News & Updates

Empowerment Squared launches the Ubuntu Athletic Centre in East Hamilton

Feb 16, 2023 | Homepage, News & Updates

Hamilton, ON – On Saturday, February 11, 2023, Empowerment Squared was excited to launch the Ubuntu Athletic Centre, a new multipurpose community recreation facility with a community open house event in East Hamilton. Funding to support the new facility and its programs includes a $441,800 grant from the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund – Capital stream, as well as a $149,000 Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). The Community Building Fund is administered by OTF.

The Community Building Fund grant helped address community need by upgrading, renovating and retrofitting the gymnatorium for multiple sports, community gatherings and events, creating a culturally relevant multipurpose recreational facility. OTF’s Resilient Communities Fund grant supported the organization’s recovery from impacts of COVID-19 by hiring staff, redesigning the organization’s fundraising strategy and purchasing equipment.

The Centre also received support from the Amabel Foundation.

During the event, the ELITE (Empowered Leaders in Training at Empowerment Squared) youth shared their vision for the Centre and speeches were given by government officials, partners and sponsors who have helped make the Centre a reality. Attendees learned more about the Centre, met the team behind it, and heard about exciting plans for the future.

Speakers included:

  • Sheref Sabawy, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga—Erin Mills
  • The Hon. Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas
  • Dan Panagakos, Ontario Trillium Foundation volunteer
  • Andrea Horwath, Mayor of Hamilton
  • Matthew Green, Member of Parliament for Hamilton Centre
  • Leo Nupolu Johnson, Executive Director, Empowerment Squared
  • Samantha McKibbin, Representative, Amabel Foundation

The 5,000 sq ft newly renovated Centre is located at Empowerment Squared (East) at 26 Arrowsmith Road in Hamilton, ON, Canada. It will offer sports and recreation programming including basketball, soccer, badminton, and volleyball, and also be used for other purposes such as arts programs, community gatherings, and events. The Centre builds on Empowerment Squared’s mission and success in building a world where everyone is empowered with the tools and opportunities to thrive and contribute to society.

The Centre is inspired by the concept of ubuntu, a Nguni Bantu (Zulu) term meaning ‘humanity’. Nelson Mandela described ubuntu as “the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others.” At Empowerment Squared, we focus on building a supportive, inclusive and collaborative community. We see the Ubuntu Athletic Centre as one of our town squares, our spaces, where people come together and holistically connect the themes of sports and recreation with education and learning.

Empowerment Squared thanks contractors and suppliers who helped to renovate the facility, including DPAI Architecture Inc., Train Evolve Recover, WestPoint Sports Flooring and Equipment, Apple Athletic Products, Forum Athletic Products, Hamilton Audio Visual, Juan of a Kind Painting, McCormack Timber Supply Co., Direct Electrical Services, Christopher’s Electric, and Carmazan Engineering.

Programming activities at the Ubuntu Athletic Centre will start in April 2023. Please keep an eye on Empowerment Squared’s website (, join the mailing list via the website, and follow our social media accounts for updates.


“Sports and recreation is a core pillar for Empowerment Squared, and we ensure that this programming is free and accessible to youth and families in our community. Our sports and recreation activities help our participants develop their teamwork and collaboration skills, improve their physical health, and act as a pathway to engaging in our education and learning programming. The Ubuntu Athletic Centre allows us to substantially expand this mandate and offers a desperately needed community facility in East Hamilton. The Centre embodies the spirit of Ubuntu – “I am because you are” – and transforms lives through the discipline of learning, sharing, and exchange of knowledge.”

Leo Nupolu Johnson, Executive Director, Empowerment Squared

“Our government is proud to partner with Empowerment Squared to invest in a visionary and welcoming gathering place for youth and families. The Ubuntu Athletic Centre will boost participation in physical activity and encourage a healthy culture for Hamilton’s communities.”

Neil Lumsden, MPP Hamilton East-Stoney Creek and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“We focus resources on youth in the community. We are primarily concerned about equitable access to not only formal education, but extracurricular activities which are formative to one’s development. The Foundation recognizes that there are currently limited facilities, resources, and opportunities for youth that disproportionately affect new Canadians due to economic barriers. We believe that Empowerment Squared holds many of the same beliefs and values to our foundation and are happy to partner with them to provide a space to help youth flourish in both their academics and extracurricular activities.”

The Amabel Foundation

Support Youth In Our Community To Access
Sports And Recreation

As we continue our unwavering commitment to transform lives of newcomer and marginalized youth and families through sports and recreation, we are deeply grateful for supporters and partners like you who come along side us on this transformational journey. Your ongoing support enables us to work together to amplify impact, building a better tomorrow for everyone. Though phase one of the Ubuntu Athletic Centre is complete, we need additional funds to fully operate programs. 

Please click here to donate.