Playing for Keeps partners say, “Let’s play!” as they celebrate $225,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation

First Published On: 
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Funding will provide leadership training to more than 800 Torontonians using ‘play’ to strengthen their neighbourhoods

TORONTO, February 4, 2014 – Today, Playing for Keeps (P4K) partners, including Toronto Community Foundation, Toronto Pearson, and George Brown College will host a special event called “Winter Warm Up” to celebrate $225,000 in funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation towards the social legacy initiative. The event will also be the launch of a series of Neighbourhood Games taking place throughout the month of February across the city, and feature the premiere of a video capturing the impact to date.

“Playing for Keeps is a wonderful example of what is possible when you build the capacity of individuals who then strengthen community organizations through their participation as volunteers. It’s the best way to build the capacity and vitality of communities,” said Andrea Cohen Barrack, CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation. “We are happy to support the development of Volunteer Ambassadors to become community leaders.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation funding will make it possible to offer the training to a cohort of more than 800 residents over three years.

Inspired by the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games and piloted through the 2012 Ontario Summer Games, Playing for Keeps has trained more than 350 people from over 70 cultures, ranging in age from 16 to over 70, to become P4K Volunteer Ambassadors. Equipped with new skills in areas including leadership, civic engagement, event planning, communications, and citizenship, the Volunteer Ambassadors get to test their skills by hosting activities, called Neighbourhood Games, to bring people together across generations to share a fun experience. It’s all about building stronger, healthier and better connected communities through play. The participants – newcomers, youth, and long-time residents – have all benefited from a total of 14,000 hours of training, thanks to partnerships with George Brown College and Fusion Strategic Inc. They will be social legacy volunteers at P4K Hubs, community organizations, across the city.

“We are a proud supporter of Playing for Keeps, both as the Lead Community Partner and a P4K Hub,” said Lorrie McKee, Director, Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations, Toronto Pearson. “The skills that the Volunteer Ambassadors are gaining through these community based-initiatives will help to grow our region’s vitality and connectedness. Toronto Pearson celebrates the addition of the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s support - it will help increase that base of volunteers and that’s a good thing for all the neighbourhoods in the GTA.”

“As a cross-sector collaboration, Playing for Keeps has made it possible for us to align community vision, objectives, and assets around how we can use major, multi-sport games as catalysts for building healthier, more active and better connected communities, while enhancing the development of social capital,” said Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President & CEO, Toronto Community Foundation.

Event Details:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
George Brown College
300 Adelaide Street East, 1st Floor Atrium

Special Guests:

  • Andrea Cohen Barrack, CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President & CEO, Toronto Community Foundation
  • Lorrie McKee, Director, Public Affairs & Stakeholder Relations, Toronto Pearson
  • Brenda Pipitone, Dean of Academic Services & Student Affairs, George Brown College
  • Babli Nessa, P4K Volunteer Ambassador, East Scarborough Storefront