Dufferin Community Foundation raising funds to support local causes

By Brian Lockhart, Orangeville Citizen

‘Charity begins at home’ is an often used phrase to describe the good you can do in your own community when raising funds for a good cause.

The Dufferin Community Foundation is an organization dedicated to raising local money that will support local initiatives and causes.

The Foundation has a goal of raising $10 million over ten years to create a self-sustaining supply of funds to support good causes in the region. Once the goal is reached, it is hoped it will produce around $400,000 annually to be used support charitable actions.

The Foundation met at the Adamo Estate Winery last Sunday (Sept. 29) to give out three mini-grants of $1000 to local causes and provide information to the public about what the organization is all about.

The Theatre Orangeville Exceptional Players, the Orangeville Community Band, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dufferin and District were recipients of the mini-grants.

The idea of creating a local Foundation has been on the drawing board for several years.

“We are a community foundation – one of about 200 in Canada,” explained Dufferin Community Foundation vice-chair Mary Ann Lowry. “Most of our neighboring communities already have community foundations so we’re a little late to the party but we’re glad to be here.”

A community foundation acts as an administrator of funds and helps organize where funds should be distributed. For example, if a family would like to start a foundation but is unsure of how to continue, the community foundation will help them set it up and see that the funds are invested and used properly.

“Sometimes a family wants to start a foundation but they are unsure how to go about it,” Ms. Lowry explained. “They may feel it’s going to be expensive. What we do is tell them you can have your name on a fund, but we will manage it for you. By being able to do that with several different funds we can get a better return on investment. 

“Of course people can donate to us directly. But then we make sure that money is put away so we are only spending interest. There are many philanthropists who are happy to see that the money is well-used. The commitment we have to make is to make sure the money is stewarded well. We must ensure the charities that receive funds meet our standards. That includes things like having charitable number or having an organization that they partnered with – a municipality for example. 

“We’re also making sure it’s spent in Dufferin. We want to leave a legacy that goes with this – as in pay it forward – in some way that recipients are using it go beyond themselves. Maybe their families are stronger because of it and they’re an example to the community because of that, or that they themselves become involved as in volunteering. That’s really important to us.”

Families or individuals who donate can rely on the Foundation to administer the funds and at the same time request that funds they give be directed towards a certain cause. 

“We have several funds that the money will go into. One is a general fund that covers all kinds of projects and programs. Then there can be family funds where they say we only it to go to music programs in schools, for example, or it’s a scholarship program. We honour the pledge they made when they gave us the money.”

Currently there are seven members on the Foundation board.


Article By Brian Lockhart, Orangeville Citizen, October 3, 2019

Online Article: http://citizen.on.ca/?p=15974


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