WindsorEssex Community Foundation Launches 2015 Vital Signs® Survey!

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Today we launched the 2015 Vital Signs® Survey. We are asking you to take the survey and let your voice be heard.The purpose of the Vital Signs® Survey is to collect data of Windsor-Essex residents’ views of local issues affecting their community. The results from this survey are combined with local and national data to provide residents with an all-encompassing “community check-up” on important issue areas affecting their community. The results from this survey will be used to construct the Vital Signs® Report, which will be released on October 6, 2015, highlighting local trends, with the intent to engage our community in the on-going dialogue about who we are, what we do, why we do it, and where it can lead. The Vital Signs® Report is the voice of the Windsor-Essex Community. Inspiring Philanthropy to Benefit our Community Today and Forever.

For completing the 2015 Vital Signs® Survey, you will have a chance to win a cash prize of 100 dollars. In order to be entered for a chance to win, you must first complete the survey, and then at the end of the survey you will be asked to provide your first name, e-mail address, and phone number.

Please visit www.wecf.ca to take the survey. Paper copies are also available by contacting the Foundation office 519-255-6572

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WECF Launches Youth Committee

The WindsorEssex Community Foundation is excited to launch its very own Youth Committee! The Foundation is looking for young leaders in the Windsor-Essex community between the ages of 12 to 18 to invest in their community. For an application please visit http://www.wecf.ca, or call 519-255-6572

For over 30 years the Community Foundation has been managing legacy funds, making grants to support local charities, and bringing community partners together.
“Inspiring philanthropy to benefit our community today and forever” #Inspiringphilanthropy

WECF Youth Committee Poster 2015

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’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.

The Right Tool for the Job

In 1917, Julius Rosenwald, president of the Sears Roebuck Company, used $70 million of his personal wealth to form the Rosenwald Fund. Rosenwald chose not to endow this fund, but rather decided that all of the $70 million was to be used for charitable purposes so that by the year 1947, the Fund would be gone. Rosenwald explained that he wanted to avoid “the tendency to bureaucracy” and other shortcomings that he saw coming with permanent endowment funds.

Some people today agree with Mr. Rosenwald and donate substantial amounts of money to establish funds that are to be used up in a set period of time. This year’s Federal Budget changed rules governing foundations to make these types of gifts easier for foundations and charities to set up and manage. Perhaps this is why we see more articles recently in the media advocating for self-depleting funds like the Rosenwald Fund.

But not everyone agrees with Mr. Rosenwald’s theory that permanent endowment funds automatically bring bloated bureaucracy whose sole purpose is “to prolong their existence indefinitely.”  As proof of the vibrancy of the custodians of permanently endowed funds, we can turn to foundations such as the Winnipeg Foundation, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and continuing to support the Winnipeg community vigorously and with great positive effect.

So, should you endow your philanthropic gift in perpetuity as many Canadians have done? Examples of these permanent endowments would be: the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, the Metcalf Foundation, and the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.  Or should you set up a self-depleting fund as Mr. Rosenwald did?

My advice is this. Since you have the option of using either means to achieve your philanthropic goals, I suggest that you use the one that will work best. Is there a specific problem that you want solved? If so, then set up a fund that will be finished when the task is completed. If your cause is one that will continue in perpetuity, then set up the fund to match. You even have the option of using both types of funds if you have the financial resources to do so.

Great Place to Leave A Legacy logoI have one more suggestion for you. Since community foundations have the expertise in establishing the types of funds that will best achieve your philanthropic goals and since they have the widest range of options to offer each donor, why not use them as the stewards of your funds? Remember, community foundations are great places to leave your philanthropic legacy.

Sincerely,
Glenn

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

When I Least Expected it – Kindness Appeared

When I least expected it – A Random Act of Kindness Appeared!

For the past year, I have been encouraging people to consider doing random acts of kindness. I have read many reports detailing the good things that have happened through the program we put in place last November. Yet I was flabbergasted when I was the recipient of the very thing I have been advocating.

Allow me to explain. I had just settled down for a five-hour flight on Air Canada. I was in the window seat in the last row of the crowded plane – seat #37A. When the flight attendant brought the snack cart by, I thought that I would buy a bag of cashews and offered the attendant a $5 bill as payment.

“Sorry sir,” she said. “Credit cards only.”

I thought to myself that this was no way to do business. Why should I use my credit card for such a small purchase? So I decided that I would protest by not buying anything. Then my seatmate took out his credit card and bought me a bag of cashews. When I least expected it, a random act of kindness appeared!

In retrospect, what so surprised me was the result of this simple act of generosity. For the rest of the flight, we had an extended conversation about many things. This gentleman went out of his way to make my day better and I was touched by it in a very positive way. To use and old adage, he made my day.

Random Act of Kindness Day logoWe are just starting to plan for Random Acts of Kindness Day 2011. While we use a single day to highlight caring, I am pleased to report that generosity happens every day in any number of good deeds done when people least expect it. Count me as one who has experienced it personally!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Check out these sites for more information on Random Act of Kindness Day: