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Community-based organizations receive $250,000 from The Co-operators

Mar 15, 2012

GUELPH, ON, March 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, The Co-operators announced more than $250,000 in funding for 14 community-based organizations across the country. The funding is provided through The Co-operators Foundation - Community Economic Development (CED) Fund, which supports community enterprises and initiatives that help disadvantaged Canadians move towards self-reliance.

For a list of all 14 recipients, please refer to the attached backgrounder.

"These organizations provide much needed support and resources for marginalized people, improving livelihoods and strengthening the community as a whole," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "Concern for community is a guiding principle of co-operatives and we believe that in sustainable communities, everyone has an opportunity to achieve their potential."

Street Youth Job Action (SYJA), a social enterprise initiative of Family Services of Greater Vancouver, was one of the recipients of this year's funding. "We empower homeless and at-risk youth to reach their fullest potential by providing them with pre-employment and skill development," said Emily Beam, General Manager of Street Youth Job Action. "The Co-operators support assists SYJA to spend more time with each youth, helping them fulfill their personal and career goals, access housing, education and health care, and build positive relationships in the community."

The Community Economic Development (CED) Fund was established in 1995 to commemorate The Co-operators 50th anniversary and has since disbursed more than $3.4 million to 86 organizations. The CED Fund is part of The Co-operators Foundation, which supports social economy enterprises and other worthy causes throughout Canada.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 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 ranked #1 among the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada by Corporate Knights, and listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada. As a proud member and supporter of the co-operative sector, The Co-operators is pleased to celebrate 2012: The International Year of Co-operatives. For more information visit


The following CED grants were announced today:

Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV) - Vancouver, BC
FSGV's mission is to offer support, hope and opportunity to help people realize and create possibilities for themselves. They will use the $15,000 grant to support the Street Youth Job Action Program, a social enterprise initiative that provides homeless and at-risk youth with pre-employment opportunities and skill development.

The Affinity Foundation - Saskatoon, SK
Our grant will support The Affinity Foundation - Individual Development Accounts program, a 10-month financial learning program that helps marginalized youth stay in school and find employment. To date the program has helped over 170 students in Saskatoon and aims to work with 35 youth this year.

The Jubilee Fund - Winnipeg, MB
The Jubilee Fund provides loan guarantees to individuals and organizations looking to develop economic initiatives that promote self-reliance, human dignity and a better quality of life for the individual and the community. The grant of $15,000 will be directed towards the operating costs of the Fund.

West Broadway Development Corporation (WBDC) - Winnipeg, MB
WBDC is a not-for-profit organization committed to environmentally sustainable social and economic development in the West Broadway area of Winnipeg. The organization supports Soup Bee, a social enterprise that provides employment and training opportunities for people with multiple barriers to employment. The $20,000 grant will support Soup Bee's 2012 operating costs.

SKETCH - Toronto, ON
SKETCH is a community-arts development initiative that provides arts programming, job-skills training, educational and entrepreneurship support for young people, aged 15 to 29, who are marginalized or homeless. The $14,000 grant will be directed to the SKETCH Connections Program, a pilot initiative that works with youth to develop production and business skills to successfully market or exhibit their work.

The Remix Project - Toronto, ON
The Remix Project was created to help young people from disadvantaged communities enter into creative industries or further their formal education. The $20,000 grant will support the Art of Business, which works one-on-one with youth and helps bridge their experience to formal education, obtain work in their chosen industry, or start their own businesses.

Les Jardins de la Terre - St-Paul-D'Abbotsford, QC
Les Jardins de la Terre works to integrate disadvantaged youth from Monteregie by providing them with opportunities to learn about organic agriculture, horticulture and the environment.  The $11,213 grant will facilitate the social and economic integration of ten marginalized youth between the ages of 16 and 30 through a 30-week internship in agriculture and the environment.

Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec (RÉSEAU) - Montréal, QC
RÉSEAU encourages the development of as many worker co-operatives as possible. The grant of $20,000 will be directed towards the creation of a Youth Worker Co-op, a pilot project that will educate and introduce youth to worker co-operatives while giving them the possibility of creating their own employment opportunities.

Multi-Year Funding Recipients

The CED fund offers multi-year grants that provide recipient organizations with longer term planning options and increased financial stability.

Atira Women's Resource Society - Vancouver, BC
Atira Women's Resource Society provides support programs in Vancouver's Downtown East Side to women who are experiencing violence committed against them and /or their children. One of their employment programs, Enterprising Women Making Art, focuses on building women's capacities and knowledge and on increasing their access to lucrative markets and sales. This year's $20,000 grant will provide support to more participants.

JustWork Economic Initiative - Vancouver, BC
JustWork assists individuals that face employment challenges in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC. They currently support three social enterprises: Just Potters, JustCatering and JustRenos. This year's $20,000 grant will allow JustWork to in increase its number of employees, labour hours, revenue and compensation paid to employees in the three business lines it currently operates.

Community Ownership Solutions (COS) - Winnipeg, MB
Community Ownership Solutions is an established economic development organization addressing the alleviation of poverty and structured underemployment in Winnipeg. COS has developed an innovative model to provide quality jobs to low income individuals in the construction sector. The $20,000 grant this year will provide on-going training and support to employees and new inner city recruits.

Sistering: A Woman's Place - Toronto, ON
Sistering is a charitable organization that houses two social enterprises under its pre-employment and employment programming: Inspirations and Spun studios. These programs focus on helping women supplement their income and enhance their livelihoods through arts and textile training, production and business development. The $20,000 grant this year will support the organization in attracting new participants and increase product sales.

Causeway Work Centre - Ottawa, ON
Causeway Work Centre, located in Ottawa, provides programs for people with mental illness and/or other disabilities, as well as for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Cycle Salvation is one of three social enterprises run by Causeway. It provides opportunities for people with disabilities to work as bicycle mechanics. This year's $20,000 grant will help Cycle Salvation grow, increase employment opportunities, explore and develop a new product line and divert more bicycles from landfill sites.

Stella Burry Community Services - St. John's, NL
Stella Burry has been serving the community in St. John's for over 60 years with programs for adults and youth who experience a variety of personal or family problems such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse, psychiatric difficulties, and family violence or breakdown. Stella Burry's social enterprise, Hungry Heart Café, provides skills and training. This year's grant of $20,000 will support the living wages of their core graduated staff that face barriers in achieving professional level production capability.

For further information:

Leonard Sharman
The Co-operators

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