BIZ Gives $94,000


April 17, 2012

Graffiti Art, Siloam Mission and Red Road Lodge Receive $94,000 in Funding from Downtown BIZ

Downtown BIZ’s Change for the Better Program provides downtown organizations with funds to support homeless employment programs

Downtown Winnipeg – Three deserving downtown organizations received good news in the thousands as funds raised from the Downtown BIZ’s Change for the Better CEO sleepout were officially allocated to Graffiti Art Programming Inc., Siloam Mission and Red Road Lodge.

“This financial support represents a larger commitment towards organizations that are creating employment opportunities for those who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless,” said Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown BIZ. “We are thrilled to see these organizations’ programs in action and believe they are doing great work for our city and downtown community.”

In 2011, the BIZ organized its inaugural CEO sleepout that challenged CEOs, community leaders and key decision-makers to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty. In the process, these participants helped raise over $100,000 for Change for the Better. Change for the Better helps homeless people get off the street into permanent paid employment and a healthier environment. Since 1992, over $235,000 has been raised and 100% of all donations go to homeless employment programs.

With $50,000 from Change for the Better, Siloam Mission will continue its Mission: Off the Streets Team (MOST), a program created in 2007 by Siloam Mission and the Downtown BIZ. MOST helps homeless men and women re-enter the workforce, supporting each participant’s growth in the areas of physical resources, financial capacity and stability, health, social and emotional well-being, education and personal spirituality.

“The missing link in true transition from the streets to self-sufficiency is housing and stable employment. People need jobs that increase confidence and self-esteem, and help them reach their full capacity,” said Floyd Perras, Executive Director of Siloam Mission. “Siloam’s growing MOST program allows participants to earn a fair wage, surrounds them with a support system of accountability and helps them become more productive members of Winnipeg by going out and beautifying the downtown area every day. It changes lives.”

Red Road Lodge will receive $19,800 from Change for the Better to fund REACH, a program that will provide employment, with a focus on community cleanup and beautification, to 10 individuals who are homeless, unemployed or currently living on EIA disability, in recovery from a mental illness or an addiction.

“This new funding will assist our homeless friends in their search for dry, safe housing and it will also provide employment and new opportunities to those currently living at the Red Road Lodge,” said Beverly Roberts, Executive Director. “This partnership with the Downtown BIZ will support our life-skill programming and enhance our mission to assist marginalized individuals through their period of crisis and improve their situation. We look forward to a bright new collaborative future on Main Street with healthy, inspired and employed community residents.”

With $24,200 from Change for the Better, Graffiti Art Programming Inc. will begin work on its Young Parents Program at their studio located at Portage Place Mall (Studio 393), engaging at-risk young mothers and fathers. This project, in particular, will provide the opportunity for young parents who have accessed Studio 393 to further develop leadership and employable skills, in conjunction with their arts education. These youth participants will also be employed by Studio 393 to create meaningful art installations throughout the downtown.

“Change for the Better’s support is further justification and recognition of the role that arts can play in the development of youth in our city,” said Bob Veruela, Studio 393 Director. “This art studio is the result of great support from our downtown partners’ and participants’ vision for a creative centre at the heart of the city, where youth from a variety of neighbourhoods and backgrounds can meet, create and communicate their vision for an incredible downtown.”

Donating to Change for the Better can be done in three easy ways:

1.Online at
2.Cheque or money order to “Downtown BIZ – Change for the Better” and mailed to: Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, 426 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 0C9.
3.Collection boxes at participating venues downtown

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For more information or interviews with Stefano Grande and/or any of the chosen CFTB funding recipients, please contact:

Jason Syvixay, Public Relations Coordinator
Tel: (204) 958-4635; Cell: 997-3040