Foundation grants over $1 million and honours local heroes at Community Vitality Celebration

Nov. 11, 2016

On Thursday, November 10th, London Community Foundation hosted its fourth annual Community Vitality Celebration. The Foundation unveiled over $1 million of grants and honoured local community leaders for their dedication to the community.

Funding high impact, innovative, and collaborative initiatives that will create systemic change in London and Middlesex region, London Community Foundation is changing the game. The highlight of the program was the announcement of the Foundation’s Community Vitality grants.

London Community Foundation’s Community Vitality grant program funds high-impact, innovative and collaborative initiatives that will create systemic change in London and Middlesex region. Funded by the Foundation’s Smart & Caring Community Fund, the Community Vitality grant program strives to build a strong and vibrant community by investing in initiatives that will move the needle on London’s most pressing issues identified in the Foundation’s Vital Signs report. Each year dozens of charitable organizations apply for funding. Proposals that demonstrate innovative, strategic, evidence based ideas are selected by the Foundation’s grants committee and chosen based on their evaluated potential to tackle a pressing community need.

This year, four groups received Community Vitality grants:

  • Family Service Thames Valley- Transforming the System Response to Mental Health Through Cross-Sector Collaboration ($377,070 over 2 years)
  • Pathways Skill Development & Placement Centre- The London Community Woodshop ($190,000 over 2 years)
  • VHA Home HealthCare- London/Middlesex Country Hoarding Support Services Network ($186,000 over 2 years)
  • Boys and Girls Club of London- Youth City Project ($85,200 over 1 year)

“These groups are really taking the lead in our community by being innovators in social change,” says Martha Powell, President & CEO, London Community Foundation. “Tacking issues such as homelessness, mental health, belonging, poverty, and skills training, these projects are addressing some of our community’s most critical needs in ways that have never been done before.”

The Foundation was also able to provide grants to the following projects through several of its Field of Interest Funds:

  • Carolinian Canada Coalition, Gardens for Climate-Ready Landscapes | Beryl Ivey Endowment for the Environment Fund | $50,000
  • Start2Finish Canada, Running & Reading Club Program- London Expansion | TD Canada Trust Merv Lahn Community Development Fund,  Ontario Endowment for Children and Youth in Recreation Fund, 2001 London Alliance Canada Summer Games Fund | $40,000
  • ChildCan, Novel Therapeutics Program | Isabel Hodgkinson Fund | $5,000
  • Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, Personalized Brain Cancer Treatment |Isabel Hodgkinson Fund | $37,000

Additionally, five individuals were awarded the Vital People Award. This award provides professional development grants to employees working in the nonprofit sector. This year’s recipients are:

  • Brittany Kinchen, Wish Coordinator Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario
  • Carolyn Underwood, Registered Social Worker, Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex (ASLM)
  • Kathy Chute, Program Coordinator, Learning Disabilities Association of London Region (LDALR)
  • Sonja Dennis, Director of Music, Colborne Street United Church
  • Sarah Montes, London Youth for Christ

The Foundation also awarded Jeff Macoun with the Ivey Award for Excellence and Majd Radhaa with the J. Allyn Taylor Award for Community Service for their outstanding dedication to our community.

Additionally, London Community Foundation had the special honour of presenting four local leaders with the prestigious Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. These recipients included longtime Foundation volunteers:

  • Donna Bourne
  • Murray Faulkner
  • Fred Galloway
  • Glen Pearson

Unique to this year’s celebration was the announcement of the Foundation’s grants from its Fund for Canada’s 150th in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial. These grants celebrate our Country’s 150th anniversary by honouring our history and heritage through a wide scope of projects that touch on environment, arts, culture, social services, recreation and education. These grants included the following organizations and programs:

  • University Heights Public School, University Heights Public School Playground (15,000)
  • C.C. Carrothers Elementary School, Outdoor Learning Centre (15,000)
  • London Cross Cultural Learner Centre, Connecting Newcomers to Canada’s 150th Anniversary ($14,440) 
  • Twelve Canada, Regional Youth Reconciliation Gathering ($14,185) 
  • London Regional Children’s Museum, Celebrate Kids! ($12,650) 
  • London Potters Guild, Mosiac Celebrating Canada 150 and London Clay Art Centre ($11,000) 
  • Forest City Gallery, Vaulted: A Commemorative Arts and Culture Project ($10,000) 
  • Salthaven Wildlife and Education Centre, Go Wild for Canada’s 150th ($10,000) 
  • Pillar Nonprofit Network, Celebrating 150 Years of Innovation in London ($7,500) 
  • Maria Luisa de Moreno International Foundation, Canada’s 150 Years Celebration @ One Day for Kids ($6,800)
  • United Way London & Middlesex, Bands 150 ($6,490)
  • Urban League of London on behalf of SoHo Community Association, SoHo Celebrates Canada ($5,000)
  • Habitat for Humanity, Canadian Heroes Build- Carter Work Project & Canada’s 150th ($5,000)
  • Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre, Heritage Railway Event ($4,000)
  • Ark Aid Street Mission, Inc, New School of Colour 150 ($3,000)
  • City Art Centre, Inspiring possibilities through Canadian art and culture ($2,832)
  • London Middlesex Heritage Museum- Fanshawe Pioneer Village, The First World War: Vimy Remembered ($2,600)
  • Municipality of Middlesex Centre- on behalf of Middlesex Centre Archives, Canada 150- Middlesex Centre ($2,500)
  • Strathroy Middlesex Museum, Celebrating Canada- Museum Exhibit ($2,000)

“What we do at the Foundation is all about building long-term community capacity while at the same time, making an impact today,” says Powell. “I think the Community Vitality Celebration is a perfect example of that. Today we are able to have a significant impact on the community through our granting. This would not be possible without the support of our donors over the years. Community change depends on everyone. It doesn’t take much to help make a big impact.”