Through the Just Energy Foundation, we are passionate about our commitment to enhance the livelihood and well-being of the communities we serve through funding for charitable organizations. It is especially satisfying to help underprivileged youth secure opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach for them. Together with the MLSE Foundation, the Community Action Grants were developed to bring sports within reach to more youngsters who dream of participating but lack the resources. When we facilitate access to play, we're helping to build stronger, more inclusive and supportive communities where youth gain unique and exciting experiences to learn and thrive.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Community Action Grant along with the Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC Community Action Grants are three $50,000 sport-specific prizes presented by the Just Energy Foundation that MLSE Foundation awards to non-profit organizations supporting youth sports programming in Toronto each year. Eligible non-profits can apply for all grants at mlsefoundation.org, where submissions are reviewed by a selection committee before a winner is chosen and announced at a special event in their community.
MLSE Foundation announced Horizons for Youth as this year's recipient of the Toronto Raptors Community Action Grant presented by Just Energy Foundation during the March 16 game at the Air Canada Centre. Erika Minkhorst, MLSE Foundation's Director of Philanthropy & Operations, was joined by Sandy Aniceto, Just Energy Communications Specialist, Filomena Williams and Stacey Murie, Horizons for Youth's Executive Director and Development Associate, for the announcement and cheque presentation. The $50,000 grant will support the Project Rebound Program, a program that provides basketball programming to the homeless and at-risk youth supported by Horizons for Youth which is located in a high-priority neighbourhood in Toronto near Eglinton Avenue and Caledonia Road. Homeless youth in the area are vulnerable to experiencing social isolation, self-esteem issues and nutritional deprivation. Project Rebound's fun atmosphere will help foster supportive friendships among participants and ensure all youth are included, regardless of their personal history. The program will help raise self-esteem levels by highlighting each individual's importance in basketball through communication, cooperation and teamwork. It will also provide a needed health intervention for homeless youth to combat nutritional deprivation.
In March 2018, the MLSE Foundation announced Children's Treatment Centre Foundation of Chatham-Kent (CTC-CK) as the recipient of the $50,000 Toronto Maple Leafs Community Action Grant presented by the Just Energy Foundation. The grant will directly support their Sledge Hockey and Adapted Skating program, allowing the opportunity for children and youth in Chatham-Kent with special needs to participate in and enjoy ice hockey, skating and physical activity. The program assists participants with physiotherapy goals, strengthening and life skills such as transitions, communication, turn-taking and social skills. The physical activity and life skills learned through the program help to facilitate sustainable physical activity outside of the Centre and throughout the community. The program is organized and delivered by a CTC-CK Recreation Therapist and Ashley Goure, Captain of Team Canada's Women's Sledge Hockey Team.
In August 2017, MLSE Foundation announced Toronto Youth Development as this year’s recipient of the $50,000 Toronto FC Community Action Grant presented by the Just Energy Foundation at BMO Field. The grant will support the Regent Park Soccer League (RPSL) which provides at-risk, disenfranchised children and youth (ages four to 13) in the Regent Park community of Toronto with an opportunity to engage in community sport, recreation and physical activity. Entering its fifth year, the soccer-based program delivers skills training, coaching and referee on-field practical experience to substantially improve participants' quality of life. As the program is looking to increase registration by 25 per cent, this grant will allow for appropriate expansion and help serve 200 children and youth
In March 2017, MLSE Foundation announced Northern Nishnawbe Education Council as this year’s recipient of the $50,000 Toronto Raptors Community Action Grant presented by the Just Energy Foundation at Air Canada Centre. The grant will support the Thunder Hawks Indigenous Basketball Program, which provides youth from 24 remote First Nations communities the opportunity to play. Thunder Hawks Indigenous Basketball Program develops the basic skills of the game and provides youth an opportunity to build self-esteem, learn about values such as perseverance and resilience, develop strong leadership and social skills, develop their identity, as well as help students develop a sense of belonging within their school community. The program supports both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams and helps to keep youth engaged in healthy active lifestyles, deterring high-risk behavior while learning valuable life skills. The program strives to create strong leaders on and off the court.
Our Communications Manager, Nancy Donnaperna, joined MLSE Foundation representatives on Thursday March 9th to present the winner, Hockey 4 Youth (Let Kids Play Foundation) in Toronto, with a grant of $50,000 at Air Canada Centre. Hockey 4 Youth is a not-for-profit charitable organization whose mission is to remove barriers and provide new Canadian youth with an opportunity to play hockey at no cost while learning valuable life skills through their T.E.A.C.H. program (technology, entrepreneurship, application, community-giving, healthy active living). Hockey 4 Youth delivers learn-to-skate sessions, followed by learn-to-play-hockey sessions and a tournament. While hockey is a primary vehicle for delivering sport and health, it is also used to enhance English literacy through practical life situations. The off-ice component (T.E.A.C.H.) is a four to six week program that helps youth learn various skills such as coding and app creation, personal branding, creative design and volunteerism.
The $50,000 grant will be used to expand to a third program location in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, giving 90 to 105 new Canadian youth a chance to learn Canada’s game.
