Alberta Blue Cross® awards $50,000 Built Together grant to Alexander First Nation

Alexander First Nation Chief George Arcand.

(ANNews) – As part of its 2023 Built Together program, Alberta Blue Cross recently awarded a $50,000 grant to support the build of an outdoor ice rink for Alexander First Nation. The ice rink is 1 of 5 projects to be awarded this grant after being selected from a pool of 102 applicants across the province.

Alexander First Nation—Kipohtakaw—located on Treaty 6 territory and led by Chief George Arcand, is part of the Cree linguistic group with a population of 2,263 official members. As a remote, rural community, their youth and families have minimal opportunities to engage in active outdoor recreation. This has led to decreased wellbeing among community members. To help their members lead healthy lives and thrive on their traditional lands, Alexander First Nation has set out to create accessible and sustainable active living opportunities.

“We are thrilled to play a part in the construction of an outdoor ice rink on Alexander First Nation’s traditional lands,” says Brian Geislinger, senior vice-president of Corporate Relations and Community Engagement at Alberta Blue Cross. “This rink will promote physical activity and provide opportunities for social connection for all their community members.”

The other recipients of the 2023 Built Together grant program are Kensington School in Edmonton (inclusive playground); St. Stephen School in Calgary (accessible playground); Good Shepherd School in Peace River (playground); and Aurora Middle School (basketball court).

Each year, the Built Together program awards grants for healthy living infrastructure projects across Alberta in 1 of each of the following areas: Edmonton, Calgary, a secondary city, a rural community and an Indigenous community. These infrastructure projects must be open to the public and free to access. From playgrounds, multi-use courts and rinks to outdoor gyms, parks and walking trails, the grant program has provided $2.4 million in funding to support nearly 50 projects across the province over the past 10 years. Funding comes from the Alberta Blue Cross community foundation.

The 2024 Built Together grant program will open in the spring. More information is available on the Alberta Blue Cross community website.

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