To mark the beginning of National Volunteer Week, The Co-operators expressed its gratitude to the thousands of Canadians whose contributions to voluntary and non-profit organizations help build stronger, more inclusive communities across the country.

Last year, the Guelph, Ont.-based financial co-operative donated more than $1,9 million to charities and non-profits, and its staff members, using paid days off to volunteer, spent a total of 12,000 hours last year supporting organizations they care deeply about.

“As a co-operative organization with a presence in hundreds of communities across the country, we are grateful for the huge difference these organizations make in so many people’s lives,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators, in a release.

The Co-operators supports of a number of programs across the country, including being the national sponsor of the Block Parent Program. Canada’s largest safety network provides children, adults and seniors with access to safety education and community assistance.

“This has been the most incredible relationship we have ever had with a corporate sponsor. I can’t say enough positive things. The Co-operators was there when we didn’t even know we needed them the most, I can’t even put a dollar figure on it as it goes beyond money,” said Linda Patterson, president of the Block Parent Program.

According to Imagine Canada, the charity and voluntary non-profit sector across Canada has more than 160,000 organizations, with $7.8 million in donations, and involving 12.5 million volunteers donating over 2 billion hours annually.