Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), the largest non-financial co-op in Canada, is committing $65,000 to the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada’s (CDF Canada) Breaking New Ground Campaign.
FCL’s donation will help small coffee producers in Colombia and Peru to work together to facilitate equal opportunities for women and girls, strengthen community and give the “unbanked” financial services, CDF Canada reported in a media release this past May. “By partnering with CDF Canada, we’re able to help small producers in South America become self reliant and improve their communities through their own cooperative enterprises,” FCL president and board chair Brad Schultz stated. FCL has donated $1.2 million to CDF Canada since 2002.
Other beneciaries of CDF Canada programs include farmers in Ghana, West Africa. Here, members of microfinance groups have learned literacy skills through CDF Canada’s FOSTERING project. Enhancing literacy skills for women is especially important, as they no longer have to rely upon men to write loan applications, giving them greater independence.
Don Coulter, CEO of Concentra Bank, announced this past April a $300,000 multi-year investment with CDF Canada in support of the Breaking New Ground Campaign. This year’s contribution so far tallied $75,000, Concentra’s third largest annual donation to CDF Canada since they started giving in 2003.
Launched last year during Co-op Week, Breaking New Ground is working to improve the social and economic well being of 500,000 individuals through co-op development. Its goal is to raise $5 million in the next three years. To date, more than $1.3 million has been pledged by supporters. ◊