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Compassion inside and outside our borders

It was an exciting year for the Gay Lea Foundation as we allocated funds for the first time. With the annual contribution from our co-operative accruing since we began our work in 2012, we were able to make funding commitments totaling $188,380 to five Canadian charitable organizations, whose work spans projects in Canada, Africa and Central America.

Three of the organizations are working on sustainable agricultural programs: the Kenyan Kids Foundation is creating a dairy co-operative in Kenya; the Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief and the Mennonite Central Committee are working to build conservation agricultural practices in Tanzania. All three projects will improve the health, nutrition and overall well-being of thousands of farming families in rural areas.

The SHEAF/ESPIGA Foundation’s health and sanitation project is in an indigenous community in rural Nicaragua. Our funds will support the construction of stable, permanent community latrines, which will end the risk of contaminated well water and improve health conditions for dozens of families.

Closer to home, the Friends of the Six Nations Public Library Foundation is working in Ohsweken, Ontario. The Foundation offers after-school programs and intergenerational activities to support not only children and at-risk youth, but also engage young parents and isolated seniors in a way that provides role models and opportunities for elders to share their experience.

The Foundation also provided a $20,000 donation to relief work in Nepal after last year’s earthquake. Our donation was matched by the Canadian government through the Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF). We hold a special sentiment for Nepal because our first Co-op Week project, a co-operative school, is located there.

Gay Lea Foods is proud of our history of charitable giving. We support rural communities in Ontario through corporate social responsibility initiatives. Since 2001, employees, delegates and directors have raised over $785,000 for CDF projects in Canada and around the world.

The Foundation has enabled us to add a new dimension to this charitable work. We look forward to the opportunities ahead that will change the lives of families in need.

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