FirstOntario pledges $1 per member to Break New Ground


Ottawa, January 29, 2018FirstOntario Credit Union has joined CDF Canada’s Breaking New Ground campaign with a generous donation to help half-a-million people build their way out of poverty through co-operative action. The donation of $117,550 represents one dollar for each Member of FirstOntario Credit Union.

FirstOntario presentation to CDF Canada Director Mark Hamel. (LtoR):Tom Irvine,Lead Community Impact, Joanne Battaglia, AVP Partnerships & Community Impact, James Lefebvre,Senior VP Member Experience & Business Services, Mark Hamel,Director, CDF Canada Board, Debbie Murdoch, Manager, Internal Member Support, Christine Susa, Marketing Specialist, and James Olson, President. James Lefebvre, Debbie Murdoch and Christine Susa are three of the eight FirstOntario staff who will be participating in the upcoming CDF Canada Study Mission to Cambodia.


“Canada’s co-ops and credit unions are great supporters of the work of CDF Canada,” says FirstOntario CEO, Kelly McGiffin. “It’s in FirstOntario’s DNA to reach out and respond to the needs of our communities, be it locally through our community Student Nutrition Program, affordable housing projects, donations and sponsorships, or globally through CDF Canada. We have a larger responsibility than just being a good community partner. We also have a responsibility to be good global citizens. This means supporting both, not just because we should, but because we can.”

“Needs have no borders. I would like to put out a formal challenge to all Canadian credit unions and co-operatives. Commit one dollar to CDF Canada for each member per year as FirstOntario has done and watch the impact we can have together, from closing the gender gap, widening access to needed financial services and making families and communities more resilient to setbacks. We will dramatically change lives around the globe. CDF Canada is building a better world through co-operation. FirstOntario is proud to support and be part of this important movement.”

“Our partnership with FirstOntario highlights their confidence in CDF Canada and the power of co-operation to change people’s lives for the better,” says CDF Canada Board Chair Michele Aasgard. “We thank FirstOntario for this generous donation and for the passion and commitment their employees and members show in living out their co-operative principles while helping co-operators around the world move out of poverty.”

FirstOntario has joined in study missions to view CDF Canada projects firsthand in the Philippines and Cambodia. FirstOntario has also hosted and mentored women managers from credit unions in Kenya and the Philippines as part of CDF Canada’s Women’s Mentorship Program.

Launched during Co-op Week last year, Breaking New Ground will improve the social and economic wellbeing of 500,000 women, men, children and their communities through co-operative development. The success of this co-operative approach has earned the confidence of CDF Canada’s funders such that every dollar donated is leveraged up to 10 times by them.

About CDF Canada

The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF Canada) is an international development charity that has improved the lives of women, men, children and their communities through co-operatives for over 70 years. CDF Canada and its supporters have impacted the lives of millions of people in multiple countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Find out more about CDF Canada and the Breaking New Ground campaign.

About FirstOntario Credit Union

FirstOntario has been serving Members in the Golden Horseshoe, including Hamilton, Halton, the Niagara Region and Southwestern regions of Ontario since 1939. FirstOntario is the province’s second largest credit union with 32 locations, more than 115,000 Members and $5 billion in assets under management. Everyone is welcome to be part of FirstOntario for financial services including daily transactions, mortgages, lines of credit, loans and investments. FirstOntario profits are invested into the communities we serve through support for entrepreneurs, competitive rates and charitable pursuits including our award-winning student nutrition program. Learn more about us today at

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