Dufferin Community Foundation launches
For some guests, the launch of the Dufferin Community Foundation was the realization of a 20-year dream. For everyone, it was an afternoon of storytelling and inspiration.
About 100 dignitaries, founders, corporate circle members, philanthropists and local charities shared the excitement of Dufferin joining the ranks of close to 200 Canadian communities who use the “power of the many” through charitable community foundations to enrich the lives of their current and future citizens.
Event sponsors, Paul and Joan Waechter, joined the board of directors to greet guests and talk about the goals of the foundation, while enjoying the autumn beauty and hospitality of the Adamo Estate Winery in Hockley Valley.
“The Community Foundation movement is one of the most dynamic vehicles for philanthropy that exists in Canada today,” said Tim MacDonald, a founding board member and the honorary chair of the Stratford Perth Community Foundation. “They can connect people who care with projects that matter in all of our communities.”
MacDonald – an accomplished business executive and 2018 Order of Canada recipient for his leadership in business and community initiatives in southwestern Ontario, which have contributed to the economic and social vitality of the region – shared valuable stories from the early days of the Stratford Perth Community Foundation’s journey.
“If you have money, you need to know us; if you need money, you need to know us,” MacDonald is known to say.
From its modest beginnings in 2004, the Stratford Perth Community Foundation has built endowment funds totalling $4.4 million and has granted close to $800,000 to local charities.
The lessons learned included the need for conversations with community and business leaders, the value of stories about real lives touched by philanthropy and the power of networking with neighbouring communities. And, above all, the patience to build endowment funds so that grants can continue in perpetuity. In offering to share any advice Dufferin might need, MacDonald put the launch in perspective: “You’re already doing some of the things that worked for us. Congratulations to Dufferin!”
Gord Gallaugher, chair of the Dufferin Community Foundation Board, shared his own story of getting involved.
“Like most people, especially in my younger years, I did not really think much about the charitable sector, what they did, or how they were funded,” he said. “After I became involved on a municipal council in Dufferin, I started to get my eyes opened to the valuable work that was done in our community by local charities, and how they struggled to find funding to keep going every year. I was intrigued by what I had heard about community foundations.”
A few years ago, the timing was right to take on the challenge of creating a source of long-term funding for charities offering support to Dufferin residents. Headwaters Communities in Action (HCIA), a charitable organization working locally with the sector to promote collaboration and managing specific projects, helped support the work of a steering committee.
The committee did its research homework, raised some preliminary funds for operating expenses, and put the pieces in place for incorporation and a formal Board structure. The board of directors, formalized in February 2018, is comprised of Gallaugher; MaryAnn Lowry (vice chair), Steve Doney (treasurer), Joan Waechter and Laura Ryan. Shirley Boxem is the board secretary. They have all taken on speaking, fundraising, writing, financial, administrative and organizational tasks as unpaid volunteers to keep operating expenses in check. The board recently launched www.dufferincommunityfoundation.ca to provide detailed information on the foundation and how to support it.
A highlight of the launch was the presentation of the foundation’s first ´mini-grants´ to Dufferin-based charitable projects that address needs in human services, healthy living, economic development and education. In total, these projects span all age groups. What distinguished them, according to the grant convenor, MaryAnn Lowry, were, “the legacy factors in building skills or a pay-forward mindset, best practices in project management, and the leverage from volunteers and partner collaborations.”
The three winning applicants, from the fifteen worthy charities who responded, told their stories and noted the impact that an extra $1,000 will make on their project budgets.
On behalf of the Town of Orangeville, Shannon and Valerie McGrady representing Bravery Park received a cheque from Jacqueline Demczur, a partner at Carters Professional Corporation in its Orangeville office. Carters is one of the foundation’s Corporate Circle members.
Maureen Riedler, Executive Director of Hospice Dufferin, and Helen Trilesky, a client, received their grant for the Volunteer Visiting Program from Cheryl Greenwood and Amie Zukowski on behalf of Greenwood Aggregates, the foundation’s first Corporate Circle member.
Jim Preyde, President of the Dufferin Hi-Lands Bruce Trail Club, a member club of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, received a grant for the Conservancy’s local School Outreach Program from Paul and Joan Waechter.