Jim Reid recently joined the Guelph Community Foundation as a volunteer. This piece was published in the Nov 13, 2009 edition of the Guelph Tribune.
Is Guelph “the most caring community in Canada”? Last year Maclean’s magazine gave our city this honour because we have more community volunteers per capita than any other city in the country.
I was surprised by this news, and then thankful that I live in a community where volunteers, churches, foundations and unsung heroes work to make Guelph a better place.
Guelph Community Foundation is one of these groups. Since its inception in 2000, the foundation has directed $1.3 million to community organizations that are working to make Guelph a better place to live. The foundation’s current assets are $6.4 million.
The Tribune reported in August that the foundation helped out to the tune of $127,000 in 2009. The Guelph Community Foundation provided these grants to 47 local charitable organizations in our city and Wellington County. The grants ranged from $500 to $40,961. The foundation also awarded an additional $50,000 as part of its Building Vital Communities, and poverty-related grants in September.
The Guelph Community Foundation is one of many community foundations across Canada that disburse hundreds of millions of dollars to worthy causes in the communities they serve.
The advantage of a community foundation is that it centralizes the administration, management, awarding and receipting of multiple grants from multiple donors to multiple recipients. The foundation’s board of directors in each community is drawn from community leaders and volunteers. The grants committee of the Guelph Community Foundation reviews and recommends the awarding of local grants. The grants are primarily awarded in these general categories: Arts and Culture, Children and Youth, Education, Environment, Health, Social Services, and Research and Development.
Guelph Community Foundation grants this year have helped out familiar groups such as Wyndham House and the Guelph Humane Society. They also assisted environmental organizations such as the Guelph Field Naturalists and the Grand River Conservation Foundation. The foundation placed grants from anonymous donors with the charity of their choice.
The Guelph Community Foundation also regularly circulates an online Vital Signs questionnaire to hundreds of Guelph and Wellington residents. The questions concern approximately 11 local issues such as poverty, education, crime and health.
The answers are collated into a report card format to provide a snapshot of the quality of life in Guelph, and the areas for improvement.
In conjunction with other charitable organizations, the foundation works toward making Guelph a better place over the course of the next year.
Late last month, the Canadian government declared Nov. 15 to be National Philanthropy Day. Locally, philanthropy means giving to make Guelph and Wellington a better place.
The Philanthropy Day celebration falls on Sunday this weekend. Wherever you are this Sunday, whether with friends, family or with someone you are helping through a difficult time, it may be a good day to be thankful.
Thankful that we live in Guelph, one of many caring communities in Canada.