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2019 Project Grants

On May 13th, 2019, the Centre Wellington Community Foundation held our eighth annual Community Gathering held at Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum and Archives. This event is a chance to update the community on what CWCF has been up to in the past year, introduce our Project Grant recipients for 2019 and a great place for people to network with other community-minded individuals.

We are proud to say we granted more Project Grants (14) this year than ever before. This is exciting as we are a relatively young Community Foundation, and this shows positive progress and growth. This year’s grants were supported by Micklebring Fund, Kate and Margot Community FundCedarcliff Fund, Elma and David Jack Youth Recreation Fund, & Middlebrook Community Fund. We are pleased to be able to support a diverse and innovative cross-section of projects, highlighting our community at its best.  Our descriptions are a bit different this year as well. As with last year, we’ve included a short project description and have added a “background” section if you’d like to read more details about the project. We also include links wherever possible.

The top photo is of all our wonderful community minded grant recipients. The photo above features our generous fund holders who make it possible for us to provide grants to the community.

So, without further delay, here are the 2019 Project Grant recipients.

Micklebring Fund GRANT RECIPIENTS:

(It encourages the creation and appreciation of the arts in the Township of Centre Wellington. Granting from this fund will focus on literary, performing, visual and culinary arts.)

The Natural Gems project invited artwork from CWDHS students to build a multimedia Story Map documenting our noteworthy trees. Some work was included in the ECFTA’s June youth exhibition in support of Mental Health. 

Background: In 2018, we ran a very successful Tour the Trees bicycle ride during which riders stopped at twelve sites, where local interpreters told a story about the tree or the site.

What do we hope to achieve?

To capitalize on the Tour, we are creating a Story Map that will accommodate videos, text and images to capture historical information, scientific facts and evocative impressions of these trees. 

Why is it important?

Multiplying the ways that we see trees helps foster greater appreciation. If this appreciation can take hold in youth, it will last a lifetime and serve to improve our surroundings. We are continually adding to our knowledge of how trees contribute to our well-being. Scientists and researchers place outdoor activities like forest bathing and walking through treed areas at the top of the list of beneficial activities. For this reason, we are reaching out to young people in our community. 

How do we plan to engage our youth? 

In April, as trees are beginning to leaf out, students will visit the trees that were featured on the Tour and learn more about them. We are inviting CWDHS art students to submit paintings, photography, sculpture and poems inspired by any of these trees. Some of this artwork will be included in the Story Map. 

As a fortuitous adjunct, the Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA) Planet Youth exhibit in June is featuring the power and resiliency of trees in supporting mental health. CWDHS entries will be included and judged by the ECFTA, and winning entries will be featured in the show.

What is the anticipated impact?

Placing our old and storied trees in the limelight can lead only to more understanding and appreciation of them. Of the eighty or more students coming to see the trees, many will create artwork inspired by their interpretations. Families and friends of the artists will be keen to see the display. Sponsors and dignitaries will attend, and the completed Story Map will draw in even more. And because other organizations pay attention to what Neighbourwoods is up to, the influence of this endeavour may spread far beyond what we can anticipate.

The human beneficiaries will be every person who creates a part of the Story Map, views the Story Map or visits the Planet Youth exhibit. Additionally, the ECFTA will experience increased foot traffic. 

And, of course, the trees—who always benefit from the spotlight.


(Supporting a broad range of charitable activities in which financial grants from the Fund are leveraged by other support, including through significant volunteer commitment, to such charitable activities.)

  •  Organization: Portage – Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Centre for Youth
  • Project:  Community Engagement Program
  • Vital Signs Report Area of Priority: Belonging & Leadership  

The Portage Ontario Community Engagement Program invests in youth wellbeing through civic engagement and youth leadership, giving Portage residents renewed self-confidence and skills for success.

 Background: Youth who participate in the Portage Ontario Community Engagement Program have the opportunity to practice the competencies taught at Portage (such as communicating effectively; taking initiative; encouraging others; leading structured activities) with chose community members and organizations, which helps to slowly prepare them, while still in residential treatment, to reintegrate back into society.

