Canadian farmers continue to support amateur female athletes and help them achieve their goals

News Release Ottawa

Through Fuelling Women Champions, Dairy Farmers of Canada announce 30 recipients for the expanded Champions Fund

Today, Fuelling Women Champions announced the winners of the Champions Fund, an initiative by Canada’s dairy farmers, which aims to break down financial barriers for amateur female athletes as they work at achieving their goals in sport. Expanded for its second yearthe Fund is distributing 30 grants of $5,000 totaling $150,000 to help even more young female athletes pursue their sports dreams. This is in comparison to the $100,000 grant from 2016, distributed to 20 female athletes with incredible stories.

The Champions Fund was launched in 2016 and saw an impressive 2,537 applications from female athletes across Canada, who submitted stories detailing their love of sport and their need of financial assistance to achieve their goals—all within the context of addressing the inequalities Canadian female athletes face versus their male counterparts. Many applications told the stories of amazing athletes struggling to make their sports dreams a reality, including their need for the basics: equipment, tournament fees, and access to training facilities.

“Canadian dairy farmers are so very proud to be able to support our female amateur athletes again this year through the Champions Fund,” said DFC’s President, Pierre Lampron. “Hearing their incredible stories has been truly inspirational. I want to extend my best wishes to these athletes as they pursue their goals, and thank all of those who applied.”

In its second year, the Champions Fund received more than 3,097 applications for grants from Canadian women across the nation. Grant recipients will use the grants for the betterment of themselves, their fellow teammates or communities as it pertains to sports. Recipients include:

  • Track and field star, Larissa Brown from Ottawa, ON, who lost her vision in grade seven and who has been using sport as a means for hope. She currently holds five Canadian records and with the Fund, she will be able to cover her training costs to continue her path to success and inspire others to follow in her footsteps.
  • Dragon boating team, Abreast in a Boat from Vancouver, BC, are all breast cancer survivors paddling to raise awareness for breast cancer and to demonstrate that survivors can still lead full, active lives. The Champions Fund will help the team offset the cost of regatta registration and equipment, so they can continue to do what they love and include other survivors on the team, to help with the emotional and physical healing that is needed after treatment.
  • Sami Jo Small opened up a hockey school (Sami Jo Small Female Hockey School) in Winnipeg, MB where she invites any female athlete from a First Nation to attend the camp free of charge. The Fund will allow her to continue to support First Nation female athletes by offering them the ability to participate in sport, teaching them how to interact with others and learning about the principle of inclusion.

2017 Champions Fund Recipients

Name Sport Location
Abreast in a Boat Dragon Boating Vancouver, BC
Amanda Timm Sit Skiing Canmore, AB
Bethany Johnson Wheelchair Basketball Winnipeg, MB
Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Field Hockey Vancouver, BC
Carly McDonald Hockey Forestburg, AB
Cindy Ouelette Wheelchair Basketball Quebec City, QC
Colleen Lynch Speed Skating Dundas, ON
Debora Barros Swimming Toronto, ON
Eagle Point Judo Club Judo Stephenville Crossing, NL
Emma Bedard Cycling Westmount, QC
Equal Play Girls’ World Cup Soccer Leadership Pgm Soccer Vancouver, BC
Fab Girls 5 KM Challenge Programs Running Hamilton, ON
The London Sharks Volleyball Club Volleyball London, ON
Go Time! Multi-Sport Vancouver, BC
Hijabi Ballers Multi-sport Toronto, ON
Jennifer Barnes Van Elk Multi-sport Cobble Hill, BC
Kahnawake Survival School Wrestling Wrestling Kahnawake, QC
Kelsie Cygan, Team Warburg, Warburg Curling Club Curling Warburg, AB
Kugluktuk Grizzlies U13 Soccer Team Soccer Kugluktuk, NT
Larissa Brown, Ottawa Lions T-12 Para Track & Field Track and Field Ottawa, ON
Lucy Black Rowing Fredericton, NB
Melanie Squire Rugby Scotland, ON
Michaela Cormier Rugby Calgary, AB
Nikkita Holder Track and Field Pickering, ON
Olivia Oliver Figure Skating Barrie, ON
Sage Matthews, Kimberly Dynamiters Hockey Academy Hockey Meadow Creek, BC
Sami Jo Small Female Hockey School Hockey Winnipeg, MB
Unama’Ki Snowboarders Snowboarding Cape Breton, NS
Women’s Sledge Hockey of Canada Sledge Hockey Edmonton, AB
The W.R.E.N.C.H Biking Winnipeg, MB


According to a 2016 study commissioned by Canada’s dairy farmers, only 59 per cent of girls aged 3-17 and 16 per cent of adult women in Canada participate in sport. The Champions Fund, and the overarching initiative, Fuelling Women Champions, aims to inspire girls and women, regardless of age or ability, in local communities across Canada to realize the universal benefits of sport.

The top 78 applicants were selected based on a scorecard and the merits of their applications. Then, the Champions Fund Committee, a board of 10 individuals comprised of Fuelling Women Championsstakeholders, ambassadors and partners, have selected the 30 final grant recipients, who are being announced today.

For more information or to get involved in the initiative, visit Follow and join the movement online to #ChampionHer.

About Dairy Farmers of Canada

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canada’s farmers living on over 10,950 dairy farms. DFC strives to create stable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry, today and in the future. It works to maintain policies that foster the viability of Canadian dairy farmers and promote dairy products and their health benefits.

Fuelling Women Champions is a national, multi-year initiative spearheaded by Canada’s dairy farmers, which is dedicated to the advancement of women in sport. Canada’s dairy farmers are personally committing their time, energy and resources to this cause, and have partnered with several thought-leaders, celebrated athletes, and sports organizations.

Media Contact

Ashlee Smith
Dairy Farmers of Canada

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