We have all heard the bad news about the Alberta economy as well as the challenges the non-profit sector is facing in during the pandemic. In fact, Alberta currently has the second highest unemployment rate in Canada. Unfortunately, donations have declined for 75% of Canadian charities with an average reported revenue loss of 43% according to Imagine Canada surveys.
Like all charities, The Educational Partnership Foundation (TEPF) has had to pivot and face the rapidly changing needs of school closures, pandemic requirements, and the loss of corporate funders. Despite these challenges, during the 2020-2021 school year TEPF has delivered education programs to a record number of youth.
The Reading… Give it a Shot! (RGIS) program increased by 30% while our Trades Careers has more than doubled in students from 2019. In addition, we launched an exciting new Books for Kids program in January.
“We are thrilled with our accomplishments, especially during our 30th Anniversary year,” says president and CEO Barb Simic. “With the help of our generous donors our small but mighty team (of 3.5) we have been able to impact a record number of young people with literacy, books and trades careers programs.”
The RGIS is well used because it works, but this year it was delivered to 42,000 students, up from the 36,000 that used it last year. All survey respondents fully agree that RGIS is a valuable literacy tool. One Central Albert teacher said, “All my students are very eager to read in order to receive their Species at Risk collector cards! I have had several students increase their reading levels by 2 grades!”
Additionally, we have 102 students in Calgary, Edmonton, and Innisfail attending our Trades Careers program. This includes two courses running in the summer. Classes were small to accommodate COVID protocol, which meant adding extra courses.
“We keep getting more demand from all partners for the Trades Careers,” explains Trades Careers Director of Programs, Mike Rezansoff. “The uptick from students, new schools and new trades is really encouraging as we continue to address the skilled trade shortage in Alberta and ending the stigma around trades education.”
TEPF also launched a new book program, Books for Kids. As an extension of our commitment of literacy TEPF wanted to put books in the hands of children who don’t have books at home. In total, 2474 students received books to own and take home. Our survey confirmed the community need. In fact, 100 percent of respondents agreed that receiving a book at no cost serves a need for some of their students. One Calgary teacher commented, “Many of our students have never received a brand new book so this is very special for them. Thank you!”
As we wrap up this school year and celebrate our 30th Anniversary we are extremely delighted with the outcome.
“We couldn’t do this without our incredible donors. With their support we have met and exceeded our goals. By clearly impacting over 44,500 Alberta youth we are also fulfilling our mission of enabling and motivating the next generation.” says Simic.