According to Points of Light Institute’s Social Impact of Volunteers, “volunteering positively affects volunteers by increasing self-esteem, enhancing various skills and capabilities, expanding career paths, and being healthier physically and mentally.” These are barriers Portage youth currently face and are in need of in order to become meaningfully engaged in their communities after treatment. The Centre Wellington Community Foundation’s 2015 Vital Signs® Report also highlighted the need for ‘Belonging and Leadership,’ noting it had an ageing volunteer population and the issue of ‘high-risk behaviour’ when kids are not engaged. Our program embraces all these issues: whether volunteering in the community (at Riverfest Elora, Elora Writers’ Festival, Elora Festival, or Fergus Fall Fair); assisting other charities (e.g. Centre Wellington Food Bank); supporting another group (i.e. Fergus-Elora or CW Rotary Clubs and St. John the Evangelist Church), or speaking at high-school assemblies. Portage is fortunate to be part of such a tight-knit community.

Portage’s Community Engagement Program will benefit Portage’s mission and enrich the lives of all engaged residents who take part. Increased emotional and social strengths, newly acquired skills and community contacts made – via speaking engagements, help from volunteer mentors and community activities – will impact youths’ ability to find employment, enter post-secondary school and become successful and contributing adults. Audiences who become involved in our program will be positively impacted and know that vulnerable youth who are given a chance CAN become productive members of society. It is what Portage’s therapeutic community approach is all about.

Breakfast on the Farm cultivates awareness and appreciation for food and farming through a fun day emphasizing stewardship, food safety and good animal care practices.

Background: Breakfast on the Farm provides a unique opportunity for farmers and non‐farming visitors to have a conversation about food and agriculture. It gives guests the chance to visit a working dairy farm with the goal of bridging the disconnect between consumers and agriculturalists.  Now in its third year, the event was held on June 22nd, 2019, at the Cnossen dairy farm, just north of Elora.

There are four key components to the day:

  1. Visitors start with a Farmers’ Breakfast donated by agricultural organizations – eggs, sausage, baked beans, pancakes, milk and coffee prepared by the Alma Optimist Club volunteers.
  2. Self-guided tours with industry leaders ready to answer questions and provide demonstrations. Robotic milking, animal nutrition, newborn calves are highlights along with modern farm equipment so everyone can step inside to see a farmer’s office.
  3. Barnyard Buddies features a diverse range of livestock, including beef cattle, heavy horses, sheep, goats, chickens and new this year, pigs.
  4. The popular Barnyard Playground offers interactive activities and crafts for children. This includes milking a cow, seeing baby farm animals, as well as playing in a farmer’s sandbox. Children also can enjoy planting seeds which they can take home. The Barnyard Playground creates an authentic learning experience about the food we eat, where it comes from, the importance of agriculture in our community that is easily understood by all ages. The CWCF grant allowed the expansion of the Barnyard Playground to enhance our hands-on interactive activities.

Each year, 70-80 volunteers contribute more than 4000 hours. In 2017, 1000 people attended, and despite the bad weather, over 800 attended in 2018. An estimated 1,400 people attending 2019.


(Provides funding to develop and maintain arts and culture in Centre Wellington.  Grants may support operating and/or capital costs of organizations located or performing/showing in the Centre Wellington area.)

  • Organization: Elora Centre for the Arts
  • Project: Planet Youth
  • Vital Signs Report Area of Priority: Arts & Culture & Belonging & Leadership

A student exhibition that draws upon trees as creative inspiration, celebrating the strength, healing and resiliency found in trees; highlighting how we learn from them

Background: Our community is experiencing a rise in youth mental health challenges. In a recent Wellington Advertiser article (March 27, 2019), Waterloo-Wellington CMHA officials acknowledged the “suicide contagion can be a very real phenomenon with serious impacts on a community.” Kids need positive outlets and opportunities to build their resiliency, express their feelings and feel supported. At ECFTA, we utilize the restorative power of creativity to help students see the strength in our environment and within ourselves. The exhibition provides an opportunity to celebrate creative expression, learn about community resources supporting mental health, and allows the discussion about mental health to continue.

What is resiliency?

Resilience involves being able to recover from difficulties or change—to function as well as before and move forward. Many refer to this as “bouncing back” from difficulties or challenges. People who are resilient can effectively cope with or adapt to stress and challenging life situations. They learn from the experience of being able to effectively manage in one situation, making them better able to cope with stresses and challenges in future situations.

High School Juried Exhibition

Students will learn about and select one of the 12 identified trees in our community as their inspiration, in participation with the Neighbourwoods Tree Mapping project. Students submit photography, painting, sculpture or poetry, which a jury will review and select 12-16 pieces for the exhibition. This initiative will help engage the next generation of artists, community members and volunteers, as they participate in this engaging, creative process.

