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Zekelman Foundation donates $1M to Windsor’s Safety Village

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The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation has announced a million-dollar donation and partnership  with The Safety Village — a local not-for-profit that runs safety and injury-prevention education programs for youth in Windsor-Essex.

The foundation led by Stephanie and Barry Zekelman is The Safety Village’s new lead sponsor, committing the donation towards raising awareness of safety, injury and crime prevention issues in the community.

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“The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation is thrilled to join forces with The Safety Village in their commendable efforts to educate and safeguard our community,” Barry Zekelman, president of the Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation, said in a statement.

“We recognize the pivotal role The Safety Village plays in shaping the safety mindset of residents, and it is with great pleasure that we contribute $1 million to support their invaluable programs.

“This partnership exemplifies our commitment to creating a safer environment for the next generation.”

Established in 2000 with Rotary Club of Windsor 1918, The Safety Village provides education programs to approximately 10,000 elementary school children annually through onsite programs including fire safety, bicycle safety, traffic safety and more.

A bird’s-eye perspective of The Safety Village in Windsor is shown on Monday, January 8, 2024. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

“We are profoundly grateful for the generosity The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation has shown our cause,” said Melissa Lauzon, executive director of The Safety Village.

“This transformative donation will empower us to upgrade our educational infrastructure, develop innovative safety programs, and expand outreach initiatives.

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“Through this partnership, The Safety Village will continue to evolve and meet the changing needs of our community. We are thrilled about the opportunities that lie ahead, and we look forward to making an even greater impact with their support.”

Since opening its doors, The Safety Village has partnered with numerous community groups. Its onsite offices include Windsor Police Services — Community Services Branch, Windsor Fire and Rescue Services, New Beginnings Child and Youth Services and Neighbourhood Watch Windsor.

According to The Safety Village website, injury is the leading cause of death for Canadians ages one to 44 — and many are preventable. This translates to millions of dollars in costs straining the health care system, which is why The Safety Village said it is committed to investing in measures to prevent these injuries and deaths. 

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