Business Number: 122437072RR0001

Michelle & Enyinnah Okere Fund

Michelle and Enyinnah know what it’s like to grow up in poverty. Now executives with the means to give back to the community, they’re passionate about providing young people from similar backgrounds with opportunities to fully engage in education, sport and the arts. They recognize that education is the way out of poverty but participating in extracurricular activities can help create a sense of community at school that keeps youth engaged and coming back year after year. These activities also provide important life lessons, setting them up for a more successful future.

“As an immigrant coming to Canada, I saw my mother, an educated woman, start back at the bottom - working long hours cleaning hotel rooms to support us. She went back to school to become a nurse to provide a better life for us but through those years, money was tight and we frequently had no food in the fridge. We didn’t have money for basic necessities, never mind new clothes, travel or extracurricular activities. Regardless, I was fortunate to have a mother who believed in education as the opportunity for a better life. And that stuck with me. Though things weren’t perfect, I appreciate the opportunity Canada gave me to have the life that I have now and I consider it my responsibility to help offer the same for children and families like mine.” - Enyinnah

“Growing up in small town Saskatchewan, I didn’t come from a family of means. On and off social assistance, my family struggled. As a kid, it was tough growing up wanting to participate in organized sport and school trips but knowing that we didn’t have the finances to support it. But I learned early of the power of community. Friends and neighbours provided me with equipment, transportation and even packed my lunches. I felt so much love, even when it wasn’t at home. I know this helped me overcome the barriers that many expected to hold me back. Now, I want to engage my friends and community to make a difference in the next generation of kids like me.” - Michelle

This fund supports access to education, sport, arts and culture for youth living in poverty.