Elementary School Outreach

Schools have been identified that lack an art teacher and/or art program. Participating schools will receive two in-school, tree-themed art programs led by an ECFTA arts educator.

ECFTA is excited to welcome Neighbourwoods, local schools and artists, YouthTALK and Beautiful Minds as partners in this project.

Our short-length film illuminates fundamental philosophical questions regarding the female experience, erasing the boundary between what is considered contemporary and what is considered historic.

Background: The concept for this film came about when Emma began researching the era of witch hunting that occurred in Early Modern Europe. These historic accounts led her to question how violence of this nature (large scale and targeting a specific population) occurs within communities. She hypothesized that narratives play an essential role in how certain populations (i.e. women) are perceived, allowing widespread discrimination and gender-based violence.

It is essential that communities begin to re-examine these narratives, and in doing so, reframe their understanding of complex social inequities. There have been numerous studies done on the positive impact that art has on communities (particularly in a rural context), promoting social well-being, fostering relationships and facilitating inquiry. Because of the capacity that the arts have to inspire positive change, as well as the fact that art and narrative are deeply intertwined concepts, we have chosen to produce and present a film to our community.

We believe that this project will address several needs within our community. In light of the global #MeToo movement, instances of gender-based violence have been revealed across countless communities, including Centre Wellington. We believe that in order for our community to truly address this issue, we must examine the root causes. Moreover, by including local and emergent artists in the production process, we are providing a platform for youth voices, as well as addressing the issue of retention of young, educated adults that most rural communities in Canada face. Finally, by both producing and presenting our film in local spaces, we will create an opportunity for members of the community to share space and celebrate community artwork.

Community Birdhouses/Bird Feeders project — an activity that teaches woodworking skills and provides opportunity for participants to build and create. These can be distributed around the community and give recognition and awareness to the “ABILITIES” of individuals living with disABlLlTlES. It will also give participants self-esteem and a feeling that they contributed to their community parks/trails and helped the environment.

*Mural Project— “Art Therapy” is valuable. Research shows that it helps with the following:

  • Reduces pain
  • Decreases symptoms of stress Improves quality of life.
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Stimulates mental function in adults with developmental disabilities and dementia.
  • Reduces depression.
  • Provides an opportunity for socialization. Fun for ALL ages and ABILITIES.

Background: Our Centre is wanting to expand our program and offer opportunities for participants to explore their passion and skills in woodworking. The construction of the birdhouses would take place in-house and in the community at John Black Public School in Fergus.

The mural will be led by the direction of our current “Supportive Arts” instructor from the Elora Centre for the Arts. It will be a ‘work-in-progress’ and will be set up in our Centre’s location and will be on-going until June 2019. It will involve people that visit our centre (i.e. Family members, friends, seniors, preschoolers from local daycares, etc.) It will demonstrate “Inclusion” by involving individuals of ALL abilities and ages. The goal of the mural project is to create a decorative piece of art for the centre that reflects our local native plant species and brings people together in a fun and creative way. We hope participants will develop new relationships among a variety of community members (i.e. students, preschoolers, seniors, family members, etc.). We also hope to foster the current friendships among peers.

  • Organization: Township of Centre Wellington
  • Partner: Elora Arts Council
  • Project: Creating Art in the Great Outdoors is for Everyone!
  • Vital Signs Report Area of Priority: Arts & Culture & Belonging & Leadership

Students and the Supportive Arts Group will participate in outdoor painting experiences in May with a show of their work at the Centre for the Arts on Saturday, May 18th.

Background: We believe that the arts are essential to human development and the well-being of society and that artistic expression is a powerful transformative element in the community, building identity, cohesion, and prosperity.

Plein Air offers a very special form of creativity, dealing with the wonder of changing light and the true sense of place and space being outdoors offers.  This is an opportunity not readily available to students.  It does not have to be a photographic image; it is about light and colour and emotion. 

Creating in the open air is a different experience from activities such as sports or exercise.  It is the opportunity to be still, observe and capture what you see.  Engaging students in an opportunity to feel and see a view outdoors is a wonderful way for them to translate their emotions and vision to paper.

