Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation

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Yearly Archives: 2017

“Our Full-Steam Ahead – Phase 1 Capital Restoration fundraising campaign is building momentum,” says Dawn Miskelly, Elgin County Railway Museum’s (ECRM) Executive Director, “Right now, we are working hard to replace the building’s 52,000 square foot, century-old roof.”
Operating for nearly 30 years out of the century-old Michigan Central Railroad Locomotive Shops in the heart of St. Thomas, ECRM welcomes more than 7,000 guests each year, and presents cultural events such as Railway Adventure Day, Railway Nostalgia Weekend, and a Day Out With Thomas.
To donate now, click here and select Elgin County Railway Museum.
For more information on the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation and their services – contact Terry Carroll, Executive Director at 519-637-8230, tcarroll@escf.ca

June Evangeline Anne Horton (nee Ernest) was born in Surrey, England in 1924. As a child she survived yellow fever, jaundice and cerebral meningitis. While working at a publishing house in London, England, she met Edwin Horton, a Canadian soldier in the Signal Corps. Their courtship spanned the war years with many leaves spent on Ted’s motorcycle. They married in 1946 and June set sail for Canada as a War Bride. It would be 22 years before she saw England again. She began married life on a farm outside Glanworth, Ontario. Together, June and Edwin raised a family of nine children, made more difficult by losing their house to a fire in 1966 and the untimely death of Edwin in 1973. Mom continued on as a single parent, until her children were grown and started families of their own. She volunteered for many years at the Dearness Home, she reported local items for the Lambeth News and was a prolific correspondent who maintained friendships for over 70 years. She was an avid reader, gardener and nature lover. She was passionate about ballet, loved a glass of wine and a good laugh. She made a home for a succession of cherished dogs, often strays. Always active, she continued to swim up until her last summer. She passed on to her children and grandchildren, the love of learning and reading. In her later years, while on a minimum pension, she could not turn down a request for donations, no matter the cause. She gave what she could to the SPCA, Men’s Mission, World Wildlife, MS Society – you name it, she would write a cheque. To carry on her giving nature, this fund is established with money from the sale of her family home and endowments will be made, in her name, to some of those same charitable organizations.

Donations are always welcomed to this Fund. The June Evangeline Anne Horton Fund was established to grant forever in the areas of ballet, animal welfare and kidney disease.

To donate now, click here and choose the June Evangeline Anne Horton Fund.


Great community supporters! Les Wares (left), CIBC Wood Gundy portfolio manager, and Lyndsey Dryburgh, CIBC general manager, both working at 440 Talbot St., St. Thomas, went together on a $500 gift presented to ESCF vice-chair Sarah Groeneweg and ESCF past-chair Shawn Jackson. Thanks for your wonderful Community Foundation support, Les and Lyndsey! For Elgin . Forever.

As communities across Canada welcome Syrian refugees displaced from their homes, Elgin County volunteers are working to support the resettlement of privately sponsored refugee families in our own community.

St. Thomas-Elgin has a long history of private refugee sponsorship and is well-prepared to welcome and integrate refugees into the community.  Several local churches, and agencies such as the YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin, have committed to sponsor families.

With the support of the YWCA Settlement Services and the St. Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership, a coalition of volunteers called “Unite For Refugees” has formed and is committed to sharing resources and strengths to support the refugee families as they start their new life.  Training has been provided to the many caring individuals in how to address needs for newcomers. A website has also been developed www.uniteforrefugees.org  that has many valuable resources for the community.

In support of local efforts the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation has established the ‘Elgin Welcome Fund’ and is accepting donations that will grant to charities providing support for refugees settling in Elgin County. Generous donations from ESCF Board Member Kathy Collier and from Doug Tarry Homes have helped to grow this fund. “The ongoing community support from Kathy and Doug Tarry Homes is unmatched,” said Community Foundation Executive Director Terry Carroll.

ESCF will issue charitable receipts for any donation of $10 or more. Please make cheques payable to Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation, or simply ESCF,

or click here to choose Elgin Welcome Fund and donate now.

 Looking for a fun, quick and exciting way to make a positive impact in St. Thomas and across Elgin County? Join ‘100 People Who Care’, a donor circle established by the Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation.

How does it work? The answer is simple: 100 People contribute $100 each. The Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation collects the funds and provide charitable donation receipts.

Once we have reached our 100 member pledges, local charities are invited to submit brief funding proposals to the Foundation. A short list of charities present project ideas to the ‘100 People Who Care’ at a special granting event. Each charitable organization has the opportunity to make a five-minute presentation to the membership to pitch what they would do with $10,000 to foster positive change in the Elgin-St. Thomas community. At the end of the evening, the 100 People Who Care vote, and the winning charity receives $10,000 that night!

“I was very happy to be one of the founding members of the ‘100 People Who Care’ in our community,” said Andrew Gunn, a member of the planning committee. “We have a lot of extremely talented people locally who are interested in supporting great causes, but may not have a lot of time to get involved with traditional service clubs. The ‘100 People Who Care’ approach solves this problem by offering a way to network with like-minded people, learn about charitable organizations in our community, and then make an immediate impact by supporting the best ideas.”

Watch for details as we get closer to this exciting evening.

The campaign started with modest intentions – support of paramedic colleagues Stephanie Romano and Denise Laing, and a pledge to print some t-shirts and donate the proceeds to programs that support first responders’ mental health initiatives. Very quickly news of their project spread and grew into an international call for support. They built a website with resource links, have sold mountains of merchandise through their online store and donated the proceeds – many tens of thousands of dollars – to those organizations who support first responders’ mental health.

