that I didn't need to look up to specific models and celebrities as aspiring figures or portrayals of perfection; I needed to embrace the beauty within myself and that of others—and encourage others to do the same in the industry.
I don't model as much now, though I apply much of what I learned (and unlearned) in earlier years to all I do now:
- Advocate for me and other people in similar positions
- Take control of my narrative
- Embrace the power of teams
- As long as you are more curious than afraid, you can create
- Practise the delicate art form of dealing with rejection gracefully
Tell us a particularly impactful story or experience you’ve had while running Good to be Good.
I find small moments to hold the most possibilities for generative and moving outcomes, and I call them: ethically small moments. I work alongside an incredible group of women and BIPOC people who dare to lead with the delicate balance of being bold and being soft – a necessary attitude when undertaking a journey of this kind and with efforts often underappreciated or undervalued.
We're, by no means, a large nonprofit organisation with huge government backing; but the fact that our small yet mighty team consistently shows up for the women and gender-diverse people we serve through multiple avenues of peer support, resource allocation, entrepreneurship training, referral management, client and community advocacy, community-building workshops, evaluation, essential supports, I'm always left inspired and in awe.
Knowing that our team's work, and the work of collaborators and partners, is grounded in the organisation’s values shows in the quality of care we deliver. People only see a fraction of our work; generally, they see significant consolidated impacts (which matter). The day-to-day consistencies I'm privileged to be a part of have the most impact on what transpires. Shoutout to our incredible team, partners, and volunteers! Thank you!
What other parts of the creative world inspire you? I.e. What podcasts/art/or books?
I love to travel. There's nothing like seeing new places, learning about cultures, and doing new things to reinvigorate the soul and transform the mind. Travelling inspires me to be the best I can be with who I am now and helps me see more aspects of myself and the people surrounding me.
It also acts as a conduit for creativity. I'm inspired to write more, be more present, cook more meals. It also inspires me to dive into new books. Some books I’d recommend:
- The Blue Zones Kitchen
- My Grandmother's Hands
- The Art of Gathering
- All We Can Save
- We Do This 'Til We Free Us
- Braiding Sweetgrass
How can people get involved in Good To Be Good?
Visit our website, www.goodtobegood.ca, sign up for our newsletter, connect with us by email, or follow our work on social media @goodtobegoodfoundation and share our posts that resonate with you.
If you have the means to donate, help us continue providing relief and life-changing essentials to women, non-binary, and gender-diverse people affected by injustice by donating to our GlobalGiving campaign using this link: https://www.globalgiving.org/donate/91670/good-to-be-good/
For every order placed until 12 March, we'll donate $2 to Good To Be Good