Community-based organizations receive $200,000 from The Co-operators

GUELPH, ON, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, The Co-operators announced more than $200,000 in funding for 11 community-based organizations across the country. The funding is provided through The Co-operators Foundation Community Economic Development (CED) Fund, which supports programs that help disadvantaged people gain skills and move toward self-reliance.

The following grants were announced today. Please see the attached backgrounder for  more detail about each organization.

$20,000 - Potluck Café Society, Vancouver, BC
$20,000 - Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS) - Vancouver, BC
$20,000 - Calgary Immigrant Women's Association - Calgary, AB
$15,000 - Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-operative - Saskatoon, SK
$20,000 - Local Investment Toward Employment - Winnipeg, MB
$20,000 - Community MicroSkills Development Centre - Brampton, ON
$20,000 - Common Ground Co-operative - Toronto, ON
$11,509 - Somali Women & Children Support Network - Greater Toronto Area, ON
$20,000 - Groupe Convex Prescott-Russell Inc. - Prescott-Russell, ON
$20,000 - First Work: The Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres  -  Ontario-wide
$20,000 - Saint John Community Loan Fund - Saint John, NB

"These organizations make an enormous impact on the lives of those they work with directly, and strengthen the community as a whole in the process," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "In a truly sustainable, vibrant community, everyone has a chance to live up to his or her potential. These programs provide that opportunity to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to the supports they need. We're proud to lend our support to them."

"The contribution that The Co-operators makes to Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-operative (CNYC) Carpentry Program has a big impact on the youth we serve today and throughout their lives. This contribution assures CNYC the chance to keep giving them an opportunity to grow, learn and succeed," said Marcel Petit, Executive Director, CNYC. "Over the past several years we have made sure that we talk with the youth to better understand their needs and desires. This has allowed us to structure our programs in ways that provide the biggest impact, and encourage these young people to carry through with them. This funding will allow us to keep the high standards of our education and work skills programs."

The Community Economic Development (CED) Fund was established in 1995 to commemorate The Co-operators 50th anniversary and has since disbursed more than $3.6 million to 88 organizations. The CED Fund is part of The Co-operators Foundation, which supports social enterprises, co-operatives, charitable organizations and non-profit organizations throughout Canada.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $38 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. As a proud member and supporter of the co-operative sector, The Co-operators is pleased to celebrate 2012: The International Year of Co-operatives. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

The following CED grants were announced today:

Potluck Café Society - Vancouver, BC
Potluck Café Society is a social enterprise in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. It has a dual mandate consisting of improving community nutrition and creating employment opportunities for residents of the area who face barriers to employment. Our grant of $20,000 will support the Kitchen Tables Outreach Program.

Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-operative - Saskatoon, SK
Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-operative's mission is to create opportunities through hands-on programming and community outreach to help youth, predominantly aboriginal youth, build skills and access education outside of the regular school system and workforce. Our grant of $15,000 will support the co-operative's "Learning through Carpentry" program.

Local Investment Toward Employment - Winnipeg, MB
Local Investment Toward Employment (LITE) is a charitable organization with a mission to promote community economic development in Winnipeg by supporting inner city initiatives. LITE's programs all work to support job creation and skill development for residents, capacity building for organizations and local people, and the creation of economic linkages. Our grant of $20,000 will support the operation costs of the Social Purchasing Portal, a web-based business-to-business network.

Community MicroSkills Development Centre - Brampton, ON
Community MicroSkills Development Centre provides settlement, employment, and self-employment services to immigrants, youth, and low-income women. Our grant of $20,000 will go toward the operating costs of its new program, "Workplace Bridging Program for Abused Women," which seeks to help 15 immigrant women living in Brampton become self-reliant.

Somali Women & Children Support Network - Greater Toronto Area, ON
The Somali Women & Children Support Network provides transitional services to low income immigrant and newcomer women to help them move toward a sustainable livelihood and full economic, social and cultural participation in the Canadian community. Our grant of $11,509 will support a part-time marketing assistant position for Haween Enterprises, a community- based sewing enterprise that provides training, work experience and employment opportunities.

Groupe Convex Prescott-Russell Inc. - Prescott-Russell, ON
Groupe Convex is a non-profit organization that aims to create valuable employment opportunities for people at risk of chronic unemployment. It manages eight social enterprises that employ 161 workers altogether. Our grant of $20,000 will make it possible to provide 12 weeks of on the job training for four people with intellectual disabilities in the Recycle-Action enterprise.

Multi-Year Funding Recipients

The CED Fund offers multi-year grants that provide recipient organizations with longer-term planning options and increased financial stability.

Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS) - Vancouver, BC
EMBERS' mission is to create employment and economic opportunities for marginalized and disadvantaged people living in the inner city. EMBERS Staffing Solutions (ESS) focuses on transitioning people who face barriers back into the workforce by providing them with employment opportunities in the construction and administration sectors. This year's grant of $20,000 will allow ESS to provide increased employment opportunities for those accessing its services.

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association - Calgary, AB
Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA) 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. This year's grant of $20,000 will support the services provided to immigrant women with accounting and finance backgrounds.

Common Ground Co-operative - Toronto, ON
Common Ground Co-operative focuses on providing stable co-operative employment opportunities to people with disabilities. It is a community organization providing business and administrative support to five social enterprises. This year's grant of $20,000 will help increase sales at the New College Coffee Shed at the University of Toronto, as well as increase student engagement and partner draw.

First Work: : The Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres -  Ontario-wide 
Since 1988, First Work has supported a network of over 70 service organizations in Ontario to deliver accessible, high quality, outcomes-based employment services. In 2010, First Work developed the Green Skills Network program, which is dedicated to promoting employment opportunities for at-risk youth in Ontario's new green economy by coordinating and facilitating their training in solar photovoltaic panel installation. This year's $20,000 grant will go towards training and employment support for at-risk youth.

Saint John Community Loan Fund - Saint John, NB
Saint John Community Loan Fund works to improve social conditions in the Saint John, New Brunswick area by helping people create income, build assets, and attain greater self-reliance by providing loans, training, matched savings, and by building creative and affordable spaces. This year's grant of $20,000 will be put toward the administration costs of supporting new projects and programs.

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information:

Leonard Sharman
The Co-operators
519-767-3937


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