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



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.


2014 Community Impact Grant Recipients:











For more information on our grant programs, please visit:

Also, please check out our article in the Windsor Star:

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


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!

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!


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.

A Grant from the Heart

NailsThe often quoted proverb, “For wont of a nail, a kingdom was lost,” reminds us that a small act can influence large events.  The writer of the proverb uses the story of King Richard III riding into battle unknowingly with his horse improperly shod. For that reason, the king’s horse loses a shoe, the king falls in battle and the kingdom was lost, all for the wont of a nail.  The point made is that small things often carry great importance.

In our Community Impact Grant Round this fall, one of the smallest grants that we provided is the proverbial nail that grows in importance far beyond what one would expect.

This fall, our grant review committee selected The Infant Memory Box Project to receive funds totaling $1,000.  These funds will purchase materials that high school students use to construct small wooden boxes – containers for precious remembrances for the parents who have lost infants and toddlers.  Whereas before the hospital staff and grief counselors from CMHA had to make do with only a plastic bag to present to the grieving parents, they now have a finely crafted wooden box, reflecting the care and concern of the young craftsmen and women who have fashioned it.

From time to time, people ask me how we decide which applications to fund.  My answer is that the grants review team members look for the potential impact that the project will make.  Experience has taught these skilled volunteers to look past the numbers and focus on how the project will build our community.

Each year, approximately 65 infants and toddlers die in hospitals in the Windsor-Essex area. The students and teachers from GECDSB high schools that craft these boxes to be used in the most trying of times do so because they care deeply about those around them who are struggling to cope. This is the essence of philanthropy. The Community Foundation is honoured to provide the funds for such a worthy project.

For more about this grant and others that were awarded this fall, go to our Grant Stories page.


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.