On March 31, 2013, Garry is retiring from the Foundation.
Interview by Mary MacIntyre
1. How did you get involved?
My wife, Sandi, got me involved to get me out of the house …. that was 12 years ago. I like new endeavors. The Founding Board was very grass roots which was very refreshing after 30 years in the corporate world. I bought into the concept of the Community Foundation as a way to make charitable donations last forever. This has a significant personal appeal and it has been very good for the future of the community. It is rewarding to know that I played a part in building assets of over $2 million thus generating grants of over $700,000 in a community of 45,000 people.
2. What were the highlights?
It was never about numbers.
In reality we are a small foundation making a difference in a small community. It is really all about relationships with people: great donors, volunteers, and staff. For instance, donors such as Lu LaFrance and Sandra McCready established endowments in memory of their husbands; community volunteers extraordinaire Barbe Dodson and Marilynne Bellisle established a fund in support of youth; Jan and John MacIntyre, seasonal residents, responded to the immediate and changing needs of the community; and Bob Kafato of LabX Media Group, regularly gives back in a meaningful way that has an immediate impact on the community.
Our volunteers are among some of our key donors: former Board Member Blair Stotesbury established a fund in memory of his mom and transferred life insurance of $190,000 to the foundation. Founding Board Members are also well represented: John Gignac established a fund in memory of his dad and encouraged a corporate fund from Hacker Gignac and Rice LLP. Randy Robbins created a fund for youth and John Gammell, Gil Robillard and Dunc McLaren each established funds totaling over $200,000 in support of the foundation’s leadership.
“A volunteer is a person who believes people can make a difference and is willing to prove it.” - Unknown
I have had the pleasure of working with over 50 volunteers who possess tremendous leadership, commitment and dedication to improving the quality of life in our beautiful Georgian Bay area. Some top volunteers are certainly Nicole French of Home Cooked Website Solutions. Nicole, with her tireless energy, helps with marketing, production of the annual report and management of our website. Jane Barnett has been dedicated to working on the eNewsletter as well as being responsible for facilities event management for the first few years of the Circle of Honour Philanthropic Awards, an event initiated by former Board Member, Alan Arlett. Helmut Paddags has always been on call to take photos at our events and of our grants to the community. Susan Robillard, former Board Member, has worked as my editor and has helped with other work behind the scenes. She was the go-to person for anything that needed to be done.
I especially wish to thank founding Board Member Kathy Elsdon-Befort for her leadership in starting our first Grants Committee and YAC group (Youth Advisory Council). Michele Pilon, former Grants Chair, has also been a key ambassador for the Foundation. Her 800K Camino walk through Spain raised over $5,000 for our unrestricted Community Fund.
With respect to staff, it is just amazing to have Betty Valentine, Chair of Waypoint, as our bookkeeper. It puts us in good company! Additionally, her many years as the Town of Penetanguishene bookkeeper helped too! Betty knows the community well. Working with my administrative assistant Mary has been a refreshing experience allowing me to see things through the eyes and energy of youth.
3. What are some of the special moments of success?
I learned that small grants are very meaningful. It’s one of the takeaways I have from our Foundation – while we are not yet able to make large grants; I learned that small ones can collectively create a positive impact on the community. For example, the iPad purchased for the Elmvale Skating Club is helping to teach new jumps to their young students.
The Gift of Grace Knox soup kitchen is where you will find a group of volunteers serving up to 100 people on Tuesdays, what may be their only decent meal all week. The soup kitchen was at risk of running out of funds but the crisis was averted with a grant from the foundation.
Helping to send kids to camp is another great thing we have been able to do. We have been able to help seniors and shut-ins enjoy outdoor activities at the Askennonia Seniors Centre. We have provided several scholarships for students to move onto university and we have helped the Angels with Backpacks program in Midland to fill and distribute backpacks to men and women who have fallen on hard times.
Another special moment was experienced with Atlantic Challenge of Canada were the Foundation provided support to refit one of their replica long boats. This project represents over 500 hours of volunteer hours in the replacement of the rib frame, that which holds the longboat together. The grant money allowed this group to use specialty wood and tools to complete the refit without having to use limited money intended for training and youth programs. These small grants indeed make a big difference in our community.
Last year has been a great year thus making it a good time to retire and pass the helm onto someone new. I believe the foundation to have a solid (forgive the pun) foundation! I would be remiss not to acknowledge certain people at this time, beginning with the founding Board Members: John Gammell, John Gignac, Dunc McLaren, Ed Hartley, Gil Robillard, Joe Jurmain, Kathy Elsdon-Befort and Randy Robbins. In particular, I would like to highlight Founding President, John Gammell`s unconditional support. It was like no other support I have ever received in my career. I am grateful to Dunc McLaren who always said the devil was in the details. Dunc worked tirelessly to keep the devil away. On a personal note, looking forward, I admit to being a bit worried about leaving the workforce after forty years! I might do some part time work to ease the transition, but with boating season fast approaching, I know it will be the first thing on my mind.
Lastly I wish the new Executive Director great success. You will enjoy terrific direction from Chair, Anita Dubeau, and the Board. I wish to acknowledge the host of talent and skills of current Board Members: legal, accounting; governance, fund and program development. A special thanks to Past President George Cornell for his gift of improving our processes and operations while our Secretary, Garry McPhail, significantly upgraded our policies and procedures.
