The Co-operators Approves Grants to 14 Canadian Community Organizations

Guelph, ON (Jul. 30, 2013) – Today, The Co-operators announced $258,440 in funding to 14 Canadian community organizations across Canada, each of which works to help disadvantaged people achieve greater self-reliance. The funding comes from The Co-operators Foundation Community Economic Development Fund (CED) and Co-operators Fiftieth Anniversary Community Fund. These funds support organizations from St. John’s to Vancouver that assist people who face barriers to employment in finding meaningful work that socially, economically and environmentally benefits them and their communities.

The following nine organizations have been approved to receive grants totalling $164,492:

Comité de revitalisation urbaine intégrée de Saint-Pierre (CRUISP), Lachine, Quebec ($20,000)
CRUISP is a not-for-profit organization launched in 2003 to aid in the City of Montreal’s mission to revitalize disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The grant money will go toward providing residents in the Saint-Pierre neighbourhood with hands-on food preparation training at the Saint-Pierre Market, which CRUISP established to promote food security in the neighbourhood.

Community Sector Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (CSC), St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador ($19,492)
The CSC works to support the volunteer sector in St. John’s, helping to build a strong community by encouraging self-reliance and leadership skills in participants. CSC will use the grant money to fund their new Community Skills Cluster project, which matches participants with community opportunities, allowing them to develop their entrepreneurial skills.

Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-operative (CNYC), Saskatoon ($15,000)
Established in 1996, CNYC helps youth, predominantly of aboriginal origin, gain skills and education outside of the regular school system and workforce, through hands-on programming. The $15,000 grant supports “Growing Our Future,” a project that will teach young people in inner-city Saskatoon, raised-bed gardening, aquaponics, composting, canning and preserving.

Evergreen, Toronto ($20,000)
Evergreen is a national charity dedicated to making cities more environmentally friendly. Its Bike Works program encourages Torontonians to adopt cycling as their mode of transportation. The grant will support “Building Sustainable Communities,” a program that teaches youth from underserved Toronto neighbourhoods practical mechanical skills, allowing them to run their own bike repair clinics and community events.

Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV), Vancouver ($20,000)
A community-based not-for-profit, FSGV provides social services to lower mainland Vancouver families. Grant money will be used to support Keeners Car Wash, a new car wash social enterprise that provides paid employment to street youth.

Mission Possible Compassionate Ministries Society, Vancouver ($15,000)
Mission Possible, a humanitarian organization, helps residents of Vancouver’s downtown eastside who face personal challenges develop valuable skills, allowing them to find employment. Grant money will allow Mission Possible to expand its six-month employment program, the Work Readiness Course.

Open Sky Co-operative, Sackville, New Brunswick ($20,000)
Located on an 11-acre farm, Open Sky provides residential support and skills training for adults with social or mental health challenges. Open Sky will use the grant money to support their Farming and Gardening Program, which teaches residents farm-based vocational skills.

Street Corner Media Foundation, Vancouver ($15,000)
Street Corner Media publishes the bi-weekly magazine Megaphone, which is sold on street corners by homeless and low-income people in Vancouver. The grant will be put toward expanding the number of vendors, increasing vendor retention, and providing sales training.

Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research, Calgary ($20,000)
Vecova provides community living, education and employment for people with developmental disabilities in Calgary. It will be using its $20,000 grant to set up a social enterprise that will employ participants as well as generate revenue for Vecova’s operations.

Also announced today are three organizations who will be receiving multi-year funding:

Eastside movement for Business & Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS), Vancouver $60,000 over three years)
EMBERS is a community economic development organization in downtown eastside Vancouver. It creates employment opportunities for marginalized people to help them become self-reliant. This year’s grant of $20,000 will support the expansion of EMBERS’s programs and allow the organization to hire more workers.

Les Jardins de la Terre, St-Paul-d’Abbotsford, Quebec $55,500 over three years)
Les Jardins de la Terre helps disadvantaged youth from Montérégie find employment by teaching them horticulture and organic agriculture-related skills. This year’s grant of $16,698 will help Les Jardins de la Terre expand its internship program and train more local young people.

Local Investment Toward Employment (LITE), Winnipeg $60,000 over three years)
LITE supports inner-city Winnipeg initiatives such as the Social Purchasing Portal (SPP), an online network connecting worker co-ops and other socially mandated businesses to larger purchasers. LITE will use this year’s grant of $20,000 to support SPP, which will create local employment opportunities for those who face barriers to acquiring work.

An additional $37,250 announced today will continue to support two organizations, approved for multi-year funding last year:

  • Saint John Community Loan Fund (St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • First Work: Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres (Ontario-wide)

“All of these remarkable organizations strengthen their communities by providing support and employment opportunities to people who might not have otherwise have them,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “With our support, these organizations will be able to continue their invaluable work, strengthening Canadian communities.”

Developed in 1995 to mark The Co-operators 50th anniversary, the CED Funds have granted over $4.1 million to 99 organizations. The CED Funds are part of The Co-operators Foundation, which supports community-based social and economic enterprises throughout Canada. For more information on the CED Fund, click here.

About The Co-operators

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 visit