By Allison Kouzovnikov
The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia is still celebrating the resounding success of its recent Concert and Conversation with Peter Buffett.
This was the first event in the Foundation’s five year history and could not have been more perfect, with an excellent sponsor (RBC Wealth Management Dominion Securities), a sold-out venue and record-setting book sales.
Photo (from left): CFNS Executive Director Allison Kouzovnikov, Peter Buffett, Dennice Leahey, CM, Board Chair, Robert Orr, Vice Chair
Foundation staff had the privilege of spending extra time with Peter both before and after the event and we were all touched by Peter’s ability to put everyone around him at ease. It truly felt like all had known each other for years.
We especially appreciated Peter’s unsolicited endorsement of our work from the stage mid-concert, which was later summed up by Peter as follows: ”A community foundation is a vital ally in sustaining a healthy, vibrant region. The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia does the important and necessary work of keeping its ear to the ground and its eye on a vision that donors can participate in – fostering a better world for all within its reach.”
Allison Kouzovnikov is Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia
By Beverly Clark
The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia is very proud of Board Member Mary Lonergan Eldridge, who was recently awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award.
The award “…recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation. The award also highlights the fine example set by these volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are so much a part of our Canadian character.”
Governor General David Johnston presented Mary with the award along with two other Yarmouth County residents, Winnie Surette and Phil Kitter at a ceremony held at the Yarmouth Town Hall on May 30, prompting this story in The Vanguard.
The Governor General noted that the award was established by Roméo LeBlanc, the 25th governor general, who was our first governor general of Acadian heritage. Governor General Johnston said, “Mr. LeBlanc established the award because it recognized the kind of spirit in the Acadian community in which he grew up in, communities where people cared for one another.”
Mary received this award for providing leadership and sound financial management to many charitable organizations in her community.
This is one of many awards bestowed upon her over the years. In 1988 she was awarded a Medal of Merit by Scouts Canada, received a “Special Volunteer Award” in recognition of her outstanding fundraising efforts for the Museum and Archives Expansion Project in 2000, was recipient of a 2001 Canadian Medal in honour of the International Year of the Volunteer, was cited in the Nova Scotia Legislature as “…giving so generously so that the community of Yarmouth might have a vital, impressive, cultural resource.” and was inducted into the Hall of Honour at St. Francis Xavier University in 2009.
Beverly Clark handles Communications and Internal Operations for the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia
Six weeks out from the release of Nova Scotia’s Vital Signs, and the report is still top of mind.
In a recent op-ed in The Chronicle-Herald, Sharon Murphy – a retired social worker and vice-president of Canada Without Poverty – referenced the report in conjunction with the Occupy protests taking place across North America.
“Allison Kouzovnikov, executive director of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, which released the provincewide Vital Signs report last month, says such thinking outside the box encourages a cultural shift in how we take care of problems in our own backyard,” Murphy writes.
“And it helps people see that even small actions matter and that together, we can create positive change.”
A worthwhile read …
When Wolfville’s Vital Signs 2009 revealed significant poverty in the community, many were shocked.
“It’s a seemingly affluent university town,” says Allison Kouzovnikov, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, home to the Wolfville Community Fund (WCF) which led the community-based report.
To address the issue, the WCF funded breakfast and afterschool programs, and partnered with the Wolfville Area Inter-Church Council to help residents access the Canada Learning Bond, a federal grant that contributes $500 to an RESP (and $100 each year after) for children living in low-income families.
The Wolfville Community Fund is helping residents access the Canada Learning Bond, a federal RESP program aimed at low-income families.
Parents don’t have to contribute. But they do need to obtain and file the right paperwork, which at nearly $30 per child, can be cost prohibitive.
Helping parents to save for education may be controversial if they are struggling to put food on the table. However, the WCF understood the need for both immediate and longer-term approaches.
“How many children walk past Acadia University never giving it a second thought that a higher education is something that is possible for them too?” asks Dick Groot, Chair of the WCF. “If we want our children to grow up and be good citizens we need to instil in them not only the desire, but the real possibility that a better life can be made through hard work, sacrifice and dedication.”
“The WCF’s work reflects the community foundation philosophy,” says Kouzovnikov. “We help communities build the social and financial capital they need, both today and tomorrow.”