Last month,we took a look at the inspiring ways our partner organizations are using food to create lasting change in their communities. And that work wouldn’t be possible without the integral support of a group of committed donors.
CFCC has been very fortunate to have had a strong group of donors with us since our beginnings in 2012, and we are thrilled to have more people choosing to contribute to our cause on a regular basis. These donors share our vision for a fairer and healthier food system, and are passionate about finding progressive, sustainable solutions to the pressing problems of hunger and poverty facing millions of Canadians.
Donors Brian and Joannah Lawson have been with us every step of the way of our now five-year-old journey. Their generous $1 million multi-year gift in 2012 was a turning point for CFCC. Their support allowed us to scale a local approach into a national movement by helping to drive the development of seven new Community Food Centres and 100+ Good Food Organizations across the country. Brian, Senior Managing Partner and Chief Financial Officer at Brookfield Asset Management, has also contributed his valuable time, insights, and strategic guidance as a member of CFCC’s Board of Directors since 2012.
As a nutritionist, Joannah values the Community Food Centre model for its emphasis on fresh, healthy foods. "What I love about CFCC is that it's spreading a model across the country that builds community while teaching people how to grow food, cook food, and eat real food,” says Joannah. “It's a powerful solution.” She played a critical role in helping us to develop FoodFit, offering her expertise to inform how this national program supports people who experience barriers around healthy eating and exercise to make lasting changes to their health.
The Lawsons recently renewed their commitment to our cause with an incredible $3 million gift, which will support our grants program and help fund community food initiatives across the country.
Gifts like the Lawsons’ are invaluable in allowing us to work with our communities to pilot, scale and measure responsive programming that makes significant, lasting impacts in people's health. And we’re fortunate to receive continued support from a diverse and growing donor base—including an enthusiastic group of young professionals in Toronto motivated to connect their peers with our cause.
Still in its infancy, the young professionals programs invites individuals between the ages of 25 to 40 to support our work and grow our impact. It welcomes young leaders who care about food and social justice, and want to make a change in their community.
Jessica Weisz and Meredith Dees, who have taken a leadership role in helping launch the program, understand the important role their generation can play in building healthier, more inclusive communities.
“We want to create a unique, engaged and interesting program that not only creates awareness amongst young(er) people in Toronto about CFCC and its partner organizations, but also encourages them to become advocates for the incredible and necessary work that’s making a difference in people's lives every day,” says Meredith.
The program has already attracted a group of dedicated committee members who, like Jessica and Meredith, believe every Canadian has the right to healthy food.
“Our food system isn't perfect—there are too many people who go hungry or don't have access to healthy food in today's society. CFCC is changing the status quo for the better, creating solutions that are driven by values such as dignity and community,” says Jessica.
We are so thankful for generous donors like Brian and Joannah, Meredith, Jessica, and the many other individuals and organizations who have played a key role in getting us to where we are today.