New Club Inspires Philanthropy

New Club Inspires Philanthropy

Written by Craig Pearson (The Windsor Star)

New club aims to have 100 people donate total of $2.5 million

It’s an exclusive club with a twist — not about networking but giving. The newly launched Inspiration 100 seeks to assemble a group of philanthropists who commit to giving $25,000 over 10 years for a total of $2.5 million.The brainchild of the WindsorEssex Community Foundation, the Inspiration 100 will help the community many ways — in perpetuity. The $2.5 million will help boost the Community Foundation’s endowment fund, which already stands at more than $12 million and provides grants every year to a wide range of local charitable efforts. “The benefit of this will be huge,” said Marty Solcz, past chair of the WindsorEssex Community Foundation who came up with the idea. “There are infinite possibilities.”

The Inspiration 100 concept is simple: members agree to donate $2,500 a year for 10 years, or $20,000 up front. The group then meets every year to decide how to give out the money. The capital will remain in the endowment but the interest on investments — Solcz said the Community Foundation averages about six per cent growth a year — is available to boost local charities. Solcz hopes to franchise the concept to other community foundations — 195-strong across Canada — which would share the fun and even bring in a little more locally. Solcz’s goal for Inspiration 100 stretches further than just raising money in a unique way. He hopes to increase awareness about the WindsorEssex Community Foundation, which has a strange problem for something that has been doling out cash for three decades: it’s not that well-known. “Most community foundations have the same problem we do, which is people often don’t know about us,” said Solcz, chairman of the Solcz Group which includes Valiant Corp. “So we believe if we can get 100 people intimately involved with the foundation through Inspiration 100, they will spread the good word about us.”

Gabrielle Smith/The Windsor Star
Ross Clarke, left, and Marty Solcz show Inspiration 100 merchandise

In 1983, Mayor Bert Weeks, Charles Clark Sr., and Clifford Hatch Sr., established Heritage Windsor, the beginning of the local Community Foundation. Originally, the philanthropic group focused on improving the riverfront, though charitable funding soon grew.Besides providing grants, the WindsorEssex Community Foundation runs local initiatives such as Random Act of Kindness Day and Vital Signs, which takes the pulse of the community. Inspiration 100 is the latest do-good effort. “There are people out there who would like to be part of a group that does big things,” said Solcz, whose family has a history of philanthropy. “With Inspiration 100 you get a new community. You will be warmly welcomed into the company of 99 other like-minded individuals who have philanthropic ideas and want to do it a lot bigger than they could themselves.”

When interest on investment is factored in, Solcz hopes the Inspiration 100 money will grow to $3 million or $3.5 million in 10 years. Solcz has worked on his big idea since last year, when he first started making presentations on it. Inspiration 100 was only officially launched a week ago, however, but already has 12 members. One of those is Ross Clarke, owner of Clarke Surveyors, who liked the idea instantly.“I heard about it through a presentation Marty Solcz did at Rotary 1918,” Clarke said. “I was impressed with what they wanted to do. And Marty should be congratulated for making it happen. It’s a great initiative.”

If you would like to be a part of this exclusive opportunity to support our community, or would like more information about the Foundation, please contact us today at 519-255-6572 or e-mail info@wecf.ca

Posted by Kyrsten

Spotlighting our Impact

2014 Fast-Track Recipient – Canadian Mental Health Association: “Youth Summit”

The WindsorEssex Community Foundation granted $1,000.00 to the Mental Health Association to aid in the “Mental Health Youth Summit” event held on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at the Ciociaro Club in Windsor, involving 300 local high school students.IMG_1480

The event included group talk on topics such as substance abuse, anxiety and depression, with the goal of encouraging conversation about mental health and to reduce stigma. Other activities throughout the event included yoga, writing, dance, and music with the intention of demonstrating the many ways of helping to cope with mental illness.

Kim Willis (Senior Manager, Fund Development and Community Engagement) noted, “I cannot stress enough how amazing it was…great example of a collaborative effort in this community.”

The WindsorEssex Community Foundation was pleased to be part of such an innovative and successful event.

