The Co-operators gives Working for Change charity a funding boost to support people with mental health challenges

Friday, 10 May 2019

As part of its commitment to help build more resilient, healthy and sustainable communities across Canada, ICMIF member The Co-operators has renewed its partnership with charitable organisation Working for Change, donating a total of CAD 90,000 over three years to support employment and training opportunities for people marginalised by mental health issues. This announcement came during Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada (6-12 May 2019).

Working for Change, located in Toronto, operates five social enterprises, including the two cafes, both of which are situated in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) buildings. Through its social enterprises, Working for Change offers a supportive working environment for individuals who identify as having mental health issues.

"Having a place to work is an important part of the recovery process for people with mental health and addiction issues," says Joyce Brown, Executive Director of Working for Change. "With the help of funding from The Co-operators, we're able to provide meaningful, flexible employment that gives people a sense of purpose, helps destigmatise mental illness and contributes to the local economy and community."

In 2018, The Co-operators Foundation - Community Economic Development (CED) Funds granted a total of CAD 549,000 to 23 organisations, providing economic opportunities to marginalised youth and individuals with mental health challenges.  A complete list of funding recipients is included in the 2018 CED Annual Report.

"Working for Change is an inspiring organisation doing incredible work to strengthen the resiliency of the community it serves," says Rob Wesseling, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "We're proud to support them and their efforts to address social issues and make a positive difference in people's lives."

The Co-operators has also released a video featuring Working For Change and the positive community impacts achieved through its programmes.

About The Co-operators Foundation - Community Economic Development (CED) Funds  

The CED Funds support community economic development initiatives that lead to job creation and/or enhanced employability for marginalised youth and persons with mental health issues. Since 1995, The Co-operators has disbursed over CAD 7.1 million to 162 charities, non-profit organisations, social enterprises, and cooperatives. The organisation also helps address environmental and social challenges through impact investing. In 2018, the organisation expanded impact investments within its CAD 12.5 million investment portfolio and began deploying invested assets toward smaller-scale community impact investments. At the end of 2018, 71 per cent of the portfolio was invested in impact and community impact investments that contribute to more resilient, healthy and sustainable Canadian communities.

About Working for Change: 

Working for Change (originally called the Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses) is a charitable organisation established in 1994 to provide training and employment opportunities for people marginalized by mental health issues. Since then, the organisation has expanded considerably and now operates five social enterprises, in addition to pre-employment training programs and a speakers bureau which provides public education on issues related to poverty, mental health, homelessness, violence against women and newcomer/refugee challenges.