November Newsletter

A Message from the Chair, Deb Gill
When I wrote this letter one year ago, I couldn’t have imagined what lay ahead.
    What an extraordinary year it has been, locally, nationally and around the world. COVID 19 created tragedy, instability, and physical, emotional, and economic hardship, and sadly is still with us.
    At the Foundation, this crisis has also been an opportunity – to connect with our communities, raise and grant money for relief, and build new partnerships across our region. We have embraced that opportunity. I am inspired by the generosity and compassion of the people around us.
    Although the pandemic rages on, people are beginning to think about what comes next. It seems impossible to “go back to normal” after COVID-19 has highlighted the fault lines in our society. It has disproportionately affected marginalized groups, include people of color, new Canadians and LGBQT people. It has made women more vulnerable to violence. It has plunged more children into poverty and food insecurity. It has made many seniors more isolated and lonely.
    At Grand Bend Community Foundation, our goal is to work with our partners to build strong, vibrant, and just communities. That’s why I’m so excited about the concept of “build back better.” Perhaps this will be the true legacy of COVID-19 – a society that is more equitable and inclusive.
    On January 27, the Foundation will bring together community leaders to talk about how we can build back better in our region. At the coldest, darkest time of the year, it will be a conversation filled with light and hope. If you’d like to be part of it, please let me know.
    You can also contribute to this ongoing discussion by making a donation to the Grand Bend Community Foundation. Contributions are permanently invested, with a portion of the annual income going to charities making a difference in our communities every day. Now more than ever your support is needed. 
    My heartfelt thanks to the Foundation’s hard-working Directors and to our generous and visionary donors. Best wishes for a calm and restful holiday season.
Building Stronger and More Inclusive Communities: Our 2020 grants
A lonely child connects with caring adult mentor. A struggling family receives a hamper of healthy food. Women facing violence at home find care and support. Our magnificent natural environment is nurtured and protected. Charities across the region survive, adapt, and move forward. And all this happens in the midst of a global pandemic.    In a year of unprecedented community needs, the Grand Bend Community Foundation recently announced grants of more than $90,000 to local agencies and organizations. That comes on top of more than $130,000 in COVID-19 relief funds granted between April and September.
    “It has been an extraordinary year for all of us,” says Chair Deb Gill. “The pandemic galvanized our communities to help the most vulnerable, and the Foundation pivoted quickly to make it happen. We were also able to support some ongoing needs. It’s our donors and local charities who are the real heroes.”
     Lauren Ber, President of the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters South Huron, says Foundation grants were important to her agency.  “They have been instrumental in ensuring our agency’s future prosperity,” she says “Knowing that some costs were fully funded allowed our staff to focus on the families we serve and ensured that we were able to pivot programs for the best chance of success.”The grants announced in November went to:The Community Table, for the purchase of a freezer to store donated meatJunior Achievement, to support online financial literacy programs in local schoolsEaster Seals, to help families of children with physical disabilities buy needed equipmentRelay Education, to support online renewable energy programs in local schoolsPort Franks Camera Club, to enable high-quality online meetingsHumane Society, to support the distribution of food and other pet necessities to vulnerable populationsThedford Skating Club, to make skating classes affordable this winterHuron Women’s Shelter, to support residents in Second Stage Housing and develop a new healing programBig Brothers Big Sisters, to support the traditional mentorship programSouthcott Pines Park Association, to offset some costs of work to improve the health of the Old Ausable ChannelHuron Turning Point (a transitional home for men), for a new security systemGrand Bend Place, to complete A/V equipment for the lower hallFriends of Pinery Park, to continue supporting the rolling boardwalk programRoyal Canadian Legion, to help purchase a new furnaceBlue Bayfield, to support the publication of a book about the challenges faced by Lake HuronSauble Court, to purchase three new clothes dryersKineto Theatre, to support ongoing renovations
Addressing Food Insecurity: The Community Table Steps Up

