EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) is proud to announce a donation of more than $450,000 to local community groups, including several youth sport groups and charities, as well as many Edmonton community leagues.
The donation from the EOCF will allow many groups in the Edmonton area to remain operating key programs, helping promote healthy and active lifestyles to Edmonton community members.
Local community groups have played an integral role during unprecedented times throughout 2020, supporting families and Edmonton youth by providing assistance to those most vulnerable in the community. The dollars being re-invested in the local community were generated by proceeds from the most recent EOCF online 50/50 raffle.
The EOCF's strategic priorities focus on making the greatest impact in our community. The two main strategic pillars are supporting programs aimed at those most vulnerable in our community, specifically in Edmonton's downtown and supporting youth hockey programming, with a goal to increase participation of under-represented groups in the Edmonton area.
"At a time when health and safety restrictions have put a pause on recreational sports through the province, keeping kids and families active has never been more important not only for our physical well being, but also for our mental health. Oil Country's vulnerable population are most at risk of the negative consequences of the pandemic and we believe our investment will go where it is most needed," said Natalie Minckler, Executive Director of the EOCF.
Local community groups and beneficiaries who will receive funding from the EOCF donation include: Hockey Alberta Foundation, KidSport Edmonton, Free Play for Kids and Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.
"Thank you to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation for the generous support of our Free Play for Kids hockey program. This grant will allow us to expand our reach in supporting youth from the highest-needs schools in Edmonton by offering a safe space to build healthy relationships, to freely play and be physically active, and to learn how to skate and play hockey," said Taryn Barry, Technical Director of Hockey, Free Play for Kids. "By working together, we will broaden access to hockey spaces and places for all youth, regardless of any financial, physical or other limitations they and their families may face."
Many Edmonton community leagues are among the local groups that will receive a financial boost from the EOCF donation. The donation will allow many of the community leagues to continue operating community programing, as well as provide support to keep outdoor rinks open throughout the winter months.
"The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues thanks the Oilers Community Foundation for their generous gift to help keep local Community League rinks open in the city this winter," said Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, Executive Director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues. "These are the places where young Edmontonians get their first taste of skating and hockey. By supporting these vital facilities during such a difficult year, we are supporting mental and physical health, a sense of community and the love of winter outdoor sport for all."