Celebrating Our Co-Op Grassroots

photo of co-op farmer in RwandaAs a co-operative Gay Lea dedicates one week every year to raise money for other co-ops in need. This year, Gay Lea employees raised over $75,000 for Ugama Co-operative in Rwanda.

The Ugama Co-op was founded to help farmers and other workers to join together in a co-operative structure. Serving over 26 cooperatives in Rwanda to date, this organization helps by teaching improved agricultural techniques, small-scale processing technologies, and financial services.

This year we are raising funds for the Canadian Co-operative Association. They leverage our money through a $3 to $1 matching, thanks to the Canadian International Development Agency. This means that the more than $500,000 we have raised over the past 13 years has been converted into over $2 million! Not bad for a co-operative that has grown from 250 employees when we launched our first fundraising activities in 2001 to over 650 as we launch our 2013 campaign.

What happens in Co-op Week? We have a Co-op Week team, whose task it is to create a theme, design the activities and run the program over the course of the week. Our past themes have included the Olympics, Co-opoly, Murder Mystery and more. This year it was Gay Lea Den, a spin-off on Canada’s Dragon’s Den and United States’ Shark Tank.

Our activities are not only based around fundraising but also having fun. This way more employees can participate without always having to pay. They can purchase a ticket for the 50/50 draw, spend $5 for our waffle breakfast or pay $2 to participate in the nail driving contest, they also enjoy the free Family Feud, candy jar guessing games and more.

We kick off Co-op Week with a waffle breakfast at all locations. Here, we talk about the projects we are committed to like co-operatives in developing countries and our history of Co-op Week fundraising. Get ready for a week of giving and delicious waffles! 

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