The Co-operators Announce $120,000 in CED Funding

February 19, 2016

the co-operatorsThe Co-operators have announced eight donations totalling $120,000 to organizations across the country that are working to enhance the self-reliance and employability of marginalized youth and people with mental health challenges. The funding is being provided from The Co-operators Community Economic Development Funds.

“There are many young people in communities across Canada who could use a helping hand to overcome barriers and reach their full potential – and that’s exactly what these organizations are doing,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “The services and supports they provide make individuals more self-sufficient and communities more inclusive and equitable.”

The organizations receiving funding are:

Choices for Youth – St. John’s, N.L. – $20,000
Choices for Youth’s Train the Trades program provides construction-based employment and skills training for at-risk and homeless youth to help them prepare for and secure long-term, sustainable employment in the skilled trades.

Open Sky Co-operative – Southeast Region, N.B. – $10,000
Open Sky provides residential support, vocational training and personal skills support to young adults who face barriers due to social or mental health challenges. The grant will support the “Roots of Resilience” project, which helps participants improve their employment skills and obtain experience through work placements.

Destination travail de Sud-Ouest de l’île de Montréal – LaSalle, Que. – $20,000
Destination travail operates L’école du milieu LaSalle, an alternative community class that provides marginalized youth with resources to develop employability skills and entrepreneurship.

Furniture Bank – Etobicoke, Ont. – $20,000 
Furniture Bank transfers gently-used household furniture from donors to various marginalized people and groups. Furniture Link, its social enterprise, is a furniture pick-up and delivery business that provides job and life skills training and/or employment opportunities to at-risk youth. Participants receive on-the-job skills training and paid work placements of six months to a year.

FortWhyte Alive – Winnipeg, Man. – $10,000 
FortWhyte Alive is a year-round facility that operates FortWhyte Farms, a social enterprise dedicated to using sustainable urban agriculture to build skills and increase job readiness for inner-city youth. The four-stage program delivers basic skills programming in agriculture, husbandry and beekeeping, a summer internship employment program, a leadership and mentorship program, and a youth-led co-operative, Harmony Honey.

Ignite Adult Learning Corporation Foundation – Regina, Sask. – $10,000 
Ignite helps at-risk young adults, ages 19 to 30, to transform themselves into self-sufficient, productive citizens by gaining education, experience and skills. The FLAMES program (Fostering Learning and Marketable Employment Skills) includes 32 weeks of in-house work and 11 weeks of apprenticeship with a local employer.

Foothill Special Needs Association for Parents and Siblings – High River, Alta. – $20,000
Foothill SNAP has a focus on marginalized youth with mental health issues. Its H.I.R.E. (Having Inclusive Rewarding Employment) work-readiness program is for people 18 and up who facing barriers to employment. The project’s focus is to create community/employer opportunities, as well as employer education and support.

Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation – Vancouver, B.C. – $10,000 
Take a Hike is a full-time alternative education program that engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community involvement. It partners with community organizations for equipment, work placements and hands-on training. 

About The Co-operators Community Economic Development Fund:

The Co-operators Community Economic Development Fund was created in 1995 and supports organizations that help marginalized young people and those with mental health challenges to become self-reliant. Through the funds, more than $5.2 million has been disbursed to 128 organizations across 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 listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information visit

SOURCE: The Co-operators