Level the Playing Field initiative supports grassroots programs for newcomer and marginalized youth in sport
The Canadian Olympic Foundation (COF) is pleased to announce a donation of $1-million from Marissa and Moez Kassam, establishing the Level the Playing Field initiative.
This initiative will enable the Foundation, together with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and many of Canada’s National Sport Organizations (NSOs), to drive resources directly to programs at the grassroots level for youth from newcomer and marginalized communities. In particular, these programs will focus on introducing new Canadians to sport in Canada, and as an accelerator of the Team Canada Impact Agenda, will help make sport more inclusive and barrier-free.
“I am thrilled to announce this generous gift from Marissa and Moez Kassam,” said Jacqueline Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Foundation and Chief Brand and Commercial Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “This inspiring donation will help us activate on the Team Canada Impact Agenda, and provide more opportunities for young people of all backgrounds across the country to experience the power of sport.”
“We know that our role of inspiring more young Canadians to play and stay in sport is important to communities across the country,” said Eric Myles, Chief Sport Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “We also know this work contributes to a more successful next generation of Team Canada athletes. We’re excited to be working with National Sport Organizations and our sport partners to deliver programs that will create more access to sport for more people.”
Last year, the COC unveiled the Team Canada Impact Agenda, a commitment to making sport safe, inclusive and barrier-free so more young people can play and stay in sport. This gift is part of that commitment, recognizing the need to lead a more diverse and inclusive Team Canada to podium success.
“Barriers to access and participation are a reality for marginalized groups,” said Marissa and Moez Kassam. “We are excited to partner with the Canadian Olympic Foundation in the establishment of the Level the Playing Field initiative. Dedicated to removing barriers and opening doors to grassroots sports programs for immigrant and diverse communities, the fund will ensure they too can experience the power and community of sport and realize their full potential. We are honoured to be part of this important work.”
Moez Kassam is the Chief Investment Officer of the Toronto hedge fund Anson Funds, and a current member of the Canadian Olympic Foundation Board of Directors. Informed by the immigrant experience, Moez & Marissa established the Moez & Marissa Kassam Foundation in 2016. With a commitment to children and immigrant and diverse communities, the Moez & Marissa Kassam Foundation invests in organizations that address the symptoms of inequality and exclusion while working to level the playing field.
To learn more about the Team Canada Impact Agenda, visit olympic.ca/impact-agenda.