Anyone who has been around the game of rugby will tell you that it has a high level of respect and community involvement. On and off the field players show each other respect and encouragement, and this support is carried on long after the final whistle. Rugby Canada’s motto that unites players from St. John’s to Victoria is ‘Together and Strong’ and the Canadian Rugby Foundation’s support is benefiting players across the nation.
The Canadian Rugby Foundation (CRF) was started in 2002 by a group of passionate rugby supporters who saw the need to establish a foundation for the long-term financial growth of Rugby in Canada. Since then the CRF has supported Canada’s national teams, women’s teams, development teams and promoted club rugby across the country. The Foundation is a one man operation based out of Victoria B.C., which collects sponsorship from people who are passionate about rugby and looking to give back to the game in Canada.
The CRF is the main supporter of Canada’s U-20 men’s development team and is directly linked to the success they’ve been having recently. Canada’s success in the Under-20 program has been evident at world championships and through the team’s development to Canada’s senior men’s programs. In the last 2 years, Canada’s Under-20 team has produced eight players who are nationally capped, six players capped for Canada 7’s, six national carded athletes and eighteen players who played in last year’s America’s Rugby Championship.
Connor Braid, who plays for the James Bay Athletic Association, has been a member of Canada’s U-20 team for the last two years, and is currently a member of Canada’s elite carded athletes. Having represented Canada in Japan last year, Braid understands the value of having the Canadian Rugby Foundation’s support of the U-20 team.
“I’ve really noticed over the last two years the direct benefits of having the (Canadian) Rugby Foundation’s support.” says Braid. “We want the best players from across the country to represent Canada internationally and it’s great for us and our parents to be financially secure.”
In the last year, over $150,000 has been raised for Canada’s U-20 men’s team and they are the only development side that is not under the ‘Pay to Play’ scenario. Head coach Tim Murdy is thankful for the foundation’s support and can directly see how it benefits his players.
“For the past number of years, the Canadian Rugby Foundation has been very supportive of what we have been doing and our players and their families are very thankful of that.” says Murdy. “We look forward to that continued support and assistance and a lot of the things we will accomplish in the future will be in large part due to the Canadian Rugby Foundation.”
As of March 2010, the CRF is currently sitting at over one million dollars in endowed funds, which is money that has been invested, and the Foundation lets that money build while spending the interest. Fifteen years down the road from now, the Foundation would like to have banked over 20 million dollars which from there can continue to support men’s and women’s programs and get more boys and girls playing across the country.
If you are interested in supporting Canadian rugby or donating to the Canadian Rugby Foundation, go to their website at www.canadianrugbyfoundation.com for more information. The CRF is looking for people who have played rugby and are passionate about giving back to the rugby community to make a donation that will secure a future for Rugby in Canada. Each donor will be given an immediate tax receipt and some form of Canadian rugby memorabilia such as signed jerseys or golf shirts.