Elementary School Students Pull Wagons Filled with Pennies Up Bay Street
to Celebrate Canada's Largest Youth-Led Penny Drive
TORONTO, June 27, 2013 /CNW/ - To mark the end of the school year, Free
The Children and RBC celebrated the incredible fundraising effort of
hundreds of thousands of youth and their schools through the "We Create Change" penny drive, today announcing the final total, which outweighs
approximately 64 elephants and more than five empty Boeing 747's. Young
people across the country raised 140 million pennies ($1.4 million), providing 56,000 people with clean water for life. All
pennies collected were in support of Free The Children's year-long Water Initiative to provide a permanent source of clean water to people in developing
As Canada's Largest Youth-Led Penny Drive comes to a close, a caravan of
elementary school students pulled 50 red wagons filled with pennies up
Bay Street in Toronto today. RBC president and CEO Gord Nixon and
co-founder of Free The Children Marc Kielburger were there to welcome
the students and their penny wagons into the bank's Toronto main branch
and to congratulate and celebrate their amazing fundraising drive.
"It's great to be part of something that is truly creating change and I
would like to thank all the students and schools who participated,"
said Gord Nixon, president and CEO, RBC. "Our long-term commitment with
Free the Children supports two very important issues - financial
literacy and access to clean water. Today's results demonstrate how a
large-scale, positive impact can be made when we work together — no
matter how small or simple those acts may seem."
Students at more than 3,000 schools across Canada participated in the
"We Create Change" penny drive over the past school year. They emptied
their piggy banks, held school-wide penny drives, canvassed
neighbourhoods, family and friends, and set up collection jars in
community centres and workplaces. Individual donors, businesses and
organizations also collected pennies for this campaign. Special Free
The Children/RBC penny bags were provided to all participants. When
full, each bag held $25 in pennies - enough to provide one person with
clean water for life.
"We are so incredibly humbled by the amount of change Canada's youth
were able to achieve this year, and we can't thank RBC enough for
opening up their branches to accept the more than 56,000 penny bags
that were dropped off throughout the year," said Marc Kielburger,
co-founder of Free The Children." On average, 80 percent of illnesses
in the developing world can be linked to poor water and sanitation.
Thanks to the incredible efforts of youth across Canada, the "We Create
Change" penny drive will provide 56,000 people in our developing
countries, clean water for life."
The final day to drop off designated Free The Children/RBC $25 penny
bags at RBC branches across the country is Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Next year's We Create Change campaign will focus on a new coin drive to
support education in Free The Children's developing communities
overseas. The campaign will also include tools and resources focused on
financial literacy for teachers here in Canada to use and educate their
students right in the classroom.
Pennies collected through We Create Change, in conjunction with the
proceeds from sales of Me to We's Water Rafiki Friend Chain, online donations, and We Walk 4Water, has enabled Free The Children to reach its year-long Water Initiative
goal of providing 100,000 people around the world with permanent
sources of clean water.
About Free The Children
Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner.
Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The
Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve
their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that
prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The
organization's domestic programs—which includes We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event—educate, engage
and empower 1.7 million young people across North America, the UK and
around the world to become engaged global citizens. Its international
projects have brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth
and provided clean water and sanitation, health care and food security
to one million people around the world, freeing children and their
families from the cycle of poverty.
The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the
Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Award from the World Association
of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful
partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For
more information, visit www.freethechildren.com.
About RBC and Youth
RBC supports a diverse range of youth-focused initiatives across Canada,
through sponsorships, donations and employee volunteer activities.
Through long-term commitments with Free The Children, RBC supports We
Day events across Canada, the We Act program and We Create Change and
is the exclusive financial services sponsor of all Free The Children
initiatives. In addition, RBC seeks to provide young people with the
financial understanding and foundation to achieve secure financial
futures by offering free financial advice and tools to students through
the RBC Advice Centre and the RBC Financial Advice for Students
website. For more information, visit www.rbcadvicecentre.com.
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations,
sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2012, we contributed
more than $95 million to causes worldwide, including donations and
community investments of more than $64 million and $31 million in
For further information:
Kate Yurincich, RBC, 416 974-1031, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamara Kaftalovich, Free The Children, 416 888-8536, email@example.com