Marissa and Moez Kassam Pledge To Support Students Through Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS) Program
Despite living in one of the world’s healthier economies, many Canadian children still struggle to access resources needed for them to learn, grow, and prosper.
With the onset of the pandemic, many researchers have gone down the path of analyzing the adapting education system and its effect on students. Here are some findings from a few of these studies:
- Three in ten Canadian families lacked access to online classes during the pandemic, and the same ratio of Canadian children (30 per cent) didn’t have a home computer to complete school assignments, according to a 2021 study from Ryerson’s Diversity Institute.
- Child hunger has spiked in Canada in recent years, with as many as 400,000 children showing up to food banks each month, GlobalNews.ca reported last year. That has led the government to start considering its first-ever national school food policy.
- In general, many Canadian schools are now chronically underfunded, The Conversation reported in 2020.
To address some of these issues — at least locally — the Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS) created the School Opportunity Fund, which provides grants for schools aiming to improve the opportunities and resources available to their students.
And the Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation has pledged to help the program do just that.
“We understand the needs of the Toronto community, because we have lived their experiences and shared these dreams,” says Moez Kassam. “We are deeply invested in their success.”
Although The Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation supports a variety of initiatives to improve the lives of immigrants, artists and Toronto residents — at-risk children have always been a particular focus of the nonprofit.
That’s why the TFSS’ School Opportunity Fund is so important.
Established in 2022, the School Opportunity Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 for special projects that enhance learning for students in Toronto schools. The Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation supports the program through the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, an independent, charitable organization dedicated to aiding students in the Toronto school district and removing barriers to their education.
Schools rely on their communities for support — including communities in Canada. Unfortunately, it’s often the schools with the biggest needs that struggle to find sufficient funding.
In those areas, the School Opportunity Fund is a crucial lifeline. By providing food, medical care, emergency funds and after-school programs for children in need, students are given more of the resources they need to succeed in school — and in life.
Beyond their regular classroom learning, students thrive by participating in everything from sports, clubs, and arts, to nutrition programs,” the Toronto Foundation for Student Success explains on their website. “However, some communities are less able to raise funds than others, yet these are the ones that need support the most: this is what the School Opportunity Fund is for.”
Examples of grant requests fulfilled by the program include computers and tablets, library resources, as well as equipment like refrigerators and freezers. Sometimes, a request does not need to be complex, but just for funding to provide hot meals for their students, which help promote a healthy diet.
The opportunity to make this kind of transformational difference in the lives of real people is the reason the Kassams created their foundation. It’s one of the five pillars of their foundation’s overall mission. Those areas of focus include food and shelter, healthcare and research, immigration, arts and culture — and, in this case, youth development and engagement.
“Every child has potential, but as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise them and to give them the opportunity to succeed,” Moez Kassam said. “With the School Opportunity Fund, Marissa and I hope to make a small difference in the lives of Toronto children.”
You can donate directly to the Toronto Foundation for Student Success here.