Our Work

Coalition for Healthy School Food

Since 2020, the Arrell Family Foundation has been supporting the work of the Coalition for Healthy School Food. The Coalition is a growing network of over 240 non-profit member organizations who are seeking public investment in and Canada-wide standards for a cost-shared school food program that would see all children having daily access to healthy food at school. Building on existing programs across the country, the Coalition envisions that all schools will eventually serve a healthy meal or snack at little or no cost to students. These programs will include food education and serve culturally appropriate, local, sustainable food to the fullest extent possible.

Since the Coalition’s founding in 2014 the network has worked towards the goal that every child and youth in Canada can access a healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate meal or snack, in a non-stigmatizing manner, at school every day. This vision is endorsed by over 120 school boards, municipalities, health boards, cities and other government agencies and organizations, and embraced by the Coalition’s 3000+ supporters. Our members in every province and territory also advocate for stable funding and support from their respective jurisdictions and have been very successful in helping to secure increased provincial and territorial funding.

Research has long found school meals to be one of the most successful drivers of improved health, education, and well-being in children of all ages. School food programs have also been shown to have broad, positive impacts on families, communities, and the economy by reducing household food costs, creating jobs, and strengthening sustainable food systems.

In September 2021, as a result of our advocacy along with other voices, the Liberal Party of Canada committed to “develop a National School Food Policy and work towards a national school nutritious meal program with a $1 billion dollar investment over five years (…) to help children grow and learn”. In December 2021 the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development’s mandate letters included to work together and “with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy and to work toward a national school nutritious meal program.” Over the past several years we have also seen increased investment and commitment from provinces and territories across the country thanks in large part to our advocacy efforts.

With school food programs in the mandate letters of 2 federal ministries and on the agenda of provincial and territorial governments there is an unprecedented opportunity to influence the design and direction of a school food program for Canada and impact the lives of children and communities across the country. Funding from the Arrell Family Foundation has helped make possible the Coalition’s leadership on this critical issue.

CAMH Foundation logo

The Arrell Family Foundation is helping CAMH change mental health care forever.

Support from the Arrell Family Foundation is helping the Collaborative Learning College (CLC) provide people who have faced mental health challenges the resources to set goals, build skills and make connections as mart of recovery.

The CLC is a low-barrier and non-clinical recovery-oriented education program that is based on the internationally adopted recovery college model. The recovery college (RC) model represents a worldwide innovation in health systems. Established in five continents, the RC model proposes a mental health educational approach in the community, emphasizing co-production, co-learning, and equity between theoretical/clinical knowledge and experiential knowledge. 

Designed and led by people with lived and living experience, programs at the CLC are open to all individuals over 16 years of age, free of charge, who identify as having lived and living experience with mental health, substance use challenges, or addiction challenges.

CLC Programs:

Life Skills:

  • Financial Literacy
  • Cooking
  • Service Navigation


  • Mindfulness
  • Boundary Setting
  • Dealing with Loneliness


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership
  • Interview Preparation


  • Creative Writing
  • Safe Cycling
  • Music & Technology

Programs are guided by values of:

  • Accessibility – Offering low barrier programs that meet people where they are.
  • Personal Growth – Supporting students to achieve self-identified goals.
  • Self-Determination – Allowing students to define their own pathways through a go-at-your-own-pace approach.
  • Dignity, Respect & Inclusion – Honouring the ways in which people identify and find healing, while fostering non-judgmental spaces for community.
  • Collaboration – Meaningfully engaging students and partners in all aspects of programming.

To achieve the expected outcomes:

  • Increased hope for the future, sense of control, agency, and confidence.
  • Improved knowledge, skills, employability, and social network.
  • Decreased systemic, interpersonal and internalized stigma.
  • More efficient use of services by decreasing service use for some while creating pathways for others. 

What participants are saying:

  • “The Collaborative Learning College has been an amazing resource in my healing journey. I’ve learned more about implementing a wide variety of healing modalities in 4 months, then I have in 40 years of Western Medicines attempts. The patient centred care has been unlike anything I’ve experienced. My suggestions are actually listened to.”
  • “Thank you for creating space for vulnerability & transparency in the course today, it’s so important in our community these days. It took a lot for me to join and I’m so happy I did :)”
  • “I appreciate being able to receive all this support, despite being 1.5 hours’ drive from Toronto. My local services have failed my for a long time, I now feel like there’s some hope for my future. Thanks to the CLC for helping me save myself.”
  • “My experience with the recovery college has been about making connections with people and expanding my social circle. The past couple of years have been highly isolating for all of us, and being able to open up and connect with new friends on a weekly basis has been invaluable for my mental health.”
  • “Once I got connected with the CLC, I was able to get out of the COVID isolation and despair. It is a place where we endeavor to eliminate the stigma and restore hope. Through reconnecting with other people in recovery and with the support of the facilitators, I was accepted into the LETS LEAD program. It has truly started a ripple effect.”
  • “The CLC represents to me a mosaic of offerings that I find very beneficial in my recovery, and my life. I feel included in a spectrum of wellness that is supported by peers and staff. We talk about art, music, healing, and mindfulness, and so much more. I feel heard, supported, and get to learn something new, or have a safe space to re-visit anything I want or need to. At the CLC, I have built some amazing connections, and relationships with folks in the community. Most of all it gives me the opportunity to think universally, and create a relationship within myself.”
  • “For me, the CLC has given me the chance to use my journey and have a voice. There’s nothing like the personal growth that comes from co-creating with peers, so more lived experiences can be meaningfully engaged and included.”


