Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities helps children from low-income families get into the game

 

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By James Popkie

Many Canadian children don’t have the financial means to participate in organized sporting activities. These children often need a helping hand in order to get off the sidelines and into the game, and that’s where Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities comes in.

Since 2005, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities has helped provide children from low-income families with athletic opportunities that may otherwise be out of their reach.

Jumpstart lends its financial support to children between the ages of 4 and 18, all across Canada. Eligibility for funding is based on financial need, and Jumpstart has Community Partners across Canada that work with the parents to determine their income and whether or not the kids qualify. Any Canadian child is eligible if they meet the low-income criteria.

“Any child that wants to play, reaches us, and qualifies is a child we want to help, and very few of our chapters have money left over at the end of the year, because we work so hard to make sure that we get it out the door,” says Landon French, President of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.

There are more than 300 Jumpstart chapters spanning the entire country, ensuring that kids in any region, including remote areas, will get the chance to play. Jumpstart gives children the chance to participate in the sport of their choice, with almost 80 different activities recognized and funded by the charity. Many of the kids participating in Jumpstart are enrolled in organized team sports such as soccer and hockey, but there are also a growing number pursuing other activities like dance and gymnastics.

In addition to the mainline Canadian Tire stores, all other banners in the Canadian Tire family, such as Sport Chek, Gas+, and Mark’s, also support Jumpstart by helping to raise funds. The stores raise money for Jumpstart through two primary methods: through asking customers for donations at the checkout counter, and through fundraising initiatives coordinated by franchisees, employees, vendors, and other partners of the Corporation.

Franchisees have a major role to play in the success of Jumpstart Charities. “The Canadian Tire franchisees, as you can imagine, have been behind it from the start, and have really been the cornerstone of the charity to this point, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them,” says French.

“We like to say it’s part of our DNA,” says French of Canadian Tire’s charitable efforts. “It’s part of what makes us unique.”

In 2015, Jumpstart distributed close to $21 million and helped more than 206,000 children, making it the charity’s biggest year yet. Jumpstart has helped more than a million children in the past ten years, but French isn’t resting on his laurels, and is focused on the children that Jumpstart has yet to support.

“There are still hundreds of thousands of kids in this country who we don’t reach, and we want to let them know that we’re out there to help,” he says.

Jumpstart Charities can be contacted at 1-844-YES-PLAY, as well as through their website, www.jumpstart.canadiantire.ca.


Adapted from an article originally published in the July/August 2016 issue of FranchiseCanada. Check out our current issue FranchiseCanada, on newsstands now, or you can order your subscription by calling 1-800-665-4232 ext. 224.