Cohen Centre for Social Enterprise

Creating community for mental health.

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This month marks a decade since the Vancouver-based charitable foundation Face of Today first launched. In 2009, the charity’s founder Kasondra Cohen, leveraged her family’s philanthropic background to advocate for a broader dialogue on mental health, specifically to reduce the stigma attached to youth suffering from mental illness.

Since then, Face of Today has raised $1-million for youth-based health and wellness charities across the province. And now, Cohen has partnered with WE Charity, and its founder Craig Kielburger, to launch the Cohen Centre for Social Enterprise.

A mental health resource centre located in the historic Dominion Building, the Cohen Centre held a ribbon cutting and fundraising gala on Saturday. The red carpet event was hosted by Kielburger and featured a performance by singer Tyler Shaw.

Donations raised at the gala will fund the centre’s programs primarily aimed at vulnerable youth, including health and wellness classes (yoga, meditation, circuit training), recording studio sessions (for both DJing and podcasting), painting and illustration classes—and even beauty nights. (Cohen installed a salon-grade basin in one of the Centre’s gender-neutral washrooms.)

2019 is a big year for the Cohen family. Kasondra, the 32-year-old Face of Today president, is the daughter of philanthropist Jacqui Cohen who heads Army & Navy Stores Inc. Vancouver’s West Hastings Street department store turns 100 this year. Jacqui also runs her own charity, Face The World.

The younger Cohen hopes her family’s charitable record can inspire the next generation who come through her centre. “I want to bring in kids to talk about philanthropy and impact,” she tells me. “It doesn’t matter where you come from because we all have something to contribute. I think we can offer a lot here.”

“My goal is to build a community.”


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May 13, 2019