Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation

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Yearly Archives: 2011

Serenity House Hospice provides many wonderful programs and supports for those experiencing grief and bereavement.

During the summer of 2011 they extended their services to include a week long day camp for kids and families experiencing grief. The focus of this camp was to support kids through group activities (like games, arts and crafts etc.) to explore grief in a healthy supported environment, discuss death and dying, and create new friendships.

Read about one family’s experience here.

My Journey

My husband, my best friend, and the best dad in the world died the last day of September 2010 surrounded by loving family and friends. In the spring of 2011 I made my way to Serenity House and met Cindy. I told her my story and completed the paperwork to become a volunteer.

Since that day I have attended a bereavement group for 8 weeks with others who are grieving the loss of a loved one. I found myself crying for someone else’s pain and loss. For so many months I had cried for only my own. The people I have met during this chapter of my journey are very special and I hope to continue meeting with them.

I also met Wendy and Caroline, the leaders of the group.

This was a very big step for a teenage boy to discuss his feelings about losing your dad. After the week of camp both my kids graduated with the other children and let letters go by balloon to the clouds. I was very proud of both of them for helping others who just like them have lost a parent.

How life just happens is still a mystery to me but my daughter feels that her path is to help children with grief and plans on looking into this when she graduates this year. As for me I have signed up and will be starting the fundamentals of hospice/palliative care. My future as I knew it is no longer but with the help of many along the way things seem to be falling into place. People say it will get better……it doesn’t, it just is different.


Serenity House Hospice also has a new handbook of resources titled “Understanding your Child’s Grief Journey: A handbook of resources to help guide the understanding of why children react the way they do when faced with death and grieving.”.

You can reach Cindy and the wonderful folks at Serenity House, learn more about their programs, and request a copy of this new handbook at: www.serenityhousehospice.ca



Marion Morgan


It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our dear friend Marion Morgan who died on Nov.22nd, 2011. She was a generous hearted woman who always had a smile, a cheery disposition and a kind word, and was always thinking of others.

Marion established the Janet and Marion Morgan Environmental Fund in 2006 with a wish to honour her mother Janet,…whom she told me taught her so much about the value of a ‘penny saved’. Through this Fund Marion supports charities that work in support of the environment and animal/wildlife protection. Organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation (she went to the same school as David by the way!), Ecojustice Canada (formerly Sierra Legal), Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Aide of St. Thomas will continue to benefit from her annual granting. As an Endowment Fund, it will continue to grant to her favourite charities into perpetuity, celebrating her life, her legacy of kindness and generosity and her wish for a healthy environment.

Marion,…..it is a true honour to have known you and to manage this legacy on your behalf.

Marion visiting Animal Aide

Obituary from London Free Press

MORGAN, Marion – With deep feeling of sorrow, we said goodbye to Marion Morgan on November 22, 2011 at the age of 77. Marion was a devoted employee of 3M until her retirement. She enjoyed gardening, travelling and caring for her pets. Marion was a person that felt, if you want to live in a community, you have to give something back. She did this by volunteering in many organizations as well as having positive actions and a positive attitude. As per Marion’s wishes, there will be no funeral or visitation. As expressions of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to the Janet & Marion Morgan Environmental Fund – established to support environmental, animal welfare and wildlife protection agencies.

A HUGE THANKS to everyone who participated in Expedition Elgin 2011.

Please read the attached short report to see some pictures, learn about how much money we raised, and hear our THANK YOU to all the Participants, Volunteers, Checkpoint Hosts and Corporate and Prize Partners who helped to make this event a big success. Thank you to everyone who helped make Expedition Elgin 2011 a Success!

Thank you to April, David and Elaine for sharing their photos with us.

Putting the photos on our website proved problematic,…so we are creating an album on the Kodak site where you can view them all and download your favourites.

Click to see the photos that from Expedition Elgin 2011.

Expedition Elgin is designed to be able to move around and highlight what is wonderful about Elgin County.

Where would you like Expedition Elgin 2012 be held?

We would appreciate 3 short minutes of your time to participate in this survey, and help us plan for 2012.


See the full list of Awesome Corporate Partners and Prize Partners — by clicking here!

Expedition Elgin is a fundraiser for the Elgin St. Thomas Community

Foundation, who supports local charities with their annual grantmaking.

We are excited to Celebrate our growing list of Corporate Partners!

Our committment is to celebrate our Partners “year-long, everything we do” , and are delighted to extend a public THANK YOU to all of them.

We very much value their support, and encourage you to THANK THEM with your business!

To see the full …..and growing list of Partners CLICK HERE

July 20, 2011

The Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation is pleased to announce the new Parks and Recreation/Pinafore Endowment Fund.

