What is a community foundation?

 In Letters, Opinion


Creemore Community Foundation. These three words have been tossed around a lot lately as our community grapples with the future of the TD Bank lands. But I think it may be time to take a deep breath and consider what those words actually mean. What is a community foundation? And how will this one benefit Creemore now and in the future?
Last year when Stuart Lazier and I learned that the TD Bank was willing to donate their Creemore property to the village, we decided to create the CCF in order to make the most of this generous offer. In doing so we immediately realized that although right now the TD land development is the central focus of the CCF, its mandate could be much broader and could be used to fund future projects for the ongoing benefit of the village.
A foundation is simply a charitable trust set up to receive and hold donations or gifts such as the TD lands. In turn, it can make grants or donations to other organizations or individuals. Crucially, a foundation has the ability to issue tax receipts to individuals making their donations to the Foundation tax deductible.
Community foundations like ours are common; there are about 170 in Canada including some very large ones in major cities. These foundations can also receive bequests in the wills of people who want to make a legacy gift to the community.
The process of creating a foundation is a lengthy one requiring us to explain the mission of the foundation, its structure and governance. The Canada Revenue Agency rules surrounding public foundations are also very strict; we are required to issue annual financial statements to the government and to donors. As well the Foundation will produce an annual report with audited financial statements that we will make widely available.
To get things rolling Stuart Lazier and I made initial donations to the CCF. That money has been used to pay the consultants who advised us and who organized and ran the two public meetings held last winter, as well as paying the costs of running those meetings. That was only the beginning. We estimate the design and construction costs of the proposed Creemore Village Green will be in the $700,000 range. As well we intend to create a pool of $1.2 million of capital within the Foundation. The money will be invested and the income used to pay ongoing programming and maintenance expenses.
Where will all this money come from? Our plan is to conduct a major fundraising effort later this year with a goal of raising $2 million. We have had discussions with potential donors and we hope there will be broad financial support from within the community. Right now the fundraising is being undertaken by CCF board of directors Stuart Lazier, Brent Preston and myself. Later on we may add other members to the board.
We believe that after the TD lands project is completed the Creemore Community Foundation will continue to provide for the civic improvement of our village for years to come. We have already heard innovative ideas for future projects and we are committed to preserving and enhancing this village we all love so much.
Tony Arrell,

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