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Oilers Foundation Receives A+ from Tools for School

by Kelsey Spohn / Edmonton Oilers

WATCH: Day of Caring

It’s almost time for back to school and instead of hitting the books the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) hit the assembly line in support of the United Way’s Tools for School initiative. The program strives to provide backpacks with all the necessary supplies for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 in the Capital Region.

Oilers staff filled more than 650 backpacks with paper, pencils, binders, highlighters and everything else a budding scholar might need to excel in the classroom. The program aims to provide more children and youth the opportunity to achieve academic and personal success.

“The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has given $75,000 over three years towards the purchase of backpacks for Tools for School,” said Jenn Dermott, Program Coordinator, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. “This donation has done a huge amount for us; without this support, I’m not sure we would be able to purchase as many backpacks as we need.”

The program has been in operation for 18 years and in 2011 there were more than 12,000 backpacks distributed in the Capital Region. This year, Tools for School will fill 16,000 backpacks to meet the increasing demand.

The EOCF places a high priority on youth education and Tools for School also benefits other initiatives supported by the Foundation, including sending backpacks to students at Inner City High School and the Oilers Kindergarten.

“The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation’s partnership with the United Way’s Tools for School program is a perfect fit within our mandate of supporting youth education and youth health and wellness,” said Natalie Minckler, Executive Director, Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. “Even in today’s high-tech world, basic supplies are still essential. Today, our dedicated staff built backpacks which will provide young children the necessary school supplies they need to achieve classroom success.”

As demand for school supplies increases, the EOCF’s partnership with the United Way increasingly helps to reduce barriers to student success.

“This kind of support makes a huge impact on the children who would otherwise go to school without a backpack,” said Dermott. “Now, children are able to confidently walk through the doors on the first day of school knowing that they won’t be singled out because they now have the proper tools that their teacher needs them to have.”

With September just around the corner, these new backpacks will surely bring smiles across the Capital Region. To donate to Tools for School, please visit or visit any Staples location to make a product or monetary donation.

To learn more about the EOCF’s initiatives in Oil Country, please visit

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