May 29, 2021 – Youth with barriers to job-skills training opportunities will be able to find work in the food service and hospitality industries in Metro Vancouver through Dan’s Legacy Foundation’s “Intro to Cook” program, funded in part by a $20,000 grant from Co-operators Community Funds. The free work-skills program based in New Westminster provides youth aging out of care, Indigenous youth, and young women survivors of gendered violence the chance to gain entry- level cook training and work experience, as well as access to trauma-informed counselling and wrap-around support.
“We are proud to support Dan’s Legacy Foundation, whose programs provide meaningful pathways to employability for marginalized youth and individuals with mental health challenges,” says Chad Park, Vice President, Sustainability & Citizenship, The Co-operators Group Limited.
“Many youth aging out of care experience multiple foster placements throughout their lives which impacts their ability to complete a high school education,” says Barbara Coates, Dan’s Legacy’s executive director. “The future they see for themselves is one of trying to survive on income assistance or minimum wage jobs. We’re helping them get the training they need to qualify for well-paying positions in the hospitality industry, or move on to higher levels of training and obtain Red Seal certification. We’re grateful for the generous support of Co-operators Community Funds who were one of the first organizations to fund our pilot program.”
COVID-19 delayed the start of the “Intro to Cook” job-skills training program for a year; the first intake launched in January, 2021 and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.
Dan’s Legacy also thanks its community partner Union Gospel Mission in New Westminster for the use of its commercial kitchen as a teaching facility.
Co-operators Community Funds (CCF) support community economic development initiatives that lead to job creation and/or enhanced employability for marginalized youth and persons with mental health issues. Since 1995, over $8.2 million has been disbursed to 189 charities, non- profit organizations, social enterprises, and co-operatives. CCF also helps address environmental and social challenges through impact investing. With total capital contributions of $23.4 million at the end of 2020, the Funds had net assets of approximately $22.3 million, which considers grant disbursements over the years as well as investment portfolio growth.