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Luke Connell

Luke Connell

Title/Position: Executive Director

Company: SmartSAVER

Luke Connell is a successful businessman, nonprofit executive, and leader in the field of social innovation.

After graduating from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Luke returned to Toronto to work as a Program Coordinator with Right to Play, based in Uganda. In 2010, he took on the role of Community Outreach Worker for a 3-year pilot project with SmartSAVER, an initiative of the Omega Foundation. He trained and worked closely with hundreds of families, community organizations, and front-line workers to raise awareness of, and access to, no-cost RESPs and a free federal government education savings incentive (the Canada Learning Bond (CLB)). Luke’s passion to help families living on modest incomes to start education savings for their children helped to grow SmartSAVER’s network to over 70 partners nationally.

When SmartSAVER re-launched in 2014, Luke took on the role of Community Manager, focusing on relationship-building with community organizations across Canada. During this time, he was already working as co-owner and manager of an award-winning delicatessen and catering company in mid-town Toronto for more than 5 years.

In 2018, Luke became the Executive Director of the Omega Foundation and continued to push new boundaries, transforming the RESP and education savings landscape. He was instrumental in focusing SmartSAVER’s efforts on larger, more upstream digital pathways to reach the 2 million children who had yet to receive their CLB. Through continued perseverance and strategic relationship building with existing and new government, financial, and corporate partners, Luke helped SmartSAVER double the number of families opening no-cost RESPs and requesting their children’s CLBs. By mid-2019, the parents and guardians of over 30,000 children had started the process to open RESPs and request CLBs through SmartSAVER’s online application.

Luke continues to identify new and exciting opportunities to offer eligible Canadians access to the CLB and other income-tested benefits which will hopefully improve their and their children’s social mobility for years to come.