Left To Right, Deborah Daligadu, Director of DeRo Foundation, Mitzie Hunter, MPP Scarborough-Guildwood, Mayor John Tory, Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo, Dwayne De Rosario, Founder of the DeRo Foundation, Councillor Paul Ainslie, Chair Board of Management Toronto Zoo and children from the DeRo Organization, Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo

TORONTO, ON, Saturday, August 15, 2020: Your Toronto Zoo and the DeRo Foundation are proud to announce an exciting new three-year partnership rooted within the goals of connecting with local youth to broaden perspectives and working together to improve our community. Announced as part of your Toronto Zoo’s 46th Anniversary virtual celebrations, this memorandum of understanding establishes similar goals the DeRo Foundation and the Toronto Zoo wish to work cooperatively and collaborate on including:

  • Provide Volunteer opportunities at the Toronto Zoo to DeRo program participants
  • Support children participating in DeRo after school programs and connecting them to the challenges faced by the natural world
  • Build community awareness, interest, capacity and skills to ensure the Zoo staff of the future evolves to reflect our community

The DeRo Foundation was established in 2014 by one of the most powerful ambassadors in North American Soccer history, Dwayne De Rosario. The mission of the Foundation is to support community initiatives in North America and the Caribbean that use soccer as a platform to help youth in high priority neighborhoods develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed. The DeRo Foundation After School Program provides hands on training and a targeted curriculum to help youth develop their skills on and off the field.  In addition, the program offers opportunity for youth to learn and develop coaching skills through volunteering.  Other key learnings include the importance of nutrition and hydration, leadership, teamwork, education, and financial literacy.  Participants receive mentorship from leaders in the sports industry as well as other community leaders.

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with the Toronto Zoo and unifying our initiatives to create a greater impact throughout our communities,” says Dwayne De Rosario, Founder, DeRo Foundation. “The Zoo has always been a special place for families and I am proud to say it is rooted in Scarborough. There is a special union that children have with animals and sport, such environment creates a safe space for our youth that in turn can create opportunities for learning, growth and development; the key principals that the DeRo Foundation After School Programs thrives to achieve. Through our collaborative efforts we are in a unique position and have a big responsibility to create multiple streams of growth, creating a safer and more productive environment within our communities.”

“My perspective on helping wildlife and wild spaces is simple – conservation is a team sport – and we need more players,” says Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo. “Your Toronto Zoo’s new partnership with the DeRo Foundation is the epitome of positioning conservation as a team sport and this is an exciting opportunity to for us to grow our efforts to improve our community. From our perspective, the implementation of this partnership is a fine example of community collaborations in action to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction.”

“This partnership between the DeRo Foundation and the Toronto Zoo will provide opportunities for youth that will enrich their lives and allow them to create new experiences,” says Mayor John Tory. “By giving young people this chance to engage with the Toronto Zoo, we can teach them about conservation, animals, wildlife and our zoo operations. Investing in our youth now, will help us create leaders for the future.”


Toronto Zoo Media Contact Information:

Amanda Chambers
Supervisor of Strategic Communications
[email protected]

DeRo Foundation Media Contact:

Deborah Daligadu
[email protected]
(905) 922-2530