The Literacy Champions Network emerged as a result of the strong relationships and shared passion among the twelve literacy organizations that were previously affiliated with The Peter Gzowski Foundation for Literacy (PGFL). The foundation itself was established in 2002 following the death of Peter Gzowski, the renowned host of CBC Radio’s Morningside, who had been deeply committed to raising funds and awareness for literacy in Canada.
Peter Gzowski’s dedication to literacy began in the late 1980s when he set a goal to raise $1 million for literacy initiatives across the country. This goal led to the creation of the Peter Gzowski Invitational Golf Tournaments for Literacy in 1986. These tournaments became a platform for raising funds and promoting literacy while also bringing together literacy representatives from different regions to exchange best practices and expertise at an annual training forum.
Over the next four decades, the Peter Gzowski Invitational (PGI) Golf Tournaments for Literacy spread across every province and territory in Canada. The collective efforts of these tournaments raised more than $13 million by 2018, contributing significantly to literacy programs and initiatives nationwide.
As time went on, the affiliated partners involved in the PGI Golf Tournaments for Literacy expanded their fundraising efforts beyond golf tournaments. They diversified their activities to include various events and campaigns tailored to their local communities, all with the goal of supporting literacy programming and raising awareness.
In 2022, the Peter Gzowski Foundation for Literacy made the decision to transition from supporting fundraising events to providing grants to literacy organizations. As a result, the foundation concluded its formal relationship with the affiliated partners. However, the relationships created over the years among the provincial and territorial literacy organizations remained strong and valuable.
Recognizing the enduring connections and collaborative spirit forged through the support of the PGFL foundation and the invaluable work it accomplished, in 2023, literacy organizations from across the country came together as the Literacy Champions Network. They realized the power of their collective efforts and the potential to continue supporting literacy programming within their respective communities. With a shared commitment to improving literacy rates and advocating for increased literacy supports, the Literacy Champions collaborate on initiatives, share resources, and leverage their collective expertise to make a lasting impact in promoting literacy from coast to coast to coast.
Today, the Literacy Champions Network stands as a united force, working diligently to address the literacy challenges faced by their communities. They honour the legacy of Peter Gzowski and the accomplishments of the PGI Golf Tournaments for Literacy while adapting to new approaches and strategies to advance their common goal of fostering literacy skills and opportunities for all Canadians.