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The Co-op Community Spaces Program – building thriving communities and lasting relationships across Western Canada

Community spaces are what bring people together. In trying and often dividing times, they can be a source of joy and connection. However, the level of capital funding required to bring these long-term projects to life can be difficult to fundraise for.

To help address this issue, Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) created Co-op Community Spaces on behalf of retail Co-operatives across Western Canada. A capital funding program developed to support non-profit, charitable organizations and projects that look to bring people together – and help build a sense of community. 2019 marks the fifth year of the program and, to date, the Co-op Community Spaces program has supported 114 projects with $8.5M in capital funding.

Co-op believes that everyone wants a sense of belonging, and its important to bring people together in a way that allows them to feel more connected to their communities, by building communities up and allowing them to thrive.

“It’s important for Co-op to invest in these spaces because we’re not only working for the community – we’re owned by the community,” says Brooke Smit, Social Responsibility Specialist at FCL. “We want to make long-term investments into the spaces that help build a sense of connection for our member owners.”

To meet this need, Co-op ensures a variety of projects are supported through long-term capital funding. Prospective projects fall on all ends of the spectrum: from recreation, to environmental conservation, or urban agriculture.

It’s also important for Co-op to celebrate program successes with team members alongside those community partners. This has helped boost employee engagement (a strong business benefit!) and bolster stronger relationships. Local co-ops will host their own events, and organize their own employee volunteering activities with the community partner directly in their area.

“We are always learning from our community partners, what the needs are,” says Brooke. “This dialogue has helped us achieve deeper, more meaningful impact.”

Co-op cares about the causes that matter to their employees and the communities in which they live and work. Co-op’s philanthropic program’s include employee-directed giving; as well as, major partnership and corporate donations like Co-op Community Spaces. The 2019 Co-op Community Spaces recipients will be announced June 13th, 2019.

To learn more about the program, please visit

About FCL

Federated Co-operatives Limited. (FCL), is a wholesale, manufacturing, marketing and administrative co-operative owned by more than 170 independent retail co-operative associations across Western Canada. The retail co-ops own and operate agro centres, food stores, gas bars/convenience stores and home centres from Vancouver Island to northwestern Ontario and into the Arctic.