Posted by Kyrsten

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Community Impact Grants Awarded at the WECF Annual General Meeting November 2014

On Monday, November 24th the WindsorEssex Community Foundation held its Annual General Meeting. This night included the cheque presentation of the Community Impact Grants. Each year many different organizations apply to us for a Community Impact Grant, which provides funding up to $15,000.00. This year we received 50 applications overall. Unfortunately we’re not able to fund every project, so deciding which ones to select is never an easy task. We received a lot of truly great applications that involved very impressive and impactful projects for the Windsor and Essex County region, so we encourage all those who did not receive funding this year, to re-apply again in the next year. Applications for the Community Impact Grants will be available during July 2015.

On Monday, Glenn Stresman officially passed over the reigns to  Lisa Kolody as our new Executive Director. As well, Marty D. Solcz passed his chairmanship over to Fred Quenneville as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors. Marty will still remain on the Board of Directors to fulfill his duty as Past-Chairman, taking over Susan A. Easterbrook’s position as she officially retired from her place on the Board.

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2014 Community Impact Grant Recipients:

FIREHORSE LEADERSHIP ORGANIZATION $15,000.00

MARYVALE CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH CENTRE $15,000.00

WINDSOR RESIDENCE FOR YOUNG MEN $15,000.00

ARTS COUNCIL WINDSOR & REGION $10,000.00

CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION $10,000.00

ALZHEIMER SOCIETY OF WINDSOR & ESSEX COUNTY $6,000.00

CANADIAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE BLIND (CNIB WINDSOR) $5,000.00

FORGOTTEN HARVEST CANADA $5,000.00

WINDSOR ESSEX COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME $5,000.00

CONNECTIONS AN EARLY YEARS FAMILY CENTRE INC. $4,000.00

For more information on our grant programs, please visit: http://www.wecf.ca/grants.html

Also, please check out our article in the Windsor Star: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/with-more-than-5-2-million-in-grants-foundation-keeps-on-giving

1654817_748636498518059_8738974079692606567_oFeatured in the picture above from left to right is Marty D. Solcz (Past-Chairman of the Board of Directors), Lisa Kolody (WECF Executive Director), Glenn Stresman (Past Executive Director), and Fred Quenneville (Chairman of the Board of Directors)

Special thanks to the Windsor Star for their article, and Snap’d Windsor for these photos.

Posted by Kyrsten

Why Do We Have Random Act of Kindness Day™?

On November 7th, 2014 the WindsorEssex Community Foundation, and the Windsor and Essex County community as a whole, took part in Random Act of Kindness Day™. If you are not already familiar with “RAK Day”, it is a day in which the WindsorEssex Community Foundation encourages individuals from around the community to engage in acts of kindness. This could involve many different things, such as holding a door open for someone, to donating sports equipment to local schools, buying someone a coffee, or giving someone a compliment. No matter how small or big the acts are, they all have one common denominator: kindness. Such a simple concept, but over and over again I hear from individuals: “Random Act of Kindness Day™? I do random acts of kindness all the time!” Usually followed up by: “why do we need a day to tell people to be kind if we’re already doing this?” The answer is simple. The point of Random Act of Kindness Day™ is merely intended to celebrate doing kind acts for others in our community, and at the same time, encouraging others to “pay it forward”. Like any other special day we celebrate in our community, Random Act of Kindness Day™ serves as a tiny reminder for the rest of the year. Our lives may get busy throughout the year, but on November 7th we are reminded to be kind and to pay it forward.

Posted by Kyrsten

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What are you doing for your community?

By Rebecca Taylor

Presenting the cheque to Ms. Seal's class at Hugh Beaton

KidStart Presentation for Ms. Seal’s Kindergarten class at Hugh Beaton

I was recently hired as the temporary administrative assistant at the WindsorEssex Community Foundation.  Needless to say it was surprising to learn what a community foundation actually does, but most surprising was what projects they have done and what projects they fund.  They have spent years beautifying the riverfront with the Peace Fountain, Bert Weeks Fountain, the Peace Beacon, and Charles Clark Square.  Each year they also fund community projects through their Community Impact Grant (CIG) program and the KidStart Mini-Grant program with the school boards.

