Business Leader Brian Hesje donates $1-Million to the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program to empower the next generation of accessibility and inclusivity champions

ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia, March 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Rick Hansen Foundation announced a $1-Million donation from prominent Alberta business leader Brian Hesje today. Announced at an Accessibility Certified Gold celebration at Rick Hansen Secondary School in Abbotsford, BC, the donation will go towards the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program (RHFSP) to enable improved accessibility and inclusion in schools across Canada.

“We are extremely grateful for Brian’s gift. Young people are the pioneers of the future. With the guidance and support of educators and mentors and our school program resources, they will lead the change needed to improve accessibility and inclusion in our schools and communities,” said Rick Hansen, Founder of RHF. “Brian has been a long-standing partner on our journey over these many years. We are thrilled he has joined us to mobilize thousands of youth in every province and territory to identify and remove barriers, ensuring more schools will achieve an accessibility gold certification.”

The RHF School Program provides educators and students with a comprehensive set of free, bilingual resources designed to increase disability awareness, accessibility, and inclusion. The program aims to raise awareness and change attitudes about accessibility and inclusion, and empower young people to take action on issues that matter to them. Educators also have the opportunity to book presentations from over 140 Ambassadors with disabilities across the country to put a face to disability and inspire leadership.

Feedback from the Program, which has been running for over 12 years, has been overwhelmingly positive with students and educators seeing a noticeable improvement in student attitudes towards, and perceptions of, people with disabilities, and results in student initiatives to improve classrooms, schools, and communities.

“I’m honoured to be able to foster leadership in youth across our country and ensure our schools are accessible and inclusive for students and people of all abilities,” said Hesje. “The Rick Hansen Foundation has a proven ability to lead this change, and I’m proud to be a part of this important movement.”

Brian Hesje's storied career includes inspiring young students as a former history teacher; over 30 years in various roles with Fountain Tire, where he led the company's substantial growth and expansion in Canada as Chair and CEO; and an extensive record of board service in both the private and public sectors, including serving on the Board of the Rick Hansen Foundation for over five years.

For more on the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program, please visit

For more on the RHF Accessibility Certification program, please visit

About the Rick Hansen Foundation
The Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) was established in 1988, following the completion of Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour. For nearly 30 years, RHF has worked to raise awareness, change attitudes, and remove barriers for people with disabilities. Visit to learn more.

Media Contact:
Dawn Tse, Publicist
Rick Hansen Foundation
D: 778-296-1541
M: 778-229-7532