Partnered with Kids Help Phone to ensure 24/7 help for Black and Indigenous youth
Our communities are all about how we come together as partners to make progress, tackle shared challenges and ensure everyone can prosper. Providing access to healthy and affordable food, nutrition education and early interventions in child and youth mental health means healthier tomorrows for more Canadians.
Fiscal 2023 Performance Highlight
Close to $19M donated to support healthy bodies and minds in our communities (~$7M in corporate donations and ~$12M raised)
Our commitment to being community-engaged is embedded in our core values.
Community investment is a major area of focus for our business and our teams—not only because we care about the places where we live and work, but also because it helps us deliver on our business strategy by inspiring our customers and our people.
Executive oversight for our Community Investment program is provided through monthly meetings among our CEO, SVP Marketing, VP Communications & Corporate Affairs, and EVP, Chief Development Officer and General Counsel. During these meetings, the status on key initiatives is presented and alignment occurs on key decisions made related to strategic priorities. This includes presenting on new strategic partnerships. An annual update is presented to the Executive Committee on strategic priorities. An annual update specific to Community Investment is presented
Executive oversight for our Community Investment program is provided through monthly meetings among our CEO, SVP Marketing, VP Communications & Corporate Affairs, and EVP, Chief Development Officer and General Counsel. During these meetings, the status on key initiatives is presented and alignment occurs on key decisions made related to strategic priorities. This includes presenting on new strategic partnerships. An annual update is presented to the Executive Committee on strategic priorities. An annual update specific to Community Investment is presented to the Empire Board of Directors. We have a dedicated Community Investment team who steward and support our charitable donations and programs. In addition, Community Action Fund leads have been identified across our operations teams to help identify and fund regional or local initiatives that support Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds.
to the Empire Board of Directors. We have a dedicated Community Investment team who steward and support our charitable donations and programs. In addition, Community Action Fund leads have been identified across our operations teams to help identify and fund regional or local initiatives that support Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds.
Community consultation and input forms are an integral part of how we plan for and administer our Community Investment program. We offer an online Community Action Fund application form for an equitable and consistent approach for reviewing community donation requests. And our Community Investment team supports many stakeholders across the company in various community engagement initiatives.
Our Community Investment Strategy is all about fostering healthier tomorrows for Canadians through our work in two key pillars:
These pillars are also fully integrated with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Strategy, ensuring the ways we foster healthy bodies and minds is also focused on supporting Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities. Our framework consists of three streams of giving, totalling $19 million in funds raised and donated in fiscal 2023:
Strategic partnerships and initiatives (over $10,000)
More than $650,000
Regional donations via Community Action Fund and a streamlined online application process (between $1000-$10,000)
Local donations from individual stores (typically under $1000)
Key strategic partnerships include our Family of Support Child & Youth Mental Health Initiative. Our inaugural partnership with the Sobey Foundation and Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations was launched in 2020. To date, this initiative has raised and donated more than $12 million to support 15 mental health programs across Canada focused on increasing access to early intervention mental health support for children and families. Other partners include more than 400 local food banks and meal programs, Special Olympics Canada, The Grocery Foundation and Kids Help Phone, to name a few. They continue to educate and inspire our teammates to make a difference.
In fiscal 2023 we met our commitment to ensure that 10 per cent of our annual community investment donations supported Black- and Indigenous-led or informed organizations. Through our Community Action Fund, we continued to step up to support communities in need, including through support for the Canadian Red Cross in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona. Our Healthier Tomorrows Individual Giving Program continues to build momentum as a voluntary program empowering teammates to donate directly from their paycheques to support their choice of more than 30 charities across Canada.
Looking ahead, we will continue to explore opportunities for new community investment partnerships and ways to build on our commitment.
Partnering With Kids Help Phone
We have partnered with Kids Help Phone to support two vital, community-based mental health programs created in partnership with Black and Indigenous leaders, connecting youth from these communities with real-time virtual counselling and crisis help. Our five-year, $1.25 million commitment supports Kids Help Phone to deliver RiseUp and Finding Hope. RiseUp, powered by Kids Help Phone in partnership with the BlackNorth Initiative, is Canada’s only 24/7, bilingual e-mental health support for Black youth. In addition, Jim Dickson, Chair of Empire’s Board of Directors, is a proud Cabinet Member of Kids Help Phone’s ‘Feel Out Loud’ campaign. This is the largest movement for youth mental health in Canada’s history, with a collective goal to raise $300 million to support young people across Canada over 30 million times.
Finding Hope is a national action plan focused on creating capacity for Kids Help Phone to better connect with Indigenous youth. Finding Hope is led, co-created and governed by an Indigenous Advisory Council, connecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities with Indigenous volunteers and counsellors.
Nurturing With Giving and Knowledge
In fiscal 2023 our teams from coast to coast continued to step up and support access to healthy and affordable food for people in their communities. Thanks to the generosity of our customers and teammates, our 2022 Holiday Food Bank Fundraiser raised a combined total of $4.67 million in food and funds, including $3.21 million raised in our stores across Canada (outside Quebec) to support more than 400 food banks. In Quebec, $1.46 million was raised through our stores in support of provincial food networks. In addition to raising funds and sharing food, our teams also foster knowledge about healthy eating and living. For example, teammates at IGA continue to work with La Tablée des Chefs to empower thousands of young people through schools and community centres for youth. This program is now expanding outside of Quebec. And through our ongoing partnership, Special Olympics Canada continues to provide nutrition sessions specifically designed for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
IGA in Quebec is proud to partner with Fondation Charles-Bruneau, raising and donating more than $1.8 million last year to support Project VIE, a collaboration with the CHU Sainte-Justine focused on healthy eating habits for children receiving chemotherapy. Funds were raised through an in-store campaign and two events: The Tour CIBC Charles-Bruneau and The Charles-Bruneau Cup, presented by IGA.
Continuing Impact Through Our Family of Support Child & Youth Mental Health Initiative
Our partnership with the Sobey Foundation and 13 children’s hospital foundations entered its third year in 2022—and we were proud to share a snapshot of how it supports access to early mental health supports for children and youth Canada-wide in our second partnership impact report. Our year three report will be posted in September 2023. In fiscal 2023, thanks to the involvement of more than 1900 store teams, we raised and donated $3.2 million (which included $824,000 in corporate contributions) in support of this critical initiative.
Truly national, instantaneous mental health support is vital to address and support child and youth mental health challenges in critically underserved communities across the country. Thank you to Sobeys Inc. for this tremendous partnership, which will strengthen our programs in areas such as crisis response, community outreach, skill development, response times and more. These improvements will drive meaningful change for Black and Indigenous youth and help shift the child and youth mental health landscape in Canada.”
Katherine Hay, President & CEO, Kids Help Phone
As a family nurturing families, we want to ensure Canadians are taken care of today, tomorrow and in the future. By doing OurPart™ for the environment, we hope to inspire our customers to do theirs. Every step we take together—big or small—can make a difference.Learn More