Desjardins Group is donating CAD $1.8m to encourage children to stay in school, as part of a series of initiatives designed to mark Co-op Week.
On International Credit Union Day (20 October), over 7,000 elected officers and employees from Desjardins were involved in more than 420 projects designed to help Quebec and Ontario students succeed in school. The network of credit unions will be granting a total of CAD $1.8m to these initiatives. In addition, Desjardins donates around CAD $18m every year to different initiatives to support education in Quebec.
The 260 projects included awarding student scholarships, volunteering in schools, holding conferences about staying in school, collecting books and opening up new spaces.
Teachers from 15 schools across nine cities in Quebec received support from volunteers from Desjardins at any time during the school year. In addition, students from Polyvalente Le Carrefour in Val-d’Or were able to acquire new sports equipment due to a CAD $90,000 donation from Caisse Desjardins de l’Est de l’Abitibi. Another Desjardins sponsored project saw a modern bike spinning room for women installed in Louiseville through a USD $35,000 donation from Caisse de l’Ouest de la Mauricie. Desjardines credit unions from Beauce also organised conferences with a training centre that helps young people who struggle in school.
In addition, Desjardins Foundation has launched a call for applications for the Desjardins Foundation Prizes. The programme is designed to provide financial assistance to people in educational and community settings to help them carry out projects for students in elementary and high school. Those interested can pitch their projects, which must be worth up to a maximum of CAD $3,000, by 7 November.
Another Desjardins initiative will aim to choose 100 young leaders of the future. The federation of credit unions will bestow the title of Young Leader of Tomorrow upon 100 young people in Quebec and Ontario, aged 14 to 17, who stand out in their community through their leadership, academic success or community involvement. For one year, they will be mentored by one of 100 young executives from Desjardins. The deadline for applying online is 13 November.
Commenting on the scheme, Guy Cormier, president and chief executive of Desjardins Group, said: “Even though it seems like the numbers have improved in recent years, the school dropout rate remains problematic and still exceeds 15% in Quebec. That’s why I’m happy to see the thousands of elected officers and employees working together as one big team to help keep kids in school by lending a helping hand to schools in hundreds of Quebec and Ontario municipalities”.