GUELPH, ON, June 29, 2011 – Today, The Co-operators announced $149,700 in grants to support the work of nine community-based organizations that help marginalized Canadians move toward self-reliance. The funding is provided through The Co-operators Foundation’s Community Economic Development (CED) Fund that supports the charitable and non-profit organizations’ efforts to provide work experience and skills development opportunities to the people they serve.
“These small community-based organizations can have a huge impact on the lives of those they serve,” said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. “They provide important services and alleviate the stress of poverty and social marginalization, and make an important contribution to the health of the Canadian communities.”
The following grants were announced:
Community Laundry Co-op (CLC) – Ottawa, ON
The co-op has a CED program that provides employment opportunities to some of its members who live on social assistance and suffer from mental illnesses, physical limitations, and developmental challenges. CLC will direct the grant of $18,000 to recruiting, training and mentoring of regular participants and to hiring one of them to take on some responsibility for the laundry business.
Operation Come Home (OCH) – Ottawa, ON
The $19,905 grant will be used to support the project “BottleWorks,” a social enterprise that operates as a commercial bottle pick up and recycling business. Nine young people will be employed on a full-time, rotational basis and will be provided with learning opportunities in business plans, customer service, sales, marketing, budgets, administration, and computer applications.
Independent Living Sudbury Manitoulin (ISLM) – Sudbury, ON
ISML will use the $20,000 grant to support the Employ-Ability Program, an employment readiness e-learning program for people with disabilities offered in partnership with Neil Squire Society.
Common Ground Co-operative (CGC) – Toronto, ON
Common Ground Co-operative focuses on providing stable co-operative employment opportunities to persons with disabilities. It is a community organization providing business and administrative support to four social purpose enterprises: three coffee sheds and one kitchen. The $20,000 grant will help CGC complete its current business and marketing plans for the Coffee Shed at New College (University of Toronto campus).
First Work – Ingersoll and Toronto, ON
First Work: the Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres has supported a network of over 70 service organizations in Ontario to deliver accessible, high quality, outcomes-based employment services. The organization will use the grant of $16,800 to support the training of additional youth at two employment centres.
New Community Youth Development Corporation (YDC) – Saskatoon, SK
YDC runs a community commercial baking program, a market garden, and a 4-H project. The $20,000 grant will support the organization in its efforts to link these projects together as a means to sell the goods that young people produce, create new jobs for youth and enhance its existing programs.
Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association – Calgary, AB
Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association is a support agency that recognizes, responds to, and is focused on the unique concerns and needs of immigrant and refugee women and their families. A multi-year grant of $20,000 per year for two years will support the services provided to immigrant women with accounting and finance backgrounds.
Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS) -Vancouver, BC
EMBERS is a Community Economic Development organization with a mission to create employment and economic opportunities for marginalized and disadvantaged persons living in the inner city. In January 2008, EMBERS launched its own social enterprise, EMBERS Staffing Solutions (ESS). The $20,000 grant will enable ESS to support people with barriers transition back into the workforce.
Common Thread Co-operative – Vancouver, BC
Common Thread is a second-tier non-profit co-operative of organizations that have sewing programs and enterprises. The grant of $15,000 will support the project “Up to Speed,” which seeks to address the supply side of the organization by developing an in-house training program and increasing the number of active producers.
The grants were provided from the Community Economic Development (CED) Fund, which was established in 1995 to commemorate The Co-operators 50th anniversary and has since disbursed more than $3.1 million to 79 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. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.