LONDON, ON, March 11, 2016 – Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) is pleased to announce a $250,000 contribution to the London United for Refugees initiative in London, Ontario, from the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees (Welcome Fund) in partnership with the London Community Foundation. The Welcome Fund was seeded by Manulife, and quickly augmented by CN’s historic $5 million donation, as well as by generous support from GM and community organizations.

London United For Refugees is a collaborative initiative established by the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre (CCLC), United Way London & Middlesex, and the City of London, to support refugees from Syria as they settle in London and the surrounding area. This contribution will support CCLC to create a stability bank, which supports loans for renters, and provide direct housing subsidies, as well as support broader housing stability, job training and skills development-related granting, led by the United Way London & Middlesex and the London Community Foundation.

As Canadians join together in welcoming refugees from Syria, the Welcome Fund provides an important investment in their successful settlement in cities across Canada. Established to respond to an urgent gap in accessible and affordable housing, the Welcome Fund invests in community-driven solutions that enable recently arrived families to transition into suitable permanent housing.

As of March 10, more than 880 Government-Assisted Refugees from Syria have arrived in London.

“Efforts like the London United for Refugees initiative are key in supporting the successful settlement and integration of Syrian refugees in helping to make Canada their new home,” said Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum. “I applaud the generosity of all of the contributors that helped make this possible.”

“Safe and suitable housing is critical to successful resettlement and integration. My thanks to everyone in London, Ontario who is working to help Syrian refugees and to CFC, CN, and others involved in the Welcome Fund for their important contribution to this community,” said Member of Parliament for London North Centre, Peter Fragiskatos.

“We are proud to be part of a national movement to support the settlement of Syrian refugees in Canada,” said Martha Powell, President & CEO, London Community Foundation. “Access to safe, secure housing is essential for individuals and families to thrive and put down roots in the community. We welcome these families into our community with open hearts.”

“This is really outstanding. As we continue to welcome families to London, their need to find safe, secure housing is a top priority,” said Mayor Matt Brown. “Supporting our new friends and our new neighbours as they begin a new life in Canada is a responsibility we all share. I am so pleased to see this nation-wide partnership come together.”

“Shifting refugees from temporary to more permanent homes is the first step in helping people and families to settle into their new lives in Canada,” said Andrew Chunilall, Chief Operating Officer at Community Foundations of Canada. “We thank CN, Manulife and other participating partners for their support, and invite other organizations to step forward to assist with our continued rollout of the Welcome Fund across the country.”

“Our government is proud to support and welcome 10,000 Syrian Newcomers to Canada. And I’m very pleased to welcome many of them to my hometown of London, Ontario,” said Deb Matthews, MPP, London North Centre. “Having a place to call home makes all the difference and I’m delighted that because of this partnership  newcomers can settle into their new lives comfortably.”

“We hope our $5 million donation to the Welcome Fund will encourage others to join in support of the refugees who are arriving in communities like London,” said Sean Finn, Executive Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer of CN, and Past Chair, Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “The first priority is getting refugees housing so they can focus on getting their kids in school and obtaining language and skills training.”

“The arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada is only one step among many for these new Canadians as they begin the next phase of their lives,” said Marianne Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Canada. “The Welcome Fund was established to provide housing and job preparedness, which would not happen without the leadership of these great local London organizations.”

About Community Foundations of Canada

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations which help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work, and play. Community foundations contribute time, leadership and financial support to initiatives that benefit community most, directing grants and other investments towards everything from shelter, education, and care for those in need, to the arts, environment and recreation. To learn more visit

To learn more about partnership opportunities related to the Welcome Fund, please contact JP Bervoets, Vice President, Partnerships and Public Engagement, at


Media Contacts:

Community Foundations of Canada
JP Bervoets
Vice President, Partnerships and Public Engagement
Tel: +1 (416) 319-8111
Twitter: @CommFdnsCanada

London Community Foundation
Vanessa Dolishny
Communications Manager
Tel: +1 (519) 667-1600 ext 107
Twitter: @LdnCommFdn

Patrick Waldron
Senior Manager, Media Relations
Tel: +1 (514) 399-8803

Brooke Tucker-Reid
Media Relations Consultant
Tel: +1 (647) 528-9601
Twitter: @Manulife or @ManulifeNews