McGill announced on Oct. 12 that it is partnering with Centraide of Greater Montreal for its 2021 Centraide Campaign. The campaign, managed by the McGill Centraide Committee, will raise funds to help alleviate financial burdens of Montrealers in need, providing support for rent, food, education, and other necessities.
The main event of the Centraide campaign is the virtual “Let’s Move for Centraide” walk/run. Participants choose a day between Oct. 15 and Nov. 19 to complete a five- or 10-kilometre run or walk that can be completed indoors on a treadmill or outdoors. To certify that they have completed the walk/run, participants must track their activity using an app like Strava Run or Nike Run Club and then submit the activity record to McGill.
Participation in “Let’s Move for Centraide” costs 20 dollars, withall proceeds donated to Centraide. Four major donors—Stephen Bronfman, Mitch Garber, Andrew Lutfy, and Lino A. Saputo—will match every donation of 10,000 dollars that McGill makes to Centraide. Darshan Daryanani, the Students’ Society of McGill University president and member of the McGill Centraide Committee, believes the campaign will have a positive impact on local communities.
“This year, McGill’s target is to raise $425,000,” Daryanani wrote in an email to the McGill Tribune. “Each agency [supported by Centraide] has a different culturally appropriate and community-based approach, which will help to create inclusive and resilient communities and break the cycle of poverty and social exclusion locally.”
Another event that will be occurring toward the end of the McGill 2021 Centraide Campaign is a zumba class, hosted by Ender Nava. The fee to participate in the class is $10, and all proceeds from the class will be donated to Centraide.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected Montrealers in different ways, but the marginalized and diverse communities supported by organizations like Centraide were hit harder than most. McGill reported that in Quebec, 24,000 women dropped out of the labour market and 12.9 per cent of the lowest-paid workers in the area lost their jobs since the onset of the pandemic.
As a result of this trend, Centraide established four emergency funds: Centraide COVID-19 Emergency Fund, Youth Fund, Emergency Community Support Fund, and the New Horizons for Seniors Program. The McGill administration acknowledged these funds are an important step in helping Montrealers overcome the consequences of the pandemic.
“As a COVID-19 response, Centraide established different funds, projects and programs to help vulnerable people and those weakened by the health crisis,” wrote Frédérique Mazerolle, a McGill media relations officer. “McGill is committed more than ever to our partnership with Centraide and the need to extend our support, kindness, and compassion to vulnerable Montrealers.”
Some students, however, such as Doris Tian, U2 Arts, were unaware of the campaign. Ultimately, Tian was happy to learn of McGill’s efforts.
“I had not heard of the Centraide campaign before, either from McGill or outside the McGill bubble,” Tian wrote. “It seems like a very timely philanthropic campaign to launch in the aftermath of COVID, and I am glad McGill is promoting social initiatives such as this one.”
Sophie Hart, U3 Arts and lead organizer at Mobilizing for Milton-Parc, discussed the influence that a campaign such as this can have on the relationship between students and the larger Montreal community.
“I think it is great [that] McGill is inviting students to think about their role as citizens in Montreal and the importance of student involvement, whether it be volunteering or donating, to community organizations,” Hart wrote in an email to the Tribune. “COVID-19 helped many people see the importance of community and care for one another, so I hope this campaign will be successful and will encourage student learning about community organizations.”