EPCOR’s Heart + Soul Fund to help an additional nine organizations with fundraising and event support in 2022
EDMONTON, AB – Edmonton’s non-profit sector is gearing up for a busy fall to meet the needs of the community and to produce creative works that lift everyone’s spirits. EPCOR’s Heart + Soul Fund is also back to provide support, with an additional $160,000 in funding for nine arts, cultural and charitable organizations. This is on top of the $360,000 already announced for 22 organizations in June.
“Edmonton charities are tackling difficult social issues — from abuse to poverty, and homelessness to food insecurity,” said Stuart Lee, EPCOR President and CEO. “We felt strongly about releasing these additional funds to help charities to continue this important work.”
One of the most troubling issues to emerge during the COVID-19 pandemic was the uptick in domestic violence, and particularly violence against women and girls. The United Nations has called this alarming trend the “Shadow Pandemic.”
WINGS of Providence, an Edmonton charity that supports women and children escaping domestic violence, launches its second annual WINGMAN campaign in September. The campaign will feature high-profile Edmonton men taking a stand against domestic violence, with EPCOR matching donations towards counselling, childcare, life-skills sessions and nutritious meals.
“Healthy male role models, speaking out against domestic violence and demonstrating a commitment to non-violence is powerful,” said Kathy Collins, executive director of WINGS of Providence. “Men are primary partners in addressing domestic violence and ensuring prevention efforts are inclusive and meaningful.”
Just as charities help to ensure our city remains supported, strong and vibrant, Edmonton’s arts and cultural groups are hard at work to make our days lighter and brighter. One of the arts programs EPCOR will support this year is the Nextfest Arts Company’s Emerging Artistic Producer Program, which will give hands-on arts administration experience to Indigenous women, women of colour and transgender or non-binary people.
“Less than four per cent of leaders in Canadian theatre identify as culturally diverse women or non-binary people,” said program producer Simone A. Medina Polo. “The Emerging Artistic Producer Program will help budding leaders from these communities to overcome the financial and social barriers they can encounter early in their careers.”
This marks the third year for the Heart + Soul Fund, which EPCOR created in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to support organizations that provide a lifeline to our communities’ most vulnerable, as well as those that uplift our spirits and bring us so much joy.
A full list of recipients receiving Heart + Soul funding in this round can be found in the
backgrounder attached to this news release.
• EPCOR has committed $3.5 million in pandemic relief and recovery funding, which is in addition to the more than $1 million it provides in community support every year.
• 160 grants have been provided through the Heart + Soul Fund. A full list of new grant recipients is provided in the Backgrounder.
• The charity sector has leveraged $814,000 provided through the Heart + Soul Fund by hosting matching campaigns, which resulted in nearly $5.1 million raised in support of critical social services.
• Funding provided to arts and culture organizations helped employ 1,120 artists, and produce 628 new artistic works safely amid pandemic restrictions, bringing joy and entertainment to our community.
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In chronological order
This initiative will help develop selected playwrights through a guided and supportive group environment, culminating in participants having finished a production-ready script. The Playwrights’ Unit will empower artists to secure funding from government and private sources for their premieres, and furnish them with the skills and contacts they will need to put together professional artistic teams. Funding will go toward compensating the playwrights and artist facilitators.
Light Strikes is a creation and presentation of animated Indigenous visual artworks, projected and video-mapped onto various and unique surfaces, set to Indigenous music and poetry, for a live spectacle and online viewing. EPCOR funded earlier phases of the project, and is now supporting phase four, which will see the videos mapped onto multiple sides of Edmonton buildings with more projectors, as well as the addition of live performance art and the presentation narrative, culminating in a live presentation and fundraising event in September. EPCOR funding will go toward artist and production fees, equipment rentals, COVID measures, marketing and advertising.
The Strathearn Art Walk and Music Festival is a free, family-friendly annual celebration of the arts, including musical performers from many cultural backgrounds, a local artisan market and art displays. Funds will go toward musicians, a festival producer, and promotion and marketing.
The Emerging Artistic Producer Program will give hands-on arts administration experience to Indigenous, black and people of colour who identify as women, transgender and/or non-binary people. The two-phase development program will include a series of seminars and paid practicum placements with local arts organizations. Funding will go toward participant contract fees to set them up for success.
In chronological order by fundraiser dates
The second annual WINGMAN campaign will showcase high-profile Edmonton-based influencers who are taking a stand against domestic violence in our community. A new “WINGMAN” will be profiled every day throughout September, with a call to action to raise funds. EPCOR will match donations, with funds raised supporting trauma-informed programs and support services offered to the families that are fleeing domestic violence and living at WINGS. Services include: counseling, onsite daycare, children’s programs, life skills building, education sessions, nutritious snacks and warm meals.
inVisible Persons: Stories of Poverty & Homelessness is a fundraising event focused on bringing the voices of the people served by Boyle Street to the forefront of discussions related to the experience of poverty and homelessness. The anchor of the event is a screening of the “InVisible Persons” project, a powerful series of interviews filmed by Boyle Street staff to give a platform to the “hidden” and “invisible” population of Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) in a context that was co-designed with the participants. EPCOR will be the main sponsor of the event, with its support helping to cover the costs of planning and executing the event. Funds raised will go toward the drop-in centre, which provides warm meals, clothing, and a welcoming and supportive environment where the next steps toward breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness can be taken.
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters will conduct a matching campaign to incentivize new donors to join the work to end violence against women, children and seniors. EPCOR will match donations, with funds ultimately going toward initiatives such as worksite domestic violence responder training, enhancing economic security for women in the shelter, expanding the children’s curriculum, and expanding work to support Truth and Reconciliation.
The Christmas Bureau will kick-off its holiday campaign with a launch event to engage partners, bring profile to the needs of Edmontonians, and build awareness of the organization’s programs and how to seek support. EPCOR will cover launch event costs, and match donations to help kick start the campaign. Funds raised will ultimately go toward providing holiday food hampers for families experiencing financial difficulty, and holiday gift cards for the Adopt-A-Teen program.
YESS will conduct a matching campaign as part of their annual December campaign. EPCOR will match donations, and the funds raised will ultimately go toward supporting the critical needs of homeless and vulnerable youth.
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