February 2020 Newsletter

Chair’s Blog February 2020

A Message from Penny Nelligan

Did you know that:

  • More than half the population of Grand Bend is 65 or older.
  • In Huron and Lambton Counties, university graduation rates are significantly lower than the provincial average.
  • More than 30% of people surveyed in 2019 said they had trouble making ends meet during the past year.
  • People in Huron and Lambton Counties are more likely to be overweight, to smoke, and to drink heavily than the Ontario average.
  • In Lambton County, the monthly cost of healthy food for a family of four increased 21% between 2009 and 2017.

These are just a few of the facts uncovered while putting together the Foundation’s first ever Vital Signs report. The Report pulls together statistical and anecdotal information from a variety of sources to identify issues and gaps in our communities. Why? So that the Foundation and our community partners can think about how to address them through granting, philanthropy and shared community action.

The next step in that direction will be taken on April 15, when community leaders will gather in Grand Bend to discuss the way forward. I’m excited about this opportunity to dig deep and dream big!
One thing is certain: there is amazing power in people coming together around issues that matter. As Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Upcoming Events (at Huron Shores United Church unless otherwise indicated)
(at Huron Shores United Church unless otherwise indicated)
March 24, 4 p.m. — RBC Community Challenge Celebration
April 15, 5:30 p.m.—Vital Conversation
May 7, 7 p.m. – Grand Women Get-Together
May 20, 6:30 p.m.—GBCF Annual General Meeting
May 21, 5 p.m.- Grand Men Get-Together at Dave’s Pub, Oakwood Resort

Making a Forever Gift: Bequests
A wise financial advisor once said to me, “Don’t get undressed until you’re ready to go to bed.” His meaning? Think carefully about making large philanthropic gifts during your lifetime. After all, you don’t know how long you’ll live or what your financial needs may be in the future.

Of course, there is great joy in giving during your lifetime and seeing your generosity make a difference. But for some of us it makes sense to take a more conservative approach. Giving through a bequest in your will is one way to maximize your impact, while retaining your assets throughout your lifetime.

It’s easy to do. When you’re making or updating your will, ask your lawyer to include charitable gifts – either a flat amount or a percentage of your estate.
Among the benefits of this way of giving:

  • Your estate will receive an official tax receipt, which can be used to reduce the tax payable on your final return.
  • If your financial situation changes, you can change your will.
  • Because you’re already “in bed” when the gift is realized, you can make a more significant gift.

Some words of advice:

  • Be sure to speak to a lawyer about your will.
  • Check with the charity to ensure you have right name and wording in your will.
  • Talk to your children about your decision.

2019 Grants
In 2019, the Grand Bend Community Foundation granted more than $80,000 to organizations in the region surrounding Grand Bend. Each grant, large or small, enabled a non-profit to move forward with an innovative activity that makes our communities stronger, more caring, more sustainable, and more just.
Recipients of this year’s grants include:

  • Friends of Pinery Park for innovative equipment used in bat research, and for a youth-led project to build rolling boardwalks
  • Huron Waves Music Festival, to support the hiring of an Indigenous composer to perform and lead workshops for Indigenous youth
  • Lakeshore Eco-Network/ABCA, to hold a family-friendly Tree Festival and for a youth-led project to conduct a preliminary environmental assessment of the Parkhill Creek
  • Yacht Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters South Huron, to ensure that four children registered with BBBS can attend the one-week sailing camp next summer
  • Southcott Pines Association/Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority to support their efforts to clear vegetation and improve the oxygenation of the Old Ausable Channel
  • Diabetes Canada, to support children from the Greater Grand Bend Area and South Huron to attend Camp Huronda
  • West Coast Lions Club, to support the Wednesday Familiar Favorites concerts on GB beach
  • Partners in Learning, to support the Climate Change Unpacked lecture series
  • Scouts Canada Camp Attawandaron, to support a one-day environmental camp
  • Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre, to support the purchase of food for the mobile food bank that serves low-income families in Huron Park.
  • Canadian Cancer Society to defray the fuel costs for volunteer drivers in the Wheels of Hope program
  • Rural Response for Healthy Children, to support their project to convert to a cloud-based IT system.
  • Me, You and Us/County of Lambton, to support a group of Indigenous non-Indigenous youth to build self-esteem and create self-portraits
  • Eco-Exeter, to support efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastics in our region
  • Blyth Festival, to support its ongoing cultural leadership
  • Avon Maitland District School Board and North Lambton Secondary School, to support scholarships for graduating students
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters South Huron, to support the Big Bunch and School Mentoring programs
  • Grand Bend Art Centre, to support the music program at Grand Bend Public School
  • Dashwood Optimists, to support activities at Friedsburg Days 2020
  • Cultural Collective, to support the Riverside Night Market

Meeting the Challenge: Four youth-led groups share generous grants made possible by RBC

An opportunity to explore Indigenous and non-Indigenous identity through art. A study of the Parkhill Creek to assess its environmental health. A project to build rolling boardwalks to protect the fragile dunes of Pinery Park. An all-out effort to avoid single-use plastics by offering viable alternatives.

These are the four outstanding projects that received grants from Grand Bend Community Foundation this year, through a program sponsored by RBC and Community Foundations of Canada. In all, RBC made $25,000 available to the Foundation through the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge program to youth with great ideas to address urgent issues in their communities. The goal was to engage youth in leading, shaping and carrying out the projects, helping them develop valuable skills.

“This was an amazing opportunity for the Foundation,” says Executive Director Pat Morden. “It was also a great opportunity for the young people, to make a difference in their communities, and develop as leaders in the process.” 
The projects were selected by a special grants committee that included youth members. The projects will be carried out by August 2020. Grant recipients will be invited to participate in the Vital Conversation (see above) and share their perspectives.


Making Beautiful Music and More: How the Foundation supports the arts in our communities
This spring First Nations composer Barbara Croall will work with students at the Kettle and Stony Point Hillside School, helping them express themselves through music. It’s part of the first-ever Huron Waves Music Festival, which will also present The Kingdom Choir, the gospel group famous for singing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. A grant from Grand Bend Community Foundation will support Croall’s participation.

“We knew none of our grand plans could proceed without financial resources,” says Paul Ciufo, Chair of the fledgling Festival. “The Foundation was the very first organization to extend financial support. It gave us a huge morale boost, filling our sails, and it also elevated our credibility with other organizations.”

Huron Waves Music Festival is just one of the many projects supported by the Foundation to enrich our communities through the arts. In 2019 alone, the Foundation continued its support for the music program at Grand Bend Public School and Wednesday Familiar Favorites, the phenomenally popular beachfront concert series. It also granted to the South Huron Cultural Collective, to support music at the night markets planned for next summer.

The Foundation played a key role in construction of the Rotary Community Stage, providing both funding and leadership, and supported the Sunset Concert Series for several years. Other grants have supported creative writing and art classes, historical plaques and more. One grant supported the production of Narcisse, a play about the history of St. Joseph, and another launched a highly successful one-week theatre school for young people at Huron Country Playhouse.