Canadian ICMIF member The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group (the Commonwell) believes that after nearly two years of COVID lock downs and restrictions, community support and locally-driven projects that foster learning, education and engagement have become more important than ever before. After seeing many such important local causes financially suffer during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commonwell stepped in with a new programme to fund such causes throughout the area known as ‘Commonwell Country;’ (the smaller places and wide-open spaces of Eastern, Central and Western Ontario that the Commonwell serves.)
The new philanthropy initiative from the Commonwell: L.E.A.F. (Learning and Engagement Accelerator Fund), is being used to help upgrade, update and even build new facilities or programming where communities come together to learn, share, play and gather.
In January this year, the Commonwell named 21 community projects that will be funded by the initiative as a result of an online nomination and submission process that completed in December 2021. The successful projects can be seen on the L.E.A.F. website.
“We were overwhelmed with over 120 applications requesting over CAD 5 million for this inaugural year of L.E.A.F. grants,” said Tim Shauf, President and CEO of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group. “We couldn’t think of a more important way to give back to our communities than by supporting these important local causes that give residents food, exercise, education and entertainment.”
Twenty-one community projects have been selected and funded by the initiative, including upgrades to sports areas, refreshing public library technology, a community fridge expansion, and launching programmes to help build careers. One such project is The Sharing Place Food Centre (see image) which provides food assistance through a Food Bank programme and which offers a diverse set of other programmes that connect the local community to nutritious food and educational opportunities. The Commonwell says that this type of connection with and support for local communities and community programmes is very important for everyone in the organisation and is a key part of the company’s philosophy because of its mutual business model.