Dufferin Community Foundation’s 2022 Booster Grants fund array of community needs.

Five local charities received cheques for $2,000 from the Dufferin Community Foundation to fund programs that have a high impact on people in Dufferin County. The Booster Grants program, now in its fifth year, provides an injection of funds into projects that have proven to be successful, or new projects that show best practices in the field.

Each Booster Grant is sponsored by a local business person who contributes the full amount of the grant. Thanks to the outpouring of generosity, Dufferin Community Foundation was able to offer twice as much funding over 2021.

“We had a record number of applications this year – three times more than last year. This says something about the needs in our community and the breadth of valuable programs helping people out,” said Michele Fisher, Executive Director of Dufferin Community Foundation. “Our Grants Review Team had a real challenge in making the final selections.”

Here are the programs that will be getting a boost:

Rotary Club of Shelburne – Shelburne Hamper Program
Sponsored by Jacelyn Alphonso and Monica Bond, Hometown Real Estate

Rotary Club of Shelburne

Booster Grant sponsors (l-r) Monica Bond and Jacelyn Alphonso from Hometown Real Estate hang $2,000 on the “giving tree” for the Shelburne Hamper Program. Photo by Doug Schaefer.

The Shelburne Hamper Program is using its $2,000 boost to purchase grocery gift cards for holiday hampers that will help more than 160 families, singles and seniors (close to 500 individuals). The long-standing program has been serving the community for more than 50 years. This year, the hampers will be stuffed with food, gift cards, mitts, hats, socks and toys. The program is open to anyone in need, no matter how they celebrate the season.

“Receiving this Booster Grant means we can make a significant and meaningful difference in families’ lives for the holiday season,” said Bobbi Ferguson, Co-President of the Rotary Club of Shelburne. “After some very difficult years and the ever-increasing cost of living, being able to say, ‘Don’t worry about food and gifts for your kids…we’ve got you covered,’ means we have done our job as a community and have really helped those in need.”

Scientists in School – Promoting Equitable Access to STEM Enrichment in Dufferin County
Sponsored by RLB LLP

Scientists in School

Hyland Heights Elementary School in Shelburne will be one of the schools receiving a curriculum “boost” from Scientists in School. Pictured back l-r: the school’s Child & Youth Counsellor Celine Cabral, Vice-Principal Jaime Wouters, Principal Sean Singh, and teachers Eric Hill and Melissa Davidson (far right). Front l-r: Melissa Vinden from RLB, Michele Fisher and Shirley Boxem from Dufferin Community Foundation, and Erin Westman from Scientists in School. Photo by Doug Schaefer.

Thanks to the Booster Grant, Scientists in School is initiating a new project in Dufferin County that will enrich student learning in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). They will provide 6 virtual STEM workshops to local schools, benefiting 150 young students. The workshops will provide essential learning skills such as critical thinking, analyzing information, creating solutions and evaluating outcomes. Teachers will be supported with a Resource Package of hands-on activities.

“This Booster Grant investment will help to deepen the impact for our mission to ignite scientific curiosity in young learners. Engaging, investigative classroom workshops in local elementary schools will help heighten STEM confidence and interest, and build bridges to bright futures,” stated Cindy Adams, Executive Director, Scientists in School.

The project is especially important as students have been affected by pandemic challenges over the last three years. With 50-70% of future jobs forecasted to be in STEM-related occupations, the workshops not only support the learning recovery of the students, but also their futures.

Am Braigh Farm/Parish of St. John, East Orangeville – Trust Yourself to Garden
Sponsored by Carters Professional Corporation

(l-r) Jamie Richards (Am Braigh Farm), Chris Cox and Rev. David Bryant (Parish of St. John, East Orangeville) receive a $2,000 Booster Grant from Michele Fisher, Jacqueline Demczur (Carters) and Shirley Boxem of Dufferin Community Foundation. Out of the picture, Audi Geadah. Photo by Doug Schaefer.