In August 2016, MLSE Foundation announced WoodGreen Community Services as this year’s recipient of the $50,000 Toronto FC Community Action Grant presented by the Just Energy Foundation at BMO Field. The $50,000 grant directly supports the WoodGreen Newcomer Youth Soccer League which provides opportunities for newcomer youth (non-citizen: permanent resident, convention refugee, live-in caregiver, visa students and refugee claimants) to meet each other, share common interests, combat isolation and address other issues relating to adjusting to life in a new country. These teams come from different organizations across the City of Toronto and are comprised of youth ranging from 13 to 24 years old. As the league has been operating informally for the past six years, the grant will help grow the program with workshops for participant settlement-related issues.
This award marked our third $50,000 Community Action Grant in 2016 and reinforces our commitment, through the Just Energy Foundation, to assist local organizations who work so hard to build stronger, more supportive and inclusive communities. WoodGreen Community Services is a brilliant example of this. We couldn't be more pleased to contribute to their mission to provide youth with opportunities, through sport, to promote inclusion as well as investing in the health and well-being of our community, and our youth.
Our VP of Marketing, Al Shulman, joined MLSE Foundation representatives on Friday April 8th to present the winner, Lady Ballers Camp in Toronto, with a grant of $50,000 at Air Canada Centre. Lady Ballers Camp is a not-for-profit charitable organization that integrates basketball fundamentals to encourage positive growth and self-confidence in girls and young women. With a commitment to social change, lady Ballers Camp creates equitable access to recreational basketball, leadership, and food security programs to all, regardless of their socio-economic background. The $50,000 grant will directly support Dunk Like a Girl, a basketball, nutrition and leadership initiative for girls between the ages of six and 16 living in low-income, marginalized communities. By including coaching training in the programming, Dunk Like a Girl provides youth with tools to become community leaders, create positive change and develop and improve their physical and intellectual skills in a safe, inclusive environment. In addition, through a partnership with FoodShare, Dunk Like a Girl will include a healthy nutrition component where participants will be provided access to a certified nutritionist. Finally, as part of the Lady Ballers Camp’s dedication to education, participants will partake in weekly workshops addressing issues of concern including: gender stereotyping, sexism, healthy body image and racism. Each session of the program will serve approximately 40 girls, totaling 80 girls per year and 160 over the partnership with MLSE Foundation and the Just Energy Foundation.
In February 2016, MLSE Foundation announced Boys & Girls Clubs of Hamilton as the year's recipient of the Toronto Maple Leafs Community Action Grant presented by the Just Energy Foundation. The $50,000 grant helps fund the Skate the Dream program; a nine-week, introductory hockey program designed for children who have little to no experience playing the sport. Introduced in 2012, Skate the Dream is open to youth between the ages of six and 10 and teaches the basics of skating through drills and games followed by basic hockey skills, positively impacting the lives of over 200 children and youth. The program is open to any family in Hamilton who otherwise could not afford to play hockey, and operates at a cost of $10 per participant, which includes a full set of equipment.
In June 2015, MLSE Foundation announced Malvern Family Resource Centre (MFRC) as the first recipient of the $50,000 Toronto FC Community Action Grant presented by the Just Energy Foundation at BMO Field. The $50,000 grant directly supports MFRC Soccer Drillz, which focuses on developing youth soccer skills through various activities. The program is designed specifically for boys and girls ages 11-14 years old with little or no experience playing soccer as well as those who have limited exposure to recreation or team sports. Youth will be given access to a National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) qualified coach once per week to support the development of their technical and tactical skills through fun games, competitions and other activities including listening to guest speakers, participating in leadership activities to help develop self-esteem and future leaders.
This award marked our third $50,000 Community Action Grant in 2015 and reinforces our commitment, through the Just Energy Foundation, to assist local organizations who work so hard to build stronger, more supportive and inclusive communities. Malvern Family Resource Centre is a brilliant example of this. We couldn't be more pleased to contribute to their mission to provide youth with opportunities, through sport, to build life-enriching skills, confidence and leadership qualities to better position them for future success.
In May 2015, MLSE Foundation announced YouthLink as the first recipient of the $50,000 Toronto Raptors Community Action Grant presented by the Just Energy Foundation. The grant will directly support Triple-Double, which combines five-on-five basketball, literacy and numeracy to increase youth physical activity and improve academic success. Triple-Double will be open to more than 100 youth ages 14 to 20 from September to May, and requires each participant to attend weekly literacy and numeracy sessions in order to be involved in the basketball component of the program. The Triple-Double program responds to a long-term desire for basketball programming for youth in the area and also offers mentoring opportunities to community members who want to support students' success through sport.
The Toronto Raptors Community Action Grant award to YouthLink continues the great effort of MLSE Foundation and the Just Energy Foundation to support youth achievement and empowerment through sport. YouthLink offers invaluable services to improve life outcomes for youth at risk. We're proud to assist in their mission to provide support, guidance and opportunities to help vulnerable youth make positive life choices and achieve their potential for a bright future.
As our very first winner of the $50,000 Toronto Maple Leafs Community Action Grant in March 2015, Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre received a $50,000 grant to help fund the launch of its We Nook, We Shoot, We Score initiative; a free, weekly, after-school sport development program focused on building participants' cooperation and life skills through hockey training. We Nook, We Shoot, We Score is open to youth between the ages of six and 12 and positively affects the lives of over 1,000 high-needs, at-risk children by providing basic training in skating, shooting, scoring, goaltending and hockey rules and regulations. The program focuses on self-esteem, team building and healthy active living and also provides equipment to participants unable to afford their own.