Five local charities receive booster grant funding from Dufferin Community Foundation

December 22, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Dufferin Community Foundation (DCF) has provided five local charities with funding through their Booster Grant program.

The five charities have each received $2,000 in funding through the booster grants, which are sponsored by a local business or person who contributes the full amount of the grant.

“We had a record number of applications this year – three times more than last year. This says something about the needs in our community and the breadth of valuable programs helping people out,” said Michele Fisher, executive director of Dufferin Community Foundation. “Our Grants Review Team had a real challenge in making the final selections.”

The Shelburne Hamper Program, a long-standing program in the community for over 50 years, is using its $2,000 boost to purchase grocery gift cards for holiday hampers that will help more than 160 families, singles, and seniors (close to 500 individuals) this season. This year, the hampers will be stuffed with food, gift cards, mitts, hats, socks, and toys. 

“Receiving this Booster Grant means we can make a significant and meaningful difference in families’ lives for the holiday season,” said Bobbi Ferguson, co-president of the Rotary Club of Shelburne, the organization that organizes the hamper program. “After some very difficult years and the ever-increasing cost of living, being able to say, ‘Don’t worry about food and gifts for your kids…we’ve got you covered,’ means we have done our job as a community and have really helped those in need.”

Scientists in School will be utilizing their $2,000 booster grant to initiate a new project in Dufferin County that will enrich student learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The new project will provide six virtual STEM workshops to local schools, benefiting 150 students, and will focus on essential learning skills such as critical thinking, analyzing information, creating solutions and evaluating outcomes.

“This Booster Grant investment will help to deepen the impact for our mission to ignite scientific curiosity in young learners. Engaging, investigative classroom workshops in local elementary schools will help heighten STEM confidence and interest, and build bridges to bright futures,” stated Cindy Adams, executive director for Scientists in School.

This past summer, Am Braigh Farm launched a new program, called Trust Yourself Garden, that taught refugees how to grow their own food. Over 14 weeks, participants took home between four and five grocery bags of fresh food a week. In partnership with the Parish of St. John, East Orangeville, the project also matched refugees with local volunteers to further help them. With the booster grant, Am Braigh Farm is purchasing equipment to accommodate more families for the summer of 2023, and hosting a series of evening events throughout the winter.

“The goal of our program is to address the food insecurity faced by recent refugees as they grapple with learning English, finding housing and securing jobs,” said Jamie Richards, owner of Am Braigh Farm. “The food they grow is a huge supplement to them, as many work at minimum wage jobs.”

Dufferin Hi-Lands Bruce Trail Club (DBTC) and Streams Community Hub have created a unique collaboration, known as The Conservation Awareness Project, which is fully funded by the booster grant. The project will provide local youth with the opportunity to gain video production and content creation skills while developing original content promoting conservation efforts for DBTC’s website and social channels.

“This partnership provides positive, inclusive opportunities for youth to participate in the conversation of the Bruce Trail through video production and live streaming technologies. We are excited about this opportunity to work with the youth at Streams,” said Susan Bate, president of DBTC.

Creative Partners on Stage (CPOS) will be using the grant to purchase four body mics so that neurodiverse actors, who have difficulty projecting their voices, can still be heard on stage. The body mics will ensure that actors who can’t forcefully project their voices can still be heard at an equitable volume. Community Living Dufferin and Theatre Orangeville have had a long-time partnership that provides neurodiverse actors with the opportunity to showcase their talents through two one-act plays, working with professional actors, directors, and choreographers

“One of the main objectives of Creative Partners on Stage is to provide neurodiverse actors with the same level of live theatrical experience as Theatre Orangeville’s professional actors – from the first day of rehearsal to the final bow on closing night. These body mics will allow our actors to have a bigger voice on stage,” said Robert Bingham, executive director for Community Living Dufferin.

After five years, Dufferin Community Foundation will be ending the Booster Grant program, which was created as a way to give much-needed funding to local charities while the organization built its endowment funds.

“We are exceptionally grateful to our sponsors for making the Booster Grant program possible during our formative years,” said Gord Gallaugher, chair of Dufferin Community Foundation. “We also thank all the charities that applied for a grant this year. To see the positive work they are doing across the county is both humbling and inspiring.”

Beginning in 2023, the Dufferin Community Foundation’s grants will be generated from the annual income of its permanently invested charitable funds.

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