The Co-operators will grant $255,000 in funding to 13 remarkable community organisations across Canada that help people achieve greater self-reliance.
The funding, provided through the Co-operators Foundation Community Economic Development (CED) Fund, supports a variety of programmes that are strengthening communities from St John's to Vancouver by providing training and employment opportunities to help local residents overcome barriers.
"These organisations build healthier, more equitable communities by providing invaluable support and employment opportunities to people who might not otherwise have them," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "Our support will allow them to make an even greater impact in their communities."
The following six organisations are receiving grants totalling $120,000:
Houselink Community Homes, Toronto ($20,000)
Houselink runs The Silver Brush, a painting business offering reliable and competitive interior painting services to commercial and residential properties. The Silver Brush helps employees develop job skills, which helps to remove barriers to continued future employment.
FarmStart, Guelph, Ontario ($20,000)
FarmStart develops programes that provide entrepreneurial and ecological farmers with resources to help them successfully launch their business. Support is provided primarily to new Canadians, young people without farming background, and those taking up farming as a second career.
Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg Inc, Winnipeg ($20,000).
SEED helps low-income people and groups develop and expand small businesses, including co-ops, to reduce poverty and assist in the renewal of primarily inner city communities in Winnipeg. Their efforts provide job opportunities for at-risk groups while revitalising economically distressed neighbourhoods.
New Community Youth Development Corporation, Saskatoon ($20,000)
Grant money from The Co-operators will help YDC pilot opening a café that will provide employment and income for young girls trying to leave the sex trade. The program will link to high school curriculum, so that girls will also be able to earn life-skills and cooking high school credits, while working.
The Cleaning Solution, Vancouver ($20,000)
The Cleaning Solution provides environmentally-friendly cleaning services to non-profit and private customers, while providing support and employment for people living with mental illness.
Common Thread Cooperative, Vancouver ($20,000)
Common Thread is a non-profit co-op of organisations that offer sewing programs and enterprises that provide skills development and employment opportunities for disadvantaged people living in Vancouver.
The funding will support a project called Stretching Our Fabric: New Products and New Skills, through which the co-op will provide training and expand its product line.
An additional $135,000 announced today consists of annual allotments of previously-approved multi-year funding commitments to seven organisations:
- Stella Burry Community Services (St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador)
- Causeway Work Centre (Ottawa)
- Enterprising Non-Profits (Toronto)
- Sistering: A Woman's Place (Toronto)
- Community Ownership Solutions (Winnipeg)
- Atira Women's Resource Society (Vancouver)
- JustWork Economic Initiative (Vancouver)
The CED Fund was developed in 1995 to commemorate The Co-operators 50th anniversary, and through it The Co-operators has granted $3.8 million to 91 organisations. The CED Fund is part of The Co-operators Foundation, which supports community-based enterprises and other worthy causes throughout Canada.
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $36 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 50 Best Employers in Canada and Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information on the Fund and its recipients visit www.cooperators.ca/en/About-Us/Foundation/CED.