Andrea Loohuizen is that special kind of leader who stops at nothing to meet the needs she sees in her community. The Grand Bend Community Foundation was delighted to be able to support her work with the Community Table program.
    Five years ago, Loohuizen became manager of Noah’s Ark, a long-running thrift store located at Exeter Pentecostal Church in Exeter Ontario. In 2018, she and her army of volunteers decided to open a meal service in the same spot. Loohuizen says the project was designed to address food insecurity, but also to offer a sense of community and companionship “Someone once told me that there’s not much difference between a person who has no food on the table, and person who has food but no-one to eat it with – they’re both starving for something.”
      As the pandemic got under way in Ontario, the Community Table meal service closed. When it became clear that it couldn’t reopen for some time, Loohuizen and her volunteers developed a food hamper program. These days, 150 to 200 families receive weekly hampers, overflowing with fresh produce, meat, bread, eggs, milk, and pantry items. 
    The Grand Bend Community Foundation and United Way Perth Huron both made grants through the federal Emergency Community Support Program to help Loohuizen’s team purchase food for the hampers. The Foundation also made a grant from its own COVID-19 relief fund to purchase two commercial refrigerators and a freezer. Loohuizen says the new fridges more food can be refrigerated, resulting in less waste. The freezer will be used to store donated meat. “When we receive grants that we can use to upgrade equipment, it opens up possibilities for us,” she says, adding that fundraising is difficult at a time when many local businesses are struggling.”

Addressing the Shadow Pandemic: Huron Women’s Shelter

The UN calls it the ‘shadow pandemic’—the sharp increase in domestic abuse due to people being trapped at home during the lockdown.
    Before the pandemic, partner violence affected one in three women in Canada during her lifetime. Cases have increased by an estimated 20% because of Covid-19. Faced with this surge in demand, the Grand Bend Community Foundation supported the Huron Women’s Shelter.
    Krista Evely, Manager of Fund Development, says the increase in domestic violence is not just an urban problem. “People in rural areas are more isolated than ever during the pandemic,” she says. “If you’re living with an abusive partner who is unemployed, you may not be able to leave the house or make a private phone call. Plus, reduced hours and closures of public spaces such as libraries or employment centres make it harder to reach out for support.”
     Huron Women’s Shelter provides much-needed services, including a Goderich shelter for high-risk women, Second Stage housing (apartments) in Exeter, Clinton and Goderich, and counselling and community outreach. Partially funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Huron County Housing and United Way, the agency also counts on community fundraising.
     Because of COVID-19, the organization had to respond to a dizzying array of new protocols. The number of beds in the Goderich shelter was reduced to enable more social distancing, staff at the shelter worked 24-hour shifts to reduce the number of people coming and going, and staff at Second Stage housing buildings restricted their visits to once a week. The major fundraiser, an arts and crafts festival, had to be cancelled, creating financial pressures. Remarkably, the agency turned a difficult situation into an opportunity for reflection and adaptation. Says Evely: “Although very challenging, the pandemic has provided us with a little bit of space to step back and look at the services we provide. This has allowed time to adapt, refocus and be more creative in supporting women and children.”
    The Grand Bend Community Foundation provided a grant to Second Stage Housing in Exeter to provide gift cards for the residents, and to purchase a freezer to store donated food. An additional grant supported services across the organization during the heart of the pandemic. Then in the fall, the Shelter received support for an innovative new healing program. “We’re proud to support this wonderful organization,” says GBCF Grants Chair Jim Jean. “During COVID, Huron Women’s Shelter stepped up to offer hope to women in our communities, and we were able to help them do so.”

Ways to Make a Difference in our Communities
If you’re looking for a way to touch lives and build community, now and forever, the Grand Bend Community Foundation may be for you. Here are four ways to make a significant gift:CashPerhaps you have just sold your house or business, retired, or marked some other life milestone. This may be a good time to make a once-in-a-lifetime donation to your community. Keep in mind that tax benefits reduce the real cost of your gift. For example, if you make a gift of $20,000, you receive charitable tax credits of nearly $8,000. You can use the credits in the year of your gift or carry it forward for up to five years.Publicly traded securitiesWhen you donate stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, you receive a charitable tax receipt for the full market value on the day of sale. As with any cash gifts, the tax savings can be significant. In addition, when you give appreciated securities, you don’t pay tax on any capital gains (the increase in value from the time of purchase).BequestsWhen you make a bequest through your will, you control your money throughout your lifetime but have the satisfaction of knowing you’ll be helping our communities in the future. Your estate receives a tax receipt for the full value of the gift, which helps to offset taxes. In your bequest, you can name a specific amount, a percentage, or a residual.Life insuranceLife insurance is a relatively easy and practical way to make a large gift to the Foundation. You can designate the Foundation as the owner and beneficiary of a paid-up life insurance policy, as the beneficiary of paid-up insurance policy, or as the owner and beneficiary of a current insurance policy.Be sure to talk to a trusted financial advisor about your giving options. However you choose to make your forever gift, you may be able to create a named fund and direct how the proceeds of your fund are used. To learn more, contact us at  or 519-619-8630