Their website http://www.ivegotyourback911.com/ reads: “First Responders are twice as likely to suffer PTSD. There’s no need to suffer in silence. The help you need is here. This website offers resources and services for the First Responder community to understand the various steps of a PTSD program from managing a crisis through to implementing best practices into an existing program.” “Our granting has supported many worthy programs from therapy dogs to front line suicide prevention initiatives like TEMA’s documentary ‘The other side of the hero,” says Jill Foster co-founder of #IVEGOTYOURBACK911.

“We wanted to ensure we could continue to support these and other charities, and working with the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation allows us to take this to the next level.” The #I’vegotyourback911 Fund supports charities with a focus on first responders’ mental health, and builds a legacy that will continue granting each year in perpetuity.

A chance lunch date introduced Jean to Port Stanley where she purchased a home on the shore of her beloved Lake Erie. Jean was a woman ahead of her time. She was interested in the environment and organic farming decades before it became part of the public dialogue. She was keenly interested in politics, in particular the enfranchisement of women and First Nations. Her gentle spirit was combined with a fierce intellect, impeccable manners, graciousness, determination and a wicked sense of humour. Though Jean’s career as an RN inspired much of her work, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to ventures such as a family shelter, arts and crafts gallery, The Nellie McClung Academy- a residential girls’ school, and to create the products BellySling and SpineAlign. Jean’s home was her sanctuary and she loved to sit and look at the lake and think. Her ruminations led to many initiatives, including the creation of a local think tank. She served on the board of many community organizations and was recognized with a Central Elgin Cultural Heritage award for her work in establishing the Stork Club Museum and Interpretive Centre. Jean loved unconditionally and she created family wherever she was. Her loss continues to be felt by the many members of Jean’s families. Her favourite quote is attributed to her cousin, well known as a Canadian suffragette, Nellie McClung, “Never retract, never explain, never apologize – get the thing done and let them howl.”. This fund will be used to empower, educate and support women; especially those interested in a future in the political arena.

Two pieces of public art have been donated by a local family with deep roots in the community. The St. Thomas Elevated Park features two major pieces of public art thanks to a donation and commission from a family whose roots go back five generations in this city. The Elevated Park Project fundraising effort is a Managed Fund within Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation. The two metal sculptures were created by artist and blacksmith Scott McKay whose studio is in Lawrence Station. The works were donated to the Elevated Park project by Scott’s father, Ian, whose ancestors became prominent in the area as merchants, lawyers and publishers beginning in the mid 1800s.

The Bud and Melba Marr Fund has been established to support regional and local charities with a focus on health care, community and youth, and builds a legacy that will continue granting each year in perpetuity. Anyone who knows Bud and Melba will not be surprised. Bud was raised on the family farm in Frome. This farm has been in the family since 1837. Upon graduation from A.V.S.S. Bud continued to help his father on the farm but also worked full-time as a carpenter. After marrying the former Melba Morrow, they purchased their own farm and Bud became a full-time farmer. It was here they raised their 3 children, Julie, Scott, and Jamie. Bud continues to manage the farm’s operation. Bud has always been active in Frome Church, including from time to time choir and Sunday School superintendent. He proudly served on the Shedden Fair Board for a number of years and is a Past President. Bud’s community service eventually led to his election to Southwold Township Council, and he served two terms as Warden of Elgin County. In this position he served on all county committees as well as outside boards including the St. Thomas – Elgin General Hospital and the Elgin St. Thomas Health Unit. Bud was a trusted financial planner in the community for nearly 20 years. He has been active in many service clubs including Free Masons, and as a Charter member and Past President of the Rotary Club of London South. Melba too was raised on a farm in Southwold Township just north of Shedden. As her father worked 2 jobs as a bus driver and as a farmer, part of each year was spent in St. Thomas and part on the farm. She graduated from Balaclava St. School, St. Thomas Collegiate Institute and London Teacher’s College. Her first teaching position was Grades 1, 2, 3 at Fingal Public School. Two years later she married Bud Marr and moved to the Frome area. Two more years at Fingal and she resigned to be home with the children. During the next 10 years as the children grew, she supply-taught at local schools and supported community activities. In 1969, with the opening of the new Southwold Public School she returned to full-time teaching. While teaching her Grade 4 classes she enrolled as a part-time student at Western University and eventually received her B.A. degree. Among her community activities she has been a continual worker in many areas of Frome Church. She chaired the research committee searching for names of Southwold War Veterans for the memorial book and was a volunteer with the subsequent Remembrance Day services at the Southwold Keystone Complex. She currently serves on a committee to establish a much- needed library for Southwold Township. Since retirement, Melba has been a volunteer at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital. In August 1990 their farm took a direct hit from a devastating tornado with subsequent loss of buildings, equipment, and farm crops. Incredibly, by March 1991, a new house was built though clean-up continued for many years. It is clear that throughout their lives Bud and Melba have quite naturally enriched their community with the care they take in their work, with their contributions to their church, and community projects. In this same spirit of community their new endowment fund the Bud and Melba Marr Fund will continue to support local and regional initiatives that are important to them, and will enrich this community … forever.

The Community Foundation partnered with other non-profits at the Chamber’s October Business & Community Showcase. Our Fundraising Chair Sarah Groeneweg (centre) is joined at the Trivia Tunes Wheel by STEGH Foundation’s Paul Jenkins (left) and United Way’s Bobbi-Jo Gardiner.