CIBC marks International Women's Day with $500,000 commitment to Canadian Women's Foundation to help move women out of poverty

Funding will help 2,500 women across Canada launch small businesses or learn skilled trades through community organizations

TORONTO, March 5, 2015 /CNW/ - One in seven women in Canada live in poverty. It's a disturbing statistic that can only be turned around through a holistic approach by public and private organizations to break down the social and economic barriers that have marginalized many women in the country.

To help break this cycle of poverty, CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) is renewing its multi-year commitment to the Canadian Women's Foundation with a new $500,000 donation. This donation will support the Foundation's CIBC Innovation in Economic Development Fund, which enables 15 community organizations to help Canada's most vulnerable women build financial literacy and job skills while identifying employment opportunities to lift them out of poverty.

"Women raising children on their own are five times more likely to end up in poverty," says Sheherazade Hirji, CEO and President, Canadian Women's Foundation.  "Sadly, for many women who live with an abusive partner the decision to escape the violence often means they will raise their children in poverty. CIBC's continued support enables us to invest in community organizations across Canada to break this cycle. Organizations that create an environment of hope encourage women to set goals they previously thought unattainable, provide them with knowledge and tools to become self-sufficient and help develop the confidence they need to achieve these goals."

CIBC, a proud and active supporter of the Canadian Women's Foundation since 1995, has committed more than $2.2 million in life-changing programs that support innovative community organizations across Canada. The funding announced today will help an estimated 2,500 women kick start a new business or learn skilled trades.

The CIBC Innovation in Economic Development Fund helps women like Necole Hines, a single mom in Calgary, who gained the skills and confidence to start Wings n Tings, a Caribbean food catering business, after participating in The Women's Venture Program offered by Canadian Women's Foundation-funded Momentum Community Economic Development Society. "I'm changing the way I view my business," says Ms. Hines. "It's all about mindset. I'm taking charge of my future and my own destiny and building a future for my children. I feel I can make anything happen."

"It is stories like these that fuel our passion at CIBC and our commitment to organizations like the Canadian Women's Foundation," says Veni Iozzo, Senior Vice-President, CIBC. "The programs funded focus on moving women out of poverty and providing them with a strong support system to create a legacy of knowledge, resources and change that will be felt by communities across the country, far into the future."

To mark International Women's Day, events featuring speakers from the Canadian Women's Foundation are planned at CIBC offices in Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver on March 5 and in Toronto on March 6.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. With a strategic focus on Kids, Cures and Community, and employee commitment to causes, including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way, we are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the country. In 2014, CIBC contributed more than $42 million to 1,780 charitable and non-profit initiatives in over 420 communities. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

About Canadian Women's Foundation

The Canadian Women's Foundation is Canada's public foundation for women and girls. We empower women and girls in Canada to move out of violence, out of poverty and into confidence. Since 1991, we've raised money and invested in over 1,300 community programs across Canada, and are now one of the ten largest women's foundations in the world. We take a positive approach to address root causes of the most critical issues facing women and girls. We study and share the best ways to create long-term change and bring community organizations together for training and to learn from each other. We carefully select and fund the programs with the strongest outcomes and regularly evaluate their work. We have a special focus on building a community of women helping other women. Helping women creates safer families and communities, and a more prosperous society for all of us. We invest in the strength of women and the dreams of girls. For more information please visit www.canadianwomen.org. Editor's Note: When referring to the Canadian Women's Foundation, please use the full name. Please do not abbreviate or use acronyms.

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information:

Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, 416-784-6699 or caroline.vanhasselt@cibc.com

Bahar Shadpour, Manager, Public Relations and Online Engagement, Canadian Women's Foundation at 416.365.1444 x240 or bshadpour@canadianwomen.org


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