The Cowan Foundation reinvests to help more young children learn to read

Pictured above from left to right: Machelle Denison, Executive Director, Strong Start;  Ruth Mills, Strong Start Program Coordinator for Brant, Brant, Haldimand;  Bob Herron, Brantford Branch Manager, Cowan Insurance Group.  Pictured below are: Kaitlyn and Alannah, Centennial-Grand Woodlands School; Nevaeh Moore,Bellview School; Ryan Quelch, North Ward School.

On Friday, February 5th The Cowan Foundation presented Strong Start to Reading with a cheque for $15,000 at the Brantford Blast game. The Civic Centre was super-charged with children and families celebrating Tim Hortons’ night, Tyler Pelton’s Jersey ceremony, a well-earned Brantford Blast win and this generous gift to Strong Start.

This donation will be used to support expansion of Strong Start’s Letters, Sounds and WordsTM program in Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk. Cowan’s relationship with Strong Start began in Brantford in 2010 when they launched a $45,000 commitment spanning three years.  This early contribution helped provide the financial stability needed for Strong Start to take hold in our community. 

“By contributing to this program we are supporting an important initiative that will help make a positive difference in the lives of children in the communities of Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk,” said Bob Herron, Brantford Branch Manager, Cowan Insurance Group. “ To see first-hand the joy that the Strong Start program has brought to young children, as well as the genuine sense of gratitude the parents have towards such a cause, gives everyone affiliated with The Cowan Foundation a great deal of pride.”

This year Strong Start is expanding to include 78 schools within the Grand Erie District School Board, The Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board, New Credit, Six Nations, The Brantford Christian School and W. Ross MacDonald School. With the expansion, more young children will acquire essential early literacy skills, at the first sign of them lagging behind.

Strong Start is a charitable community organization that works with our local school boards and schools to pair trained volunteers with children aged 5-7 and English language learners up to age 10, who need a reading “boost." Working one on one with children, using fun and engaging games and activities designed to improve reading skills, Strong Start volunteers really help make a difference. Strong Start to ReadingTM is funded through donations from businesses, charitable foundations, local service clubs and individuals. Growth and sustainability of Strong Start in our region is dependent on the support of our community, so it is with great gratitude that Strong Start is receiving this generous donation from The Cowan Foundation. For information about Strong Start and how to get involved, please visit

The Cowan Foundation was started in 1995 in honour of Frank Cowan, the founder of Frank Cowan Company and Cowan Insurance Group. The Foundation is sustained by the ongoing success of the Princeton Holdings group of companies including Cowan Insurance Group (and its subsidiaries: The Williamson Group, Millennium CreditRisk Management, Wentworth Financial Services and Cowan Financial Solutions), Frank Cowan Company, The Guarantee Company of North America, Cowan Asset Management and Fountain Street Finance. Together they provide insurance and risk management products and services for individuals, businesses, organizations and public entities as well as assist employers with their group benefits, retirement and health and disability management plans. The goal of The Cowan Foundation is to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians and the broader well-being of our communities.