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Green Fischer Family Trust donates $1 million to support mental health care across Canada 

The gift will fund the expansion of CMHA’s Recovery Colleges programming

For immediate release

(TORONTO, ON) – October 10, 2023 – In recognition of World Mental Health Day (October 10, 2023), the Green Fischer Family Trust announces a $1 million donation to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to support their national Recovery Colleges program. The generous gift comes at a crucial time to support people living with depression across Canada.

Recovery Colleges are low-barrier, peer-centred mental health and wellbeing learning programs for people with lived and living experience of depression, anxiety and/or substance use challenges. These programs run across Canada and are expanding to meet increasing demand nationwide.

“This country has been grappling with a pandemic in mental health long before COVID-19 arrived. Living with depression has long shaped – but not defined my life,” remarks Toronto-based photographer and philanthropist George Fischer. “I can’t think of anything more meaningful than to redeploy my family’s good fortune in support of fellow Canadians through community-based mental health care.”

George Fischer, his late wife Karen Green Fischer (1950-2021), and their sons Ryan and Sean Fischer, first became supporters of CMHA Toronto in 1999 when they established a named fund to provide for life necessities which some clients of CMHA were unable to afford or access via social assistance programs. The family shared a personal interest in helping others find and develop coping mechanisms to improve their depression, anxiety and mood.

When George’s mother, sister and wife passed away within a few months of one another during COVID, George began to take nature walks in the northeast end of Toronto to lift his spirits and cope with his grief. This intense period inspired him to publish a book of nature photography, Woods & Waters, but left him wanting to do more. How could he help others who were struggling with depression? The answer: CMHA’s Recovery Colleges.

“As stewards of this funding, we’re thrilled to know that the Green Fischer Family Trust will be our partners in serving thousands of Canadians living with depression across the country. Out of darkness, we’re bringing light through our Recovery Colleges programming,” says Margaret Eaton, National CEO, CMHA. “CMHA is grateful for the Green Fischer Family Trust and touched by their story and commitment to mental health,” continues Eaton.

The Green Fischer Family Trust’s gift will have a lasting impact on CMHA’s ability to deliver this recovery-focused and strengths-based program. The $1 million will be distributed across the CMHA network in the coming five years to support Recovery Colleges. To learn more about Recovery Colleges, click here.

To support the life-changing work of CMHA, email [email protected].

About the Canadian Mental Health Association 
Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health federation in Canada. Through a presence in more than 330 communities across every province and the Yukon. CMHA provides advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. For more information, please visit 


For media inquiries: 
Emma Higgins 
National Communications Officer
Canadian Mental Health Association 
289-943-7710 | [email protected]