A career path to professional sports can be daunting for many. Especially when financial situations put you at a disadvantage. This is a problem that former Canadian athlete Jane Roos took upon herself to solve when she founded the Canadian Athletes Now Fund, or just CAN Fund.
The organization has now been around since 1997 under the “See You” brand before being changed to CAN Fund in 2006. Jane has been raising funds to help our Canadian athletes receive the financial support needed with a primary goal of getting them to the Olympic Games.
We spoke with Jane to find out more about her journey, the charity and how our readers can get involved.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Our athletes compete for Canada and our CAN Fund donors make sure they CAN. CAN Fund was created to give Canadians the opportunity to directly support our athletes who wear the maple leaf on the world stage. Every donor finds out the athlete they are supporting and receives a tax receipt. Over 800 athletes recently applied to CAN Fund for direct funding. CAN Fund supports able bodied and Paralympic athletes.
What problem does it aim to solve?
The majority of athletes go into debt to represent Canada. CAN Fund helps alleviate the financial stress. Being a CAN Fund recipient means they can afford proper nutrition, new equipment, coaching, travel to training camps and competitions and basic living expenses.
When did you start/join it?
CAN Fund (Canadian Athletes Now Fund) is supporting both able bodied and Paralympic athletes, and a registered charity since 2003. CAN Fund has raised over $43 million which directly supports athletes who compete for Canada.
What made you want to get involved?
I was a track and field athlete competing in heptathlon (7 track events). My career ended from a tragic car accident. My best friend Tina was driving and fell asleep at the wheel and we went off a cliff. I survived and Tina didn’t. After the accident I was left with an extraordinary sense of life.
“It is difficult to put into words how much the accident changed me but I never worry about the ‘how’ and focus on my ‘why’. I have a passion for giving people (Canadian athletes, artists, entrepreneurs) opportunity and impacting lives. I started raising money for athletes from my hospital room and our first fundraiser raised $40,000.”
What was the situation like when you started
70% of our National team athletes lived below the poverty line.
How has it changed since?
At the Athens Games in 2004 CAN Fund supported 244 of 266 athletes representing Canada and this legacy has continued to the most recent winter PyeongChang Games in 2018.
CAN Fund has become the “difference maker” to the majority of athletes. They share that CAN Fund allows them to focus on their training/competitions and not have to worry about the financial stresses. Athletes share it allows them travel to training camps or attend more competitions. CAN Fund allows them to feel like Canadians are behind them when they are out of the spotlight but when the support is needed the most.
CAN Fund $3 Million Matching Donation:
Eric and Vizma Sprott recently announced a $3 million matching on every donation made to CAN Fund. With the Tokyo 2020 Games next summer, this matching donation is a rally to get Canadians to care about our athletes and donate when the support makes the biggest impact. This historic announcement is the tipping point for the Fund. It will impact the lives of Canadian athletes striving for Tokyo 2020 and beyond who give everything they’ve got to represent this incredible country we all get to call home.
CAN Fund #150Women:
Is an exceptional network of women coast to coast dedicated to supporting and celebrating our Canadian female athletes.Hey
How to Become a CAN Fund #150Women: Donate $150 or more.
CAN Fund #150Women Mantra: Be Epic! Love yourself, be brave, take risks to get what you want in life, and empower women around you to follow your lead.
CAN Fund Adopt An Athlete:
Corporate Canada and business leaders have made this our #1 program at CAN Fund since 2003. Donation $10,000.
More information: http://canadianathletesnow.ca/adopt-an-athlete/
What more needs to be done?
We recently had over 800 athletes apply for financial assistance. Each CAN Fund recipient receives $6000 our goal is to reach our $3 Million Matching by December 31 , 2019.
Every donation right now is being matched dollar for dollar up to $3 million. At this stage in the journey I believe the best way to support our athletes is to donate to CAN Fund as we give the funding directly to the athletes and because each sport is so different each athlete allocates the funds to the things they need to make it easier for them to compete for Canada.
How can our readers help?
Become a CAN Fund donor! They can donate to CAN Fund and support the athletes who bring an entire nation together and inspire all of us.
Our athletes are not looking for a handout but they do need our support now when it makes the biggest impact on their ability to train and compete.
Right now every donation is being matched and you will find out the name of the athlete you are supporting and receive a tax receipt.
www.MyCANFund.ca or call 416-487-4442 or 1866-937-2012
Do you have any events coming up?
Canadians coast to coast are hosting CAN Fund Pre-Game Meals at their homes.
CAN Fund has reinvented the charity dinner. Your home, your friends but imagine your next dinner also includes athletes who have represented Canada on the world stage!
CAN Fund is inviting Canadians coast to coast, to host a Pre-Game Meal at their home this year. The premise is simple. You host a dinner in whatever style you prefer, sit- down, cocktail, or a themed event. It can be as casual or as elegant as you wish. You invite your friends to attend (6 guest minimum) and CAN Fund invites Canadian athletes to join you. Just ask your guests to make a donation to support our athletes who compete for Canada.
Email: Events@CanadianAthletesNow.ca or call 416-487-4442 or 1-866-937-2012 About CAN Fund:
CAN Fund is a non-profit organization that supports our athletes who compete for Canada. The Olympic Games are an exciting time for our country when we all cheer for our athletes wearing the maple leaf. Where CAN Fund plays a significant role is in the years leading up to the Games – the years when no one is watching, or cheering, or even aware of the athletes and their journey to be the best in the world.
The majority of our athletes are paying for equipment, travel to events/training camps, coaching, extra physiotherapy and team fees that range from $1,000 to $27,000.
With every donation to CAN Fund you are given the name of the athlete who will benefit from your support and you receive a charitable tax receipt.
Recently 821 athletes, both able-bodied and Paralympic, from coast to coast have applied to CAN Fund for direct financial support.