Aviva Canada has announced the grand prize winners of its Aviva Community Fund competition, where Canadians were invited to vote on which community organizations should receive a share of $1 million.
A panel of judges helped select the grand prize winners after millions of votes by Canadians helped narrow down the list of finalists.
Among the grand prize winners are previous entrants, including Kaiden’s Care Kits for Cystic Fibrosis out of Russell, Ont., whose team made the finals in 2011.
“Giving up was never an option,” said Helen Meinzinger ,the idea generator for Kaiden’s Care Kits. “We learned from our experience and continued to build on the momentum created from our first year in the Aviva Community Fund.”
Another of this year’s winners, The Children’s First Playground from Inuvik, NWT, was also a previous entrant in the competition.
New to the competition this year was $5,000 in funding donated to the charity of choice selected by each finalist not receiving full funding. “We understand the hard work that goes into participating in the competition. That’s why this year all 30 finalists will receive some funding for their project or a charity that they designate doing similar work,” said Maurice Tulloch , president and CEO of Aviva Canada . “We also encourage all entries not receiving full funding to build on the momentum gained during the competition to continue towards their goals.”
Within the $1 million in funding are prizes for initiatives within two specific categories; 1) groups supporting at-risk youth, 2) ideas supported by an insurance broker. Both of these specific prize winners are noted in the list below. “Our independent broker partners are a critical component of the competition and we’d like to thank them for their continued support of community improvement,” Tulloch noted.
The winners include:
The Children’s First Playground: Where Arctic Kids can play – Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Parents in Inuvik, NWT have come together to provide local children with a high-quality pre-school in a purpose-built childcare space. However, the critical space is missing a key component – a playground. Funding from the Aviva Community Fund will enable the community to create a playground space that aids in building imaginations, social, cognitive and physical skills for area children.
Gladstone Greenhouse for Science and Foods Program – Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver’s Gladstone Secondary School is in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Canada, with students from very mixed socioeconomic and family backgrounds including many at risk youth. The school has started a garden and uses the produce to help sustain their lunch program. The garden is also an educational component of the schools’ curriculum at which many students volunteer. Aviva Community Fund support will be used for a greenhouse at the school to expand this program.
Rescue for Life – Spay/Neuter Initiatives – Spruce Grove, Alberta
Rescue for Life is a companion animal, no-kill, rescue group operated out of Spruce Grove, Alberta. The organization adopts animals from all over Western Canada, focusing on First Nations regions. Funding from Aviva will go towards a spay and neuter program to help control animal populations.
Broker Grand Prize Winner Chase Kraynick “Pay it Forward” Splash Pad – Canora, Saskatchewan
The small rural farm community of Canora, Saskatchewan will be building a Splash Pad in memory of local boy Chase Kraynick who was lost to a tragic farming accident in 2011. Support from the Aviva Community Fund, combined with the donation of the land and local community support, will enable local families and friends to engage in healthy, barrier free fun in a new 3,400 square foot concrete pad with 18 splash components themed to reflect all the things Chase loved. The pad is also dedicated as a reminder of the tremendous difference random acts of kindness and generosity towards a complete stranger can make.
Riehl Skate Park – Pelham, Ontario
Spearheaded by the students of E.L. Crossley Secondary School, the Riehl Skate Park will provide community youth a safe environment where they can gather and stay active. The park is to be named after student Isaac Riehl , who was struck by a car and killed while riding his skateboard. The school principal, mayor and town council have all committed their support to the project, including providing the land, ongoing maintenance costs and matching the Aviva Community Fund contribution to the project.
The Bear With Us Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre has been caring for and returning injured or orphaned bears to the wild for over 20 years. Funding from the Aviva Community Fund will be used to construct a new enclosure to contain adult wild bears that have been injured and to treat them before they are returned to the wild. Additional funding will be used for outreach and educational programs in schools and throughout the communities of Parry Sound and Muskoka to raise awareness about Human Bear Coexistence.
Please Fill our Pool! A Swimming Pool for Smiths Falls – Smiths Falls, Ontario
For the citizens of Smiths Falls and the thousands of rural families living close-by, there is no facility where they can learn to swim. The government facility housing a pool closed, leaving the pool to rust and sit empty. Support from the Aviva Community Fund will go towards re-opening the pool in this economically devastated area. A local non-profit organization will facilitate the repair, opening and management of the indoor pool.
Kaiden’s Care Kits for Cystic Fibrosis – Russell, Ontario
On average, every week in Canada two children are born with, and one person dies from cystic fibrosis. In partnership with Cysti
c Fibrosis Canada, Kaiden’s Care Kits provide much needed medical supplies, support and information to Canadian families of newborns diagnosed with this fatal genetic disease that attacks the respiratory and digestive systems. The funding provides for development and delivery of 100 kits to be issued over a one-year period to clinics and families across Canada. The kit contains 24 essential items, including medical, support and education materials.
Une vraie cour d’ecole pour ados! – Bois-des-Filion, Quebec
Rive-Nord High School is home to over 1,100 students who come from different suburban neighbourhoods north of Montreal, an area with a growing population of more than 200,000. Long without an engaging outdoor area, support from the Aviva Community Fund will enable the school to create a healthy outdoor space with park benches, picnic tables, an equipped soccer field, and stimulating meeting places including an amphitheatre and grass to offer students a quality social and educational environment.
Fighting for Healthy, Affordable Food in North End Halifax – Halifax, Nova Scotia
North End Halifax is a diverse community of immigrants, refugees, emergency shelters, transitional housing, drop-in centres and a growing group of middle income condo dwellers. It has no grocery stores and it is a challenge for residents to feed their families healthy food. Support from the Aviva Community Fund will be used to run a new and innovative social grocery enterprise providing a clean facility and selling a full range of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, bakery products and groceries that are affordable and healthy.
At Risk Youth Grand Prize Winner Undercurrent Youth Centre – Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
The Undercurrent Youth Centre exists to support area youth dealing with addiction and making positive life decisions. Funding from the Aviva Community Fund will help the centre build an outdoor basketball and skateboarding area, a music room, a games room and a lunch room; install a gym sound system and make general improvements to their auditorium.
The Drawing Hope Project – National
Exoskeleton for Trevor Greene , Canadian Veteran – Nanaimo, British Columbia
Vera M. Walsh & Community of Lac La Biche Needs A New Playground – Lac La Biche, Alberta
Silver Lake Camp “A small camp with a big impact” – Kinloss, Ontario
Harder 4 Carter: The Carter Antila Memorial Skate Park – Temiskaming Shores, Ontario