By Skana Gee
The Community Foundations of Canada True Sport initiative is picking up steam, moving from a successful pilot project into a new phase of development.
“It’s a unique opportunity to bring communities together with a wide range of partners to build community through sport,” says Cindy Lindsay, CFC’s Director of Member Services.
About 15 months ago, Community Foundations of Canada partnered with the True Sport Foundation and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport on a one-year pilot project to strengthen community through sport.
Four community foundations – in Kitchener-Waterloo, Burlington, Winnipeg and Abbotsford – participated in this innovative program, which relied on collaboration, consultation and an asset-based community development approach that connected sport and non-sport organizations to build social capital through sport.
By early February, Lindsay expects CFC to announce a new slate of potentially four or five community foundation participants.
“We are considering their readiness to embrace the philosophy of the initiative, the ability to nurture community consultation, and the potential to secure matching funds,” says Lindsay.
Indeed, while offering funding from CFC and the McConnell Foundation, the True Sport program also relies on contributions from participating community partners, who can look to the success of the pilot project.
In Winnipeg, for instance, 15 community-led projects received grants, resulting in a baseball festival – led by a coach and students from the University of Winnipeg – as well as a basketball league, a soccer tournament, and other initiatives in the city’s Central Park neighbourhood.
“Each project was unique and was matched by Central Park community resources of volunteer time, donated materials, professional services or cash,” Christina Parsons of True Sport Foundation wrote on The Winnipeg Foundation’s blog.
“By coming together, the community was able to identify its strengths, create connections and build on existing partnerships.”
Let the games begin!
Skana Gee is Communications Coordinator with Community Foundations of Canada