In 2017, the Arrell Family Foundation made a significant multi-year donation to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to fund the CAMH Bridging Clinic, an accessible, low-barrier mental health service.

The CAMH Emergency Department is the largest 24-hour emergency department dedicated to mental health in Ontario. CAMH launched the Bridging Service to ensure that every visitor to Emergency Department receives the care they need. After triage, people who arrive at the emergency department with less-acute needs can be sent to the Bridging Service to receive quality care —freeing significant resources in the Emergency Department for more urgent patients.

In the period after leaving the emergency department, many people may be in need of sustained psychiatric services in the community. However, accessing care from a psychiatrist in the community can come with a long waiting period. The Bridging Service fills a critical need during this period as well, providing consistent support for patients while they wait for a community provider, with no-appointment required.

With funds from the Arrell Family Foundation, CAMH was able to conduct a two-year demonstration project. This meant hiring additional staff for a two-year period, expanding the Bridging Service’s hours to accommodate even more patients, and to generating valuable data on the impact of this service.

The expansion of the Bridging Service has been an incredible success. With support from the Arrell Family Foundation, CAMH was able to demonstrate that visitors to the Bridging Service can access high quality, low-barrier care with relatively low wait times, while preserving Emergency Department resources for the most critical patients’ needs. Today, more people are accessing the Bridging Service than ever before.

Arrell Food Institute (AFI)

Arrell Food Institute’s vision is a sustainable, reliable and just food system. It creates new knowledge to inform sustainable food systems, convenes collaborative discussions, mobilizes action, and prepares leaders to advance the future of food.  

Focusing on strategies to make food safer, reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by the food system, and helping communities become more food sovereign, Arrell Food Institute is at the forefront of technological and social innovation and policy making in Canada and internationally. 

The Arrell Chairs are globally research experts and are frequently called upon to share research and insights with the media, government, and industry.   

Exceptional graduate students with a passion for improving food for future generations are attracted by Arrell Graduate Scholarships. This $50,000 per year scholarship attracts top students from around the world who want to study and build their connections at Canada’s Food University. In addition to receiving the University of Guelph’s top scholarship, Arrell Scholars participate in a leadership program that allows them to develop workplace ready skills, and become part of a network of future food leaders. 

Awarded annually since 2018, the Arrell Global Food Innovation Awards are two $100,000 prizes presented by Arrell Food Institute to leaders who demonstrate global excellence in food research and community engagement. Nominations are open to every country in the world, connecting researchers and community organizations and showcasing the impact of their work. 

The annual Arrell Food Summit convenes people from across the food system, including government, non-profit and industry to share perspectives and discuss relevant topics and find new ways to collaborate. 

Anchored at the University of Guelph, one of Canada’s top research-intensive comprehensive universities, Arrell Food Institute is part of an interconnected network of faculties, departments, and other initiatives across campus. Being a part of the academic community gives Arrell Food Institute the opportunity to collaborate and get the latest research, data and information impacting food and food systems. 

Arrell Food Institute’s strong foundation of knowledge and expertise, ability to convene diverse perspectives across the continuum of food and support for educating scholars and food leaders means it can mobilize knowledge into action. 

As an advisor, convener and educator, Arrell Food Institute is reimagining the future of food. 

Community Food Centres Canada

Community Food Centres Canada is a cross-country commitment to good food for all.

Food is a basic human right and a means to bring people together so communities can share and thrive.

Locally, we nurture and nourish on-the-ground programs that meet the needs of neighbourhoods and communities. Nationally, we are a united voice advocating for lasting impact through progressive and inclusive public policies.

With almost 400 partners across the country, we build inclusive, culturally responsive Community Food Centres, share knowledge, create health-focused programs, and advocate for equitable policy change.

We talk about and tackle the root causes of food insecurity: poverty, exclusion, injustice. We confront the urgent challenge of food insecurity NOW and advocate for a dignified future.

In every community, a place for food.

A Community Food Centre is a welcoming space where people come together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food.

Walk into any Community Food Centre and you’ll feel it right away. A friendly greeting, lots of natural light, and the smell of something delicious coming from the kitchen. This is a place that values community. And it’s a place that uses good food to build it. Community members access food that’s fresh, nourishing, and culturally appropriate.

Every program has food at its heart — whether it’s cooking, gardening or advocacy. Community members build skills, improve their health, make social connections, contribute to their communities, and take action on the issues that affect their lives.

We’re fighting for a Canada that delivers on the right to food for all.

Our partners work in hundreds of communities across Canada. Together, we raise awareness about the root causes of food insecurity and mobilize for progressive and inclusive policy change.

Grants Made in 2022

Brain Canada Foundation
Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Canadian Red Cross (Ukraine relief fund)
Centre for Addiction & Mental Health Foundation
Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Foundation
Community Food Centres Canada
Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario
L’Arche Canada Foundation
Northern Manitoba Food, Culture & Community Collaborative
Gaagige Zaagibigaa
Muslim Society of Guelph (Support for Afghanistan refugees)
New Circles
Nourish Leadership
Ontario Water Centre
People’s Food Institute (Coalition for Healthy School Food)
Power To Give Foundation
RMHC Canada
St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation
The Stop Community Food Centre
UHN Foundation
University of Guelph (Arrell Food Institute)