There are many people and issues that require immediate attention during these times of uncertainty. Charities have adjusted the way they operate on a daily basis and many have had to make significant shifts to fulfill their particular missions. Unfortunately, many charities may not weather this storm.
Our intention with this series is to share updates from a spectrum of charitable organizations to garner attention and inspire support for those in need.
Charity name: The Stephen Leacock Foundation for Children
Core purpose and mandate:
Our mission at the Leacock Foundation is to address the inequality of opportunity for underserved and academically at-risk youth living in challenging economic and social circumstances. Through a coordinated series of academic interventions, we seek to inspire young people to overcome barriers, unlock their potential, and contribute to their communities.
How is your organization impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Unfortunately due to social distancing measures we were unable to move forward with our signature fundraising event, The Leacock Debate. We hope to be able to have the event in the fall, and we are monitoring the situation closely.
We have also been unable to provide our designated communities with the programs we planned to run over March Break, the spring and summer months.
How have your fundraising plans changed?
We are continuing to reach out to our donor base to secure annual gifts. We have also created a number of specific proposals to individuals, granting bodies and corporations to secure support for our work. We are concerned that the missing revenue from our events will force us to limit the programs we can offer once the social distancing measures have been lifted/.
If there is one story or message you would like to share with our community, what would it be?
Despite the limits placed on our work we have managed to find alternative and innovative ways of reaching our community. For example, we partnered with First Book Canada to distribute reading materials to children in our programs, we secured a grant from Telus to support the purchase of technology tools for families without access. We have also launched an online tutoring program where adult volunteers are assisting children with online school work. Finally, we are looking ahead to the summer where we will offer our first online LEAP into Literacy program which will be focused on social and emotional wellbeing along with literacy instruction.
The effects of the COVID-19 have been felt more deeply in Toronto’s already marginalized communities.
Data released by the City of Toronto suggests poor people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. It’s the working-class neighbourhoods — many of them located in the inner suburbs — with precarious jobs, long transit commutes, and substandard housing, that have been at greater risk
The Leacock Foundation, with its unique emphasis on supporting local and global communities, witnessed first-hand how income disparity plays into a family’s ability to cope during quarantine, and subsequently how marginalized communities will have a harder time regaining equilibrium in our new normal.
More than ever, we are proud to support families by creating a caring community of educators who create a meaningful and lasting impact on the children in our care. Unlocking potential is about more than a student’s grades or future job prospects; it is about creating resilient, empathetic thoughtful young leaders who can help shape their community in positive ways.
How can one support your organization most effectively?
At this time sustained and multiyear support will allow us to have the confidence and resources to keep our programming at current levels.
Can donations be transferred electronically? If so, how?
Yes, we can supply our banking details to facilitate an account transfer. Alternatively, donations can be processed via credit card at www.leacockfoundation.org