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Rick Mercer to celebrate 11-year legacy of Plan International Canada’s Spread the Net Student Challenge and showcase 2017/18 winners on Tuesday’s Rick Mercer Report

Top fundraising schools from Ontario and Nova Scotia to be featured in April 3 episode of the Rick Mercer Report

April 3, 2018 (TORONTO, ON) – Tonight on the Rick Mercer Report, Plan International Canada and Rick Mercer will celebrate the winners of the 11th annual Spread the Net Student Challenge – a friendly nationwide competition between schools to raise funds for bed nets in Africa.

Plan International Canada is proud to be a part of the iconic show as it marks the end of a 15-year-run. Spread the Net was co-founded in 2007 by Mercer, who is a dedicated champion of the Student Challenge, and will feature this year’s winning schools and their outstanding fundraising efforts on the April 3 episode.

The 2017/18 Spread the Net Student Challenge winners that will be recognized on the Rick Mercer Report are:

  • Stewarttown Middle School, Georgetown, Ont. (Top elementary school)
  • Holy Names Catholic High School, Windsor, Ont. (Top secondary school)
  • Dalhousie University – Golden Key Chapter, Halifax, NS (Top post-secondary school)
  • Kincardine District Secondary School, Kincardine, Ont. (Wild card school)
rick mercer laughs with a group of students with their hands raise in cheer

“It’s bittersweet to be celebrating the passion, creativity and commitment of young people from across the country as we wrap up of the show,” says Mercer. “The many students, educators and communities who have participated in the Spread the Net Student Challenge over the past 11 years have demonstrated that giving back truly has no borders. I’m so proud of this program and the impact that we’ve made on preventing the spread of malaria in the Global South.”

Fifty schools participated this year, raising funds for bed nets that will prevent malaria-infected mosquitoes from biting children and their families. Since 2007, Plan International Canada’s Spread the Net Student Challenge has garnered the support of 866 elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools across Canada, which have raised close to $2 million for the cause.

“We are honoured to have had this longstanding partnership with Rick and the Rick Mercer Report on our Spread the Net Student Challenge,” says Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO of Plan International Canada. “Rick is an incredible champion of this initiative, and the show has been an invaluable platform for us to raise awareness and galvanize young leaders and their communities around the issue of malaria. We want to thank and congratulate Rick and everyone involved with the Rick Mercer Report on 15 wonderful years informing and inspiring Canadians, and also congratulate and thank all of the students who participated in Spread the Net this year – I can’t wait to see it all come together on tonight’s show.”

Global efforts to end the malaria epidemic are making significant progress, but more than 400,000 people still die of malaria each year, the vast majority of which are children under the age of five.

Plan International Canada’s Spread the Net impact in numbers:

  • During the last 11 years, Spread the Net has helped protect the lives of more than 41.7 million people by delivering 19.1 million insecticide-treated bed nets to families in Africa
  • 866 elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools have participated in the Student Challenge across Canada
  • Schools have raised close to $2 million for the purchase and distribution of bed nets through Plan International Canada’s malaria prevention efforts

Other resources on malaria:

About Plan International and the Because I am a Girl initiative

Founded in 1937, Plan International is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan International strives for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Because I am a Girl is Plan International’s global movement to transform power relations so that girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive.

Visit and for more information.

About Spread the Net

Spread the Net is a Plan International Canada initiative designed to educate and inspire Canadians to help end preventable malaria deaths by raising funds and awareness to support the purchase and distribution of bed nets, along with training on their use, to children and their families in Africa. Spread the Net was founded in 2006 by Belinda Stronach, P.C., and Rick Mercer, and became an initiative of Plan International Canada in July 2013.

Visit for more information.

Media contact:

Amanda Panacci,  Plan International Canada | T: +1 416 920 1654 x422