The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) has launched a campaign to raise $12 million for global co-operative development over the next four years.
Money raised through the Build a Better World campaign will allow the CDF's parent body, the Canada Co-operative Association, to pursue three key objectives through its development program — Leadership, Leveraging, and Legacy. The campaign will seek support from co-operatives, credit unions, businesses associated with the co-operative movement, and individuals. Already, more than $1 million has been pledged.
Financial co-operative, The Co-operators has committed $500,000 to the campaign to help build a legacy from the International Year. Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators, said: "Throughout the developing world, co-ops are supporting local economies by producing much-needed products and services while creating jobs and developing people's skills. We're pleased to lend our support, particularly during the International Year of Co-operatives, to help build a legacy that will make a real difference in people's lives for many years beyond 2012."
Gay Lea Foods Co-operative has also pledged $400,000 to the campaign, which has largely been driven by staff who have helped to contribute more than $300,000 to the CDF over the past few years through fundraising activities. Gay Lea Board Chair Mark Hamel said: "When we chose the slogan 'The World is Our Community, Ontario is Our Home', we were thinking about the poverty reduction work that CDF supports around the world.
"We are proud of the efforts our staff and members have made to support CDF. This is the International Year of Co-operatives — a good time to make a clear statement that as a co-operative Gay Lea is a committed participant in the co-operative effort to end poverty around the world."
CDF Board Chair Michael Barrett said the campaign was inspired by the theme of the UN's International Year of Co-operatives, Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World. He said: "Co-operatives are among the most effective tools in reducing and eliminating poverty, and our long association with the international development program of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) has proven that time and time again through hundreds of projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We believe that 2012, the International Year of Co-operatives, is the perfect time to take our support for poverty reduction to a new level."
The campaign will be run under the direction of a cabinet co-chaired by Glen Tully, President of Federated Co-operatives Limited; Myrna Bentley, retired CEO of Concentra Financial Services Association; and John Harvie, retired CEO of Co-op Atlantic.
Added Mr Barrett: "CCA has always been a leader in international co-operative development, but additional resources will allow it to more aggressively pursue innovation and excellence in co-operative poverty reduction. With the resources we provide through the campaign, CCA will also be able to leverage substantial additional funds from the major international development funders. And we want to help CCA build a lasting legacy of prosperity and peace through its partners around the world."
The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) is a registered charitable organisation. It raises money, mostly from Canadian co-operatives and co-op members, to help alleviate poverty by building and strengthening financial and non-financial co-ops in developing countries. Working with the Canadian Co-operative Association and other partners, CDF helps poor communities fight poverty and create more secure lives through community-owned co-ops.
• For more about CDF, visit: www.cdfcanada.coop