Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation

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Yearly Archives: 2012

As we get closer to our 10th Birthday, we are thinking about and celebrating the wonderful community leaders who are our Founding Donors.

When the Community Foundation was in it’s very early stages…..way back in 2004/2005,….these visionary people understood the value of having a
local Community Foundation, of building resiliance with a community owned endowment that could respond to local need. They put their money behind that vision and stepped up with sizable donations to establish Elgin County’s own Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation movement was just building steam at that time. Though the oldest Community Foundation in Canada is 92 yrs old- Winnipeg CF,….the last 15 years or
so has seen the largest growth in this movement….building from a very few to over 180 autonomous Community Foundations across Canada. The Board and Donors who established the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation were on the leading edge of that curve of growth!

Please take a minute to view the full list of our Founding Donors HERE, and join us in thanking them for their help to establish this legacy for Elgin County.


(press release Monday Aug 13, 2012)

Expedition Elgin 2012 – full of fun and challenge!

Teams of 4 raced through parts of St. Thomas –including Pinafore Park, on Sunday August 12th in an event modeled loosely after the ‘amazing race’. Deciphering clues and competing in challenges, participants make their way around the route to win some of the close to $5,000.00 in prizes.

“We want to say a special thank you to the 31CER Regiment, the Elgin Regiment Association and Foundation this year for their help and support this year” said ESCF Executive

Director Karen Laine. “Not only did they build and host a ‘military chain of command’ style obstacle course that was the favourite challenge on the race this year,….but they also covered the cost of the facility rental from their own accounts.”

Other challenges this year included the balancing act of crossing a slackline (webbing strapped between trees), water challenges, disc golf challenges, and other physical/intellectual/scavenger hunt type activities.

Teams compete in one of three categories: 18 and over, 17 and under and Family Teams. The fastest Family Team for the second year running was DeVries Knees! The fastest 17 and under was S.W.A.G., and the fastest 18 and over team was Vicious and Delicious.

“The best prizes are our Junee Monteith. “We are so appreciative of the extraordinary fundraising done by participants this year”. Pledges collected this year reached over $12,000.00. The Top Fundraiser prize went to Kimberley Boughner of St. Thomas who personally raised a whopping $2,065.00!

Our 42 Corporate Partners provided further event and operational support, and Diamond Level partners MyFM and Weekly News were on hand to help dish out the thousands of dollars worth of prizes. The total leveraged through this campaign and event was approx $33,500.00.

The fundraiser was held to support the operations of the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, – a local charity who grants to local charities.

Winners from the video clip contest and photos will be on our website later this week. Visit www.escf.ca to see highlights from the event.

Matt Brisson is going for Gold.

The Canadian Champion for 110 metre men’s hurdles in Calgary this year,….he now has his focus on Rio – Summer Olympics 2016!

Watch for this rising star from St. Thomas !

The Sweetgrass Fund of the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation has provided Matt with a scholarship so he can focus on his training this summer,….and not have to find summer employment to cover tuition. He is studying Criminology at the University of Western Ontario.

We are rooting for you Matt!

Congratulations on your Canadian Championship!

Read more at http://www.stthomastimesjournal.com/2012/07/02/golden-boy-comes-home

That’s right…..We’ve set up a Facebook page!

Follow this link and “like” us,

……or “JOIN” the conversation around Expedition Elgin in the Event/Activity box.

See you there!



A BIG THANKS to everyone who attended our AGM on Tuesday at the Art Gallery! It was lovely to see a room full of friends, Donors, Donor Advisors, supporters, Professional Advisors, and community members who hold us accountable and share our vision for the Community Foundation.

Our 2011 Annual Report was released, showing our financial statements and details of the over $79,000 granted in 2011. This year’s report celebrates valued Donors, highlights our 22 Funds and their Granting, as well as speaks to our annual rate of return which has been a challenge in this investment market.

You will also find a presentation of all our Granting to Date….a whopping $206,300.63 broken down by area of focus.

See the full colourful 8pg. ANNUAL REPORT HERE

For more detailed accounting of our finances, read our complete Audited Statement HERE




It’s Official…..

Expedition Elgin 2012

Sunday, August 12th

St. Thomas, ON

Challenges that you won’t soon forget!!

So, mark your calendars and put your team together, ….and start training!


Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation
2012 Annual General Meeting

Date: Tuesday May 22nd
Time: 4pm
Place: St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre, 301 Talbot St., St. Thomas

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Similar to previous years, we will begin at 4pm with a short business meeting, and after a refreshment break we will celebrate generous donors, new funds, highlights of 2011, exciting plans for 2012, and meet our new Board of Directors!

We would appreciate your RSVP

Looking forward to seeing you,



When Angela’s friend convinced her to join the YMCA she was shy, quiet and didn’t feel comfortable talking to people she didn’t know. Now, 2 years later, she can’t imagine her life without the YMCA. She brings her two children, five days a week to swim, use the Stay-And-Play and Mini Y Programs while she participates in the fitness programs.