I am confident that our newest board members Barbara Jones, Fiona Cascagnette, Kris Eacott, Lisa McFadyen, Claude Marchildon and Sheila Story, will lead the Foundation to a whole new level with their client-centric skills, engaging and encouraging donors to develop funds for the Foundation and the community.
I leave with the confidence that a year from now, the Foundation will be stronger than ever before. Thank you everyone; it has been a terrific journey! I shall take all the great memories with me as I sail around Georgian Bay.
Note: The Executive Director Job posting will be circulated and on our website when available.
Strengthening Community Philanthropy
The Huronia Community Foundation Circle of Honour Philanthropic Awards provide the opportunity to recognize individuals of all ages, businesses and organizations that have contributed financially toward the improvement of the quality of daily life in Huronia.
Save the date! On June 8th at the Midland Culture Centre, Huronia Community Foundation will once again honour those who have made a difference in our community.
We encourage you to celebrate philanthropy by nominating a deserving person or group to be recognized for their philanthropic contributions. Find out more on our website www.huroniacf.com.
Nominations for this year’s awards will be accepted until April 2, 2013 in the following four categories;
- Philanthropic Group
- Youth or Youth Group
Review the categories, complete the questionnaire and email your nomination(s) to email@example.com or mail to Huronia Community Foundation, 357 King Street, Midland ON L4R 3M7.
What a great way to say thank you to those who are building our community through giving.
Building a Smart and Caring Community
As we approach our country’s 150th birthday, Canada’s Governor General, The Right Honourable David Johnston, has challenged Canadians to imagine our country as it could be – a smart and caring nation that holds promise for all.
The Governor General’s call to service has special meaning for community foundations, since he is the patron of our network, Community Foundations of Canada. But more importantly, his aspirations for our country mirror those of community foundations from coast to coast to coast.
Our Contribution to a Smart & Caring Nation
For more than 90 years, Canada’s community foundations have dedicated themselves to building better places to live, work, and play. We are ‘barn-raisers’ by nature, bringing people and resources together to achieve a greater good. So when we considered our contribution to a ‘smart and caring nation’ the answer was clear: we can build smart and caring communities.
Smart & Caring Communities unites our movement in a nation-wide call to service, an opportunity for the more than 180 community foundations across Canada to mobilize people, organizations, and resources in a shared effort to build a smarter and more caring nation.
Together we can leverage this unique moment in time to engage Canadians in their community foundation in a new way. We can determine what a ‘smart and caring’ community means to Canadians and how community foundations can seed and support that vision.
Our Commitment to Canadians
Smart & Caring Communities is a landmark effort for Canada’s community foundation movement – rallying our entire network in pursuit of two goals:
Having access to a community foundation means having a network of people, organizations, and resources dedicated to building ‘smart and caring’ communities each and every day.
While many communities are home to a community foundation now, we know there are gaps and through Smart & Caring Communities we plan to reach more communities than ever before. We dream of a Canada where every Canadian community is served by a community foundation by 2017.
In 1967 Canadians celebrated our Centennial Year by building arenas and community centres to foster our nation’s growing sense of community. Leading up to 2017, community foundations across Canada will connect the country by establishing Smart & Caring Community Funds from coast to coast to coast. The funds will give communities the flexibility they need to take advantage of local opportunities and help make them the smart and caring places we know they can be.
Each fund will be unique to its community, but every one will share similar values and a ‘smart and caring’ goal. Together they will establish a nation-wide legacy for our 150th birthday – a permanent asset that will serve Canadian communities for generations to come.
Help us make Huronia a Smart and Caring Community by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit website for a message from the Governor General’s call to action.
Can anyone be a philanthropist?
Absolutely! Philanthropy resides in everyone. It is a generosity of spirit, desire to help, a firm belief you can make a real difference in your community regardless of how much or how little you have to give.
Huronia Community Foundation can help you fulfill your philanthropic dreams – big or small and together we can make it flourish right here in our own backyard.
A Community Foundation is a trusted place where donors go to give and where charitable groups go for support in their endeavours. We tailor giving to the needs of donors and the community.
Give today, help forever. Make the most of your giving.
- By contributing to or starting an endowment fund to give to causes you care about, you can have a lasting impact on your community;
- Take the opportunity to get your family involved in giving. You and your family have an opportunity to leave a legacy in Huronia;
- You can name the fund for your loved ones or yourself. You have the opportunity to focus your giving on what interests you most;
- Monitor the performance of your fund. You can use the expertise of Huronia Community Foundation to help you maximize your giving;
- Enjoy the benefit of a tax credit for the full amount you give. Your endowment fund will be a part of your overall financial plan;
- Make a difference.
Ways to give. A gift to Huronia Community Foundation is an expression of wanting to improve our community. Contributions can be made in several ways;
- Gifts of cash, gifts of appreciated stock/securities, a bequest in a will, beneficiary of a registered retirement fund, or life insurance, gifts in memory or in honour of a loved one or special event.
A gift to the Foundation can be to a general fund or, if preferred, made to a specific area of interest such as the arts, recreation, seniors, health, and relief of poverty or education.
“Philanthropy should be the cardinal corner stone of everyone’s philosophy not only for its own sake but also because it gives tangible meaning to one’s life.” – Harold ‘Izzy’ Asper
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