In the summer of 2022, Am Braigh Farm launched a new program to teach refugees how to grow their own food. Over the course of 14 weeks, participants in the Trust Yourself to Garden program took home 4-5 grocery bags of fresh food a week for 10 weeks and got a chance to practice their English. In partnership with the Parish of St. John, East Orangeville, the project matched refugees with local volunteers, further helping them acculturate to the area.

The Booster Grant will allow Am Braigh Farm to purchase equipment to accommodate more families for the summer of 2023. They will also host a series of evening events throughout the winter that will bring refugee families together and share their heritage.

“The goal of our program is to address the food insecurity faced by recent refugees as they grapple with learning English, finding housing and securing jobs,” said Jamie Richards, owner of Am Braigh Farm. “The food they grow is a huge supplement to them, as many work at minimum wage jobs.”

Dufferin Bruce Trail Club/Streams Community Hub – Conservation Awareness Project
Sponsored by Lara Gray, Edward Jones







Streams youth (l-r) Brody Ireton, Zephtan Barrocks, Tristan Barrocks, Emily Payne and Charlotte Payne will be part of the crew producing conservation videos for the Dufferin Hi-Land Bruce Trail Club. Sponsor Lara Gray from Edward Jones presents the cheque to Susan Bate and Tom Thayer from Club, while Shirley Boxem and Michele Fisher from Dufferin Community Foundation cheer them on. Photo by Doug Schaefer.

A unique collaboration between the Dufferin Hi-Lands Bruce Trail Club (DBTC) and Streams Community Hub will be giving youth an opportunity to gain video production and content creation skills along the Bruce Trail corridor.

The Conservation Awareness Project, fully funded by the Booster Grant, answers two important needs. The DBTC will get original content for its website and social channels that promotes conservation efforts. The youth from Streams Hub will develop their digital skills and receive an honorarium, helping them with their future educational and employment goals.

Said Susan Bate, President of the Dufferin Hi-Lands Bruce Trail Club, “This partnership provides positive, inclusive opportunities for youth to participate in the conservation of the Bruce Trail through video production and live streaming technologies. We are excited about this opportunity to work with the youth at Streams.”

Community Living Dufferin/Theatre Orangeville – Creative Partners on Stage: Being Heard
Sponsored by Lisa Leblanc, Lismar Financial

Creative Partners on Stage (CPOS) will use this year’s Booster Grant to purchase four body mics so that neurodiverse actors who have difficulty projecting their voices can be heard on the Opera House stage.









Pictured from l-r: Michele Fisher (Dufferin Community Foundation), sponsor Lisa Leblanc (Lismar Financial), Robert Bingham (Community Living Dufferin), Debbi Goss (Dufferin Community Foundation), Colleen Curran, David Nairn (Theatre Orangeville) and actor Jeff Horan ham it up on stage. Photo by Doug Schaefer.

Through this long-time partnership between Community Living Dufferin and Theatre Orangeville, neurodiverse actors gain the opportunity to showcase their talents through two one-act plays, working with professional actors, directors and choreographers. The body mics will ensure that actors who are without the ability to forcefully project their voices can still be heard at an equitable volume.

“One of the main objectives of Creative Partners on Stage is to provide neurodiverse actors with the same level of live theatrical experience as Theatre Orangeville’s professional actors – from the first day of rehearsal to the final bow on closing night. These body mics will allow our actors to have a bigger voice on stage,” said Robert Bingham, Executive Director, Community Living Dufferin.

Final year of the Booster Grant program

This is the final year that the Dufferin Community Foundation will run the Booster Grant program. It was created as a way to give much-needed funding to local charities while the Foundation was building its endowment funds in its early years. Beginning in 2023, the Foundation’s grants will be generated from the annual income on its permanently invested charitable funds.

“We are exceptionally grateful to our sponsors for making the Booster Grant program possible during our formative years,” said Gord Gallaugher, Chair of Dufferin Community Foundation. “We also thank all the charities that applied for a grant this year. To see the positive work that they are doing across the county is both humbling and inspiring.”