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The Co-operators donates last installment of 10-year $200,000 partnership

Mar 8, 2017

ST. JOHN'S, March 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Stella's Circle, a leading not-for-profit community organization in St. John's, expressed its gratitude today as it received the tenth and final contribution of $20,000 from The Co-operators. Since 2006, The Co-operators has donated a total of $200,000 to support the life-changing work the organization does to support people who face barriers to fully participating in the community.

Initial funding from The Co-operators helped Stella's Circle establish a model for training and employment as part of its planning for the creation of a social enterprise café. The Hungry Heart Café was subsequently established and has continued to evolve over the past decade. Today, it is an award-winning neighbourhood café that provides fresh local products, homemade specialties, and catering services. The social enterprise initiative provides training opportunities to support those who have faced barriers to successful inclusion in the community.

"The Co-operators has been a key community partner in developing the Hungry Heart Café and our food services training programs," says Lisa Browne, Stella's Circle CEO.  "We are so proud, not only of the quality of the Hungry Heart as a restaurant and catering business, but also of the incredible training opportunities available to our participants.  We would not be where we are today without the generous support of The Co-operators."

The success of the Hungry Heart has earned it a number of awards and recognition including the Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010, the St. John's Board of Trade Business Excellence Award for Community Impact in 2014, TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence, and social enterprise certification from Buy Social Canada in 2015.

"Stella's Circle does wonderful work that has helped so many local residents develop their abilities, confidence and self-reliance over the years," said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "It is a pleasure to support an organization that is meeting an important local need and ultimately helping to build a more vibrant and resilient community."

Funding from The Co-operators Foundation was provided through the organization's Community Economic Development Funds, which supports community enterprises and initiatives that help marginalized Canadians move toward self-reliance.

About Stella's Circle:
Stella's Circle is a leading non-profit community organization in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Stella's Circle transforms lives by offering Real Homes, Real Help and Real Work. It provides various housing, counselling and employment programs to people who face many barriers to fully participating in their community. These barriers can include mental health issues, addiction, homelessness, poverty, criminal justice involvement, low literacy and unemployment. More information is available at

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Ltd. is a Canadian co-operative with more than $44 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information, visit

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Marlayne Hardy, Stella's Circle,, Phone: 709-738-0564; Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators,, Phone: 519-767-3937

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