The GoodSpark Fund supports ICI COOP, Méduse Coop and Mont Adstock's recreation and tourism project, among others
Lévis, Thursday, October 21 ‒ With Co-op Week well under way, Desjardins Group has announced that it will invest $1.6 million in eight cooperative projects.
"It's inspiring to see Desjardins support this many projects through the GoodSpark Fund. To date, the fund has provided more than $10.4 million in support for 52 cooperative-led projects. The growing need for financial backing across Quebec and Ontario is an after-effect of the pandemic. Entrepreneurs are listening to the needs of their communities, and they need more funding to meet them. The GoodSpark Fund is a direct response to these collective needs. And that's what makes it so powerful," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.
New projects receiving funding
National: ICI COOP ‒ $400,000
ICI COOP is a network of more than 70 food cooperatives across Quebec and other French-speaking regions of Canada. It helps promote access to healthy food in regions often overlooked by major food suppliers. The co-op also encourages local production and spending. ICI COOP is part of the Fédération des coopératives d’alimentation du Québec. To learn more, visit https://ici.coop/#icicoop External link. This link will open in a new window. (site in French only).
Quebec City: Méduse Coop ‒ $386,000
Méduse Coop is a unique place where community artists can create, produce and showcase their work. The funds will go toward the co-op's project to acquire an art collection for a permanent exhibit in their recently renovated space. This addition will help Méduse fulfill its mission to provide art education to school groups and the public.
Chaudière-Appalaches (Adstock): Mont Adstock recreation and tourism cooperative ‒ $250,000
As part of this project, the cooperative will revamp its existing services and offer new recreational activities, making it a year-round destination.
Eastern Townships (Sherbrooke): Coop Alentour ‒ $150,000
Coop Alentour specializes in the distribution and transformation of organic and natural products. The funds will go toward purchasing a high-performance bagging system for its house brand Artisan Tradition. This updated equipment will improve the co-op's production capacity, allowing it to better meet growing demand for its natural products.
Mauricie (Shawinigan): Enfant Nature ‒ $50,000
Enfant Nature is a cooperative developing and exploring a new approach, inspired by Scandinavian culture, that involves experience-based outdoor education. The funds will go toward building a training centre, where the co-op will provide training on this approach to a growing number of educators who work with preschool and elementary school kids.
Outaouais/Ontario (Gatineau): Alvéoli ‒ $100,000
Alvéoli is a collaborative platform where agri-food businesses (in production, transformation, distribution, retail, institutional food services, as well as restaurants and food banks) connect to share resources like farm land, equipment, residual materials, staff and information. The platform's goal is to help agri-food businesses and organizations carry out projects and increase their economic, environmental and social sustainability.
Marché de l’Outaouais ‒ $190,000
The Marché's mission is to make local products more accessible by acting as the intermediary between consumers and producers. About 100 local producers work together to deliver over 3,000 products to 9 pick-up locations across Gatineau. The funds will help the cooperative improve its services and continue expanding in line with the growing demand for local products.
Côte-Nord (Port-Cartier): Coopérative de solidarité de Rivière-Pentecôte ‒ $133,000
This cooperative operates out of local convenience store Le Riverain and offers groceries, baked goods and prepared meals to locals. The funds will go toward acquiring a new building and specialized equipment to improve services and increase production.
The GoodSpark Fund
In 2016, Desjardins created a fund and committed to investing $250 million by 2024 in projects created by and for the community.
The GoodSpark Fund seeks to support socioeconomic recovery in Quebec and Ontario by investing in initiatives that focus on the environment, youth, health, entrepreneurship and recreation and tourism development.