“Established through the efforts of Parks and Recreation staff Ross Tucker and through endorsement by City Council, the Parks and Recreation/Pinafore Endowment Fund is committed to maintaining the St. Thomas Parks and Recreation heritage for generations and will contribute to capital projects and improvements to our Parks, Recreation or Trails infrastructure.” states Alderman Sam Yusuf.

The Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation builds and manages endowment funds and grants from the income earned each year to local charities. All capital contributions/donations to the Parks and Recreation/Pinafore Endowment Fund will be held into perpetuity, and each year a portion of income earned will be dispersed to the City of St. Thomas Parks and Recreation Department to allocate towards these projects. In this way a secure source of funds will be built that will grant many times over the original donation.

“There are many local people who feel passionate about Pinafore and other local Parks and can now contribute legacy funding to maintain this heritage” said Junee Monteith, Chair of the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation. “Anyone can contribute to this fund, and in any amount….in one time donations, or through bequests in their will.”

Building an endowment fund is an act of forward thinking and a commitment to future generations. The Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation celebrates this new Fund, and the efforts of City Council and future donors in building this legacy for our well-loved parks and trails.

Get Ready for Expedition Elgin 2011, Sunday October 02nd in Port Stanley!

It’s back……Elgin’s own ‘Amazing Race’. Registration will open on July 21st. The first 25 Teams to register will compete for some awesome prizes,…including a fabulous day long sailing charter tour with Latitude Charters and tons of other great prizes.

This year’s registration will be a pledge style campaign…..like any other charity run or event……collect pledges from family and friends and every pledge receives a charitable donation receipt. The TOP INDIVIDUAL FUNDRAISERS will of course win the best prizes!

So,….start putting together your team of 4, think of a great team name, start planning your strategy….and be the first to register through this website on July 21st.

Then join us at the beach on October 02nd to get your first clue,….decipher that clue to find your next checkpoint. Compete in challenges (could me physical, could be technical, could be an intellectual challenge….there is a way for everyone to excel!) in order to receive your next clue………and make your way through all the checkpoints and challenges. Get ready for a great day in Port Stanley as you race to win Expedition Elgin 2011.

Building ‘e-Tools’ and Resources for our Professional Advisors

Online tools and resources for our professional advisors…..are just a click away. By working with the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, professional advisors — such as estate planners, attorneys, funeral directors, insurance professionals, accountants, financial managers and others — can help their clients fulfill their financial and charitable goals.

At Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, we work as your partner — you stay in control of your client relationships, and we can help you provide a full range of services.

Visit the Professional Advisors page for the latest resources!

Ralph and Noreen Counsell

The late Ralph Counsell was a quiet man. An extraordinarily generous….and quiet man.

“Though he was a generous annual donor and supporter of the Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation, we did not know Mr. Counsell had been so thoughtful and generous in his will” says Executive Director Karen Laine when learning of the $100,000.00 gift Ralph Counsell bequeathed to the Community Foundation. “I know there are many local charities who have received generous gifts from Mr. Counsell estate, and we are grateful and honoured to be one of them.”

Born in Windsor Ontario in 1923, his father died when he was 19 years old. His mother held the family together, and he and his brother Harry helped to raise their younger sister Irene and took on the duties of the ‘men of the house’ at that young age.

Ralph thought himself a lucky man,…he found and married the love of his life Noreen . “I’ve never seen such a loving couple as those two” says friend Mara Prskalo.

Ralph worked at Fearn Ford, and later at the Licence Bureau. Noreen worked for Bell Canada in Aylmer and as a probation officer for Corrections- a job she enjoyed for being able to make a difference in the lives of the young people she worked with.

After retirement they enjoyed winters in Florida until Noreen’s health made that difficult in 2002. They had a special love of the local parks, and the local wildlife,…often collecting food for the racoons, regularly fed the birds and geese and resident deer in the winter….always thinking of their furry or feathered friends. Ralph and Noreen were also regular charter members of the Tim Horton’s coffee club, and joined many friends there for a daily visit. That is where they met Mara and Ilija Prskalo who quickly became like family to them.

Ralph and Noreen gave back to the community in many ways. Noreen’s favourite charity was the Ronald McDonald House for the special way they support children and families, and Ralph was an active member of the Masonic Lodge 3302 and the HIRo Shrine Club.

“They were hard working, loving and caring,…and did not waste anything” says Mara Prskalo. “I know it broke Ralph’s heart when Noreen died in 2005. I miss them a lot….”

Ralph died peacefully on June 09th, 2010, in his 87th year.

The Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation is very grateful for this extraordinary gift and special legacy from Ralph and Noreen Counsell. It will benefit the charities of Elgin County into perpetuity.

There is nothing like a story to help us understand the impact of our actions. At the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation we “have a pile of ’em”.

Over our short history we have distributed over $190,000 in grants to local charities or in scholarships to local youth and we are looking forward to sharing them with you.

Read our Annual and Granting Reports HERE to see all our granting history!

Stay tuned!