Being at the foundation for the CIG and GECDSB KidStart program processes has given me more respect for the administrative side of getting a grant ready and implementing it, but it has also given me a warm fuzzy feeling about the direction our community is headed in.

KidStart Presentation for Ms. Thwaites and Ms. Antovski’s Kindergarten classes at W. G. Davis School

KidStart Presentation for Ms. Thwaites and Ms. Antovski’s Kindergarten classes at W. G. Davis School

I have attended KidStart cheque presentations for the last two days, and the enthusiasm and passion these kindergarteners have for their projects and their community astonished me.  I could really see the joy these kids felt being able to help other people with their projects.  I feel inspired by these children to play a role in making our community an even better place to live.  I challenge each and every one of you dear readers as well to see how you can get involved and help Windsor and Essex County become a better and more caring community.

To learn more about the WindsorEssex Community Foundation’s grant programs, please click here.

A daily reminder of Random Acts of Kindness

Every day when I leave the Community Foundation’s parking lot, I am reminded that random acts of kindness abound. Our parking lot opens on to Ouellette Ave. by the railroad underpass. For most times of the day, merging into traffic is manageable. However by the afternoon rush hour, traffic is bumper to bumper, stop and go, with no opportunity for cars entering to merge into the traffic stream.

So I pull up to the edge of the line of traffic, expecting to wait forever, but within the span of one or two cars passing, a driver slows down and motions for me to slide into the stream ahead of him or her. It never fails – every day I see people helping other drivers with simple, random acts of kindness that speed up their ride home.

About 100 meters down the road, there is another traffic bottleneck, so I look for the opportunity to pay it forward.  I slow down and look for the opportunity to let someone move into traffic ahead of me.

On November 1, we will celebrate Windsor’s 4th annual Random Act of Kindness Day and I will gladly tell the server at the Tim Horton’s line that I am buying coffee for the driver behind me in hopes that the person receiving it is one of the countless drivers who are so courteous on our stretch of Ouellette Ave. on busy afternoons. I can hardly wait!

Sincerely,
Glenn Stresman

What’s in Store for Philanthropy in 2012?

What’s in Store for Philanthropy in 2012?

Times they are a changing,” Bob Dylan.

This past year it seems that we have discovered philanthropy.  We always knew that people gave to causes they cared about.  We always knew that we could help others by donating our time and skills.  We always knew that there were organizations focused on charitable works.  But it seemed that the charitable sector was always the quiet one.

This past year, charitable giving has attracted much more attention.  I have seen articles covering a broad range of topics including: the future of volunteerism in Canada, the need to legislate salaries for executives in the not for profit world and, how to protect yourself from solicitations by unscrupulous charities.  As a measure of increased interest in the sector, The Globe and Mail published an excellent series of articles in October about the evolution of philanthropy.  The Globe now runs a regular column written by Craig and Marc Keilburger.

Where in times past we decided on which charities to give to based on our own experiences, we now trust organizations like Charity Intelligence Canada and GuideStar (US) to tell us which charities that ask us for donations are the most effective.

So why are times in the charitable sector changing?  I will put two reasons forward.  The first, I suggest, is that the need for the work of the charitable sector is more visible that it ever was before.  The effects of the economic troubles together with the reporting of the many natural disasters that have overtaken us in the past several years have put the need for charity vividly before us.

The second is that we now realize how big the charitable sector in Canada is.  Charity has become big business and continues to grow.  The upside to the growth is that there are more funds available for the sector to work with.  The downside to the growth is that the sector attracts more people preying on our good intentions.

So what is to become of the charitable sector?  For those of us who work in charities, we know that we need to be more efficient and more effective as we look to what we do.  Our donors expect us to be duly diligent.

However, I also see that we are still being driven by our sense of responsibility to contribute to the wellbeing of those around us.  Charities will continue to be the solid third pillar in our society.

So with deference to Bob Dylan, my final thought is this.  While times today continue to change, the core philanthropic values that have motivated us in the past remain in place.  We will continue to support the many good works the sector does.

Best wishes for 2012!

Sincerely,
Glenn

Glenn Stresman

Glenn Stresman is the Executive Director of the WindsorEssex Community Foundation and has over 20 years experience in both writing and evaluating grant applications.

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