The Huronia Communities Foundation was incorporated as Canada’s 99th Community Foundation in 2001. Driven by committed local volunteers, the first fund was established by Duncan and Penny Mclaren who created the Len Self Youth Fund to honor Penny’s father.
Through a generous bequest in 2003 the Tom & Lucille Gay Fund was established. This fund and others provide needed community grants for our SMART AND CARING ANNUAL GRANTS to support local charities and community organizations. Today the volunteer Grants Committee continues to determine how the earnings from funds will be distributed in our community.
A memorial Fund for Jim McCready was started in 2004 and in 2005 four Scholarship Funds were established: Moss Fund, Bill Barnett Fund, MSS Fund and Jas Roberts Fund.
When donations flow through a foundation, the foundation is able to provide tax receipts. This service was provided to the Cedar Ridge Pops Festival for the first time in 2006 when they offered local concerts by the bay. They established the Cedar Ridge Pops Endowment Fund which still supports many needed charities good work here.
The year 2007 marks a number of milestones for Huronia Communities Foundation. The assets of the foundation topped $1million and the Foundation hosted the first Circle of Honour Philanthropy Awards and Dinner and it was a sell out! David and Elinor Walker also established the Lt. Governor James Bartleman Bursary for Native Education.
The Gil Robillard Family Endowment Fund was created in 2008 to support the administration of the Foundation and Ralph Befort established the Huronia Medical Student Scholarship for local students.
In 2009, founding Board president, John Gammell left the Board after years of wonderful service. Thank you to John and all the founding members of the board of directors: John Gignac, Dunc McLaren, Ed Hartley, Gil Robillard, Kathy Elsdon-Befort, Joe Jurmain and Randy Robbins. That same year the foundation also provided tax receipting services for the first Mayor’s Day Breakfast to support Physician Recruitment. The fund grew each year and has helped this area bring new doctors to our local families and hospital with great success.
The year 2010 saw the 10th Anniversary of Huronia Community Foundation and the assets exceeded $1.5 million. The Foundation also exceeded grants to the community of $500,000!
In 2011 we were awarded an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant which allowed us to establish the HUB Project, a collaboration between the Barrie, Orillia, Bradford and Huronia Community Foundations. The goals were to develop better marketing and communications strategies and database management as a group.
In early 2013 Executive Director Garry Morehouse retired after 11 years and HCF welcomed a new Executive Director, Patricia Copeland. Patricia brought a wealth of non-profit experience to the foundation and continues to provide creative ideas and excellent support to the board of directors. We developed a new Strategic plan to Ignite Huronia and the foundation endowment funds exceeded $2.2 million.
In collaboration with the United Way of Great Simcoe County, 2014 saw the production of the first Simcoe County Vital Signs Report. This report is used by charities, health care providers and municipalities to understand where service gaps exist so they can all work smarter together to meet the growing needs of our communities. The report will be produced again in 2016.
Today we are 15 years old and have begun expanding our support to the community by participating in our first collaborative funding project. Together with the Friends of Youth Penetanguishene Fund, the Town of Penetanguishene and the Penetanguishene Rotary Club we helped fund the creation of a new accessible playground and splash park for the residences and visitors of Penetanguishene. We intend to do even more collaboration projects to make this a better place to live for everyone.