We also believe that a plein air painting opportunity would bring a unique experience the 18 + Supportive Arts participants hosted by the Elora Centre for the Arts.   Again, a unique sensory creative event for each individual in the group.

In each case, the classes will be guided by art instructor and programmer, Judy Anderson.  Judy has worked with us to develop the program.  We have met with three teachers in three different public schools teaching three different age groups, Kindergarten, Grade 3 and Grade 6.

Judy also works regularly with the Supportive Arts Group and knows well their needs and capabilities.

There will be a show of the works for both the students and the Supportive Arts Group during our Plein Air Festival.  Parents, family and friends will have an opportunity to enjoy the art created.  After the show, the work may be taken home.  Some pieces will be selected to be part of the Planet Youth project at the Elora Centre for the Arts in early June.

Elma and David Jack Family Youth Recreation Fund:

(was created by the Jack family to honour the memory of their parents. Grants from the fund will be used to offer recreational opportunities to youth.)

  • Organization: Community Resource Centre
  • Project: Let Kids Play
  • Vital Signs Report Area of Priority: Belonging & Leadership

This game-based program helps children learn to read with the support of trained community volunteers working one-on-one with them in schools over a 10-week period.

Background: One of the differences between families with adequate income and those without is the number of things children can participate in.  Taking part in such activities can teach skills such as interpersonal skills, self-confidence, sportsmanship etc.   These are valuable life skills that will be of benefit to a child or youth throughout their lives.

By assisting with the purchase of supplies necessary for the completion of the activity, we are able to help ensure that children and youth can fully benefit from the experience.


(The aims to fund a broad spectrum of granting, primarily focused on the local Community. As future strategic granting initiatives emerge, the fund will aim to prioritize around such emerging needs.) 

Friday is “Celebrate You” day at Camp with a special excursion.  Funding from the Community Foundation would help subsidize the cost of this local outing.

Background: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Centre Wellington is expanding on successful and positive programming that is offered throughout the school year (Go Girls! And Game On!) as a unique summer camp experience in an effort to serve and engage more local children/youth (beneficiaries of Camp URU) and build a community of resilient confident adults (the impact).

Camp URU is a weeklong day camp open to all children ages 9 – 12 in our community. Big Brothers Big Sisters Centre Wellington seeks subsidies and grants to assist with camp costs. As such, the cost to attend camp is significantly lower than other local camps to ensure that the camp is accessible for those with financial barriers.   Subsidized spaces are also available providing families struggling financially with the opportunity to send their children to camp.

The camp programming provides exposure to a variety of activities that are engaging and fun in a positive, supportive, and inclusive environment. Campers, through their participation, will develop skills, confidence, and a sense of belonging with the support and guidance of the Camp Counsellors and their peers. Camp URU also conveys the message that physical activity and healthy lifestyles are fun, and the skills and values acquired can be incorporated into everyday life.  

On Friday, after a fun and inspiring week, campers participate in a “Celebrate You” day.  This includes an excursion to a local attraction.  This year we would like to take campers to Highland Pines Campground for the day.  It will give them an opportunity to experience something new, something fun while continuing to build on the excitement, learning, and self-discovery from the week.

Camp URU has been a popular summer camp serving 45 local youth last year alone.  Given our experience, we hope to serve 75 campers over 6 weeks this summer.

This program is designed to deliver age-appropriate backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies into the hands of children and youth living in low-income families.  Target: 300

Backgrounds: Education is one of the keys to escaping the cycle of poverty.  By providing the supplies above, children arrive at school ready to learn and on a more equal footing with other students.  The program also frees up some family income to be spent on other items required, such as new clothing, shoes etc.  We feel that students getting off to a good start have a better chance of success in the classroom and this will lead to better outcomes later in their lives.


This program is lead in conjunction with the Alzheimer Society as well as the Elora Legion.   It offers a networking opportunity and social/recreational programming to families with someone afflicted with a dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Backgrounds: This program is a pilot project started by the Alzheimer Society and the City of Waterloo in Waterloo Region.  We were able to transplant the program here with interest expressed by two families in Elora.   While Community Resource Centre staff provides social/recreational programming to those afflicted, the Alzheimer Society staff provide an opportunity for networking and educational sessions for those caring for someone with dementia. 

This provides families with much-needed respite but also ensures that the families have the up to date resources available to them.