Angela is a single mom and was happy to hear about the financial assistance program through YMCA Strong Kids. “The Y has provided routine in my life, which makes my children and me healthier. I don’t know what I would do without the Y”, says Angela.

She never had these opportunities when she was a child and without the help of YMCA Strong Kids, she wouldn’t be able to offer it to her children. During her time at the Y, Angela has grown as a person and has become more confident. Her kids have learned how to swim and love playing with their friends.

The Sweetgrass Fund of the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation is a generous contributor to the YMCA Strong Kids program!


James Patrick O’Grady had a love of sports and the friendships that it provided. Over his life time he participated in many sports from square dancing as a child to golfing in his adult years. He was willing to try many sports and always took advantage of the opportunities that were available in his walk through life. In high school he was on the basketball and volleyball teams. In university he joined the wrestling club. Once he moved to Alberta and started his career with the Royal Bank he participated in downhill skiing, tennis, and fastball with his friends and colleagues.

He had a special love of baseball and played second base in a fastball league for the Royal Bank.

Jim O’Grady was born and grew up just outside of St. Thomas. He attended school at Mary Buck, St Raphael and St. Joe’s. He graduated from the University of Windsor.

Jim was always a hard worker and would always give his best in any endeavour that he started. He worked in tobacco, at Clarke Equipment and the Bank of Montreal prior to graduating from university. Following his move to Alberta he worked a short time in retail and then started his career with the Royal
Bank. He eventually left the bank and took courses to get his CGA designation. He started to work with a small survey company that did work in the oil patch. He became the CFO of this company and various other oil patch related companies. He enjoyed going into a company , helping it get up and running smoothly and then move on. Jim enjoyed a challenge and once he had things working well he would be looking for the next challenge.

He believed if you were going to do something you should do it well and he would always strive to improve whatever he was doing. He would never ask anyone to do something that he wasn’t willing to do himself. He believed in giving people the tools that they needed to do their jobs well.

Jim was a quiet behind the scenes kind of person who would never ask for anything for himself and would give what he had if he thought someone else needed it more. He was always willing to help his friends out in their time of need.

His wife Mary Jane wanted to honour his memory by creating an endowment fund that would contribute to “registration and equipment costs for children who would otherwise not be able to participate (in sports) due to lack of funds”. In this way she is helping Jim to pass on his love for the game whether it be in sport or life to the next generation ,…and the next.

The first grants from this new Fund will partner with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of St. Thomas-Elgin and provide baseball registration and equipment for two ‘little brothers’ who would not have had the funds to participate in the sport they love.

The Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation is honoured to hold and manage this legacy in memory of Jim O’Grady.


News Release February 14, 2012


Community Foundation Granting Reaches $206,300.63!

Elgin County residents are most certainly generous! The many generous hearts and donors who work with the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation have granted $79,038.23 in 52 separate grants to Elgin County charities and scholarships to local students in 2011. This brings our total granted to date to $206,300.63 while holding our community capital intact!

“This is an incredible milestone” says Board Chair Junee Monteith. “It is a real honour to be working with such community minded people and building such wonderful legacies in Elgin County”.

The 52 Grants in 2011 covered a wide range of charities including the Caring Cupboard, Inn out of the Cold, Talbot Teen Centre, Elgin Theatre Guild, YMCA, Community Living Elgin, United Way, STEGH, and included many post-secondary educational scholarships to Elgin County students.

“Some of these grants are from unrestricted funds like our Community Fund” says Executive Director Karen Laine, “However the lion’s share of granting is from individuals or families through their Donor Advised Funds. Family philanthropy is so inspiring to me,…..a great model to teach younger generations about community,…when all the generations discuss and decide together who they will grant to this year. Very exciting.”

“The grants from the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation are so important to us here at the Talbot Teen Centre” says Coordinator Sherry Ball. “They are one of the few granters that provide support to fill the gaps or do innovative new programming that does not always fit in standard grant relationships.”

Any charity in Elgin County is eligible to apply for grants. The deadline for student scholarships is June 01st, and for Community Fund applications is Sept 30th each year. “We try our best to match need with donors” says ED Karen Laine. “It is always worth submitting an application, and keeping us aware of your organization’s funding needs.”

The Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation started building endowment funds in 2005, and now holds over $789,579 in community assets.

Visit our website at www.escf.ca to see a full list of 2011 grant recipients, donors and families who’s BIG HEARTS and generosity we celebrate this Valentine’s Day!

Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation’s Mission is “To strengthen the community for the benefit of all by fostering the growth

of community philanthropy; giving opportunities to benefactors to leave a lasting legacy for future generations; building and prudently managing community endowments; and addressing the needs of the community through strategic grant making and organizational support”.

Endowed Funds are held into perpetuity, and a portion of the interest earned each year is granted to address emerging need and support charitable activities in our community. Quickly becoming one of Canada’s largest grant-makers, collectively the 177 Community Foundations across Canada now hold over 3 billion in assets and distribute over 140 million annually.