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Gay Lea Foundation passes $1 Million-dollar charitable giving mark

Mississauga, Ontario – (January 29, 2020) Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Limited (“Gay Lea Foods”) held its 61st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders in Mississauga, Ontario, on January 28, 2020, where Chair, Rob Goodwill announced that the co-operative’s charitable foundation has officially granted more than $1 million in support of poverty relief, education and community development projects since it was created in 2014.

The announcement was a high point in the day’s meeting, affirming the ongoing commitment of Gay Lea Foods, its members and its employees to enriching communities in Canada and around the world, even in the height another tumultuous year for the Canadian dairy industry.

“Much has changed in the Canadian and world dairy industries over a relatively short period of time,” said Gay Lea Foods Chair, Rob Goodwill, “but there are some things at the heart of our co-operative that will never change.”

“Our commitment to giving back, to working together to care for people and communities, is part of who we are at Gay Lea Foods.”

Reflecting on the co-operative’s core values and purpose has been an important exercise, according to Goodwill, who noted that the changing dairy industry landscape necessitated that the co-op pause to evaluate its guiding Vision and Mission in 2019 and reassess its priorities for 2020 and beyond.

“We are at a crossroads in our industry,” said President & CEO Michael Barrett in his address to shareholders and attendees. “There has to be transformation to move this industry forward and there has to be transformation at Gay Lea Foods.”

“We are excited and optimistic that with a renewed sense of self and a clear consensus on purpose, aspirations and success, we will be able to develop and safeguard our co-operative for the future and achieve long-term, sustainable economic and social success,” said Goodwill.

Details of the 15 new grants approved by the Gay Lea Foundation in the first of two 2020 funding rounds, as announced at the AGM, can be found here, on the Foundation page of our website. Chosen for their commitment to poverty relief, dedication to the advancement of education and/or purposes beneficial to community development, the recipients were selected from a pool of 57 applicant organizations by the Foundation’s 10-member Board of Directors, comprised of Gay Lea Foods employees, shareholders, delegates and directors.



The Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (centre) poses with Gay Lea Foods Chair, Rob Goodwill (second from right), President & CEO, Michael Barrett (right), Executive Member, Don Dietrich (left) and Vice Chair, Marie McNabb at the co-operative’s Annual General Meeting in Mississauga on January 28, 2020.


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