The program contributes to the structure of the lives of those afflicted and a safe space where they can relax, enjoy the company of others and share their thoughts and ideas.  We recognize the past accomplishments and treat those with dementia with the dignity they deserve.

This game-based program helps children learn to read with the support of trained community volunteers working one-on-one with them in schools over a 10-week period.

Background: The percentage of a population that reads at an acceptable level is a predictor of the success of a community in maintaining economic growth and an excellent quality of life. Research shows that expanding early learning initiatives would yield a return of roughly $8 for every $1 spent. Reaching children early sets them on a path to success in school and in life.

 Letters, Sounds and Words helps young children learn to read. Each year, we continue to serve more children in Centre Wellington at the first sign of them struggling with their reading skills. As children progress through the program, their confidence and self-esteem grows. They see themselves as successful learners. The program builds community by encouraging those who live and work in the community to be involved. Last year, our program ran in over 15 schools across Wellington County, serving an average of 17 children/school. Approximately 277 children were served, with the help of 148 volunteers giving 2,653 hours of their time. Volunteers appreciate this program, as they feel like they belong in the school community. A grant from the Centre Wellington Community Foundation will help ensure this program continues in Centre Wellington Catholic schools specifically. It costs us approximately $100 to put each child through our program. Last school year, 27 children benefitted from the program at St. Joseph C.E.S. (Fergus) and St. Mary C.E.S. (Elora), with the help of 25 volunteers, giving 253 hours of their time. Gifts given in our regions directly support the children and families who live there. Our program supports work done in the classroom by teachers, providing a one-on-one learning opportunity for children.

This program also helps support the Vital Signs areas of reducing the gap between the rich and the poor and helps foster belonging and leadership in the community.

  •  Organization: Centre Wellington Food Bank
  • Project: Healthy Take-Out Soup
  • Vital Signs Report Area of Priority: Gap between Rich and Poor, Belonging & Leadership

Nutritious soup will be available for all Food Bank clients to help themselves on every client shopping day, which they can either consume-in-house or take home.

Background: This expansion of our Healthy Take-Out program will help meet the needs of our Food Bank clients. Clients have shown a great demand for pre-packaged, nutritious, and hot meals. This demand stems from the isolation and poverty Food Bank clients face.

Currently, our regular volunteers, along with our volunteer chef, prepare take-out meals in our community kitchen. Fresh produce collected from the Centre Wellington Community Garden is also used in the preparation of these meals. The result of this effort is that 100 meals are produced weekly at the Food Bank and are available to anyone during the week.

Aligning with our current focus, being our Healthy Take-Out Meal Program, soup is now offered on every client shopping day.  This soup offering is supplemented with homemade sandwiches prepared from donated buns and breads. If successful, the grant from the Centre Wellington Community Foundation will allow us to offer a second soup choice.

The soup program is already a success and clients have expressed a desire for a second soup option, thus the purchase of a second soup cooker/warmer is needed to make this possible. This additional soup/warmer will help us to not just provide another soup option to the 650+ individuals we support but will also assist us in providing soups and stews for the 20 yearly community dinners we prepare.

The cost of an “APW Wyott Classic Kettle Soup/Warmer” is $650 (tax included). We are also requesting an additional $300 for a stainless-steel table for the soup warmer to sit on. The total requested cost is $950. 


(This is our core non-restricted fund which can grant to a broad range of worthy causes in our community. As such, this fund is a great choice for those wishing to fund the widest spectrum of community initiatives)

A fresh salad bar program will offer hungry children the opportunity to access healthy food needed to improve their focus and learn better in school.

Background: Food & Friends is a preventative program committed to improving the learning capacity, health and well-being of children and youth aged 4 through 19 years through the provision of healthy food before or during school. Our program operates from September to June every school year. We intend to use the grant funds to start a healthy salad bar program at John Black Public School.

A study published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetic Practice and Research reports 98% of 3rd and 4th graders surveyed failed to consume the 5 daily servings of vegetables and fruits recommended by Canada’s Food Guide. For some of these kids, they aren’t given the opportunity to access these healthy foods at home, which can greatly benefit their ability to focus and learn in school. By introducing a salad bar program, it will not only encourage children to try new foods and make healthy choices but will also educate them on the importance of eating a healthy diet to fuel their brains.

The salad bar will be open to all 352 students if they choose to partake, as our Food & Friends programs are always non-stigmatizing and universally accessible to all children and youth. We never turn away a hungry child.