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Two Creative Community Fun(d)-raisers Tell Their Story

Jason Thompson (left) and Athol Gow (right) presenting $1000 toward the Vital Signs project to Centre Wellington Community Foundation Chair Randall Howard (centre).  (photo by: Jakob Thompson)

Jason Thompson (left) and Athol Gow (right) presenting $1000 toward the Vital Signs project to Centre Wellington Community Foundation Chair Randall Howard (centre). (photo by: Jakob Thompson)

Athol Gow of Elora and Jason Thompson of Fergus are just two fundraising guys. “Our goal is twofold: to create unique food and drink experiences that we’d like to go to, with the purpose of giving back to our community”, Gow explains. The pair recently organized two local fundraisers and they don’t anticipate stopping any time soon.

brewery-tour-at-fandm2The Craft Brew Rendezvous, held last Oct. 25th 2014 was their first event – a bus tour of local craft beer breweries in the Centre Wellington-Guelph area. Deemed a success by participants, they also raised $500 for the Centre Wellington Community Foundation.  There are plans to host a second Craft Brew Rendezvous in Fall 2015.

altburnsnite2015Their second fundraiser was an Alt-Burns Supper, held at the Shepherd’s Pub in Elora on Jan. 24th 2015. The event raised another $500, which Gow and Thompson also donated to the Centre Wellington Community Foundation (CWCF).  And yes, they are planning a 2nd annual Alt-Burns Supper in 2016.

When asked why they choose to donate to CWCF, Thompson replies, “When it comes to fundraising, we are focused on ‘Think Locally, Give Locally’.  Our local Foundation is a young organization that is supporting some great local grassroots community initiatives through their mini-grant program.  Both Athol and I like that aspect of the organization.”

Some examples of successful mini-grants involve supporting a salad bar program at JD Hogarth School, a ukulele music program at John Black School, a cultural/historical monument in Fergus, Let Kids Play program helps those less fortunate access sporting programs and the Elora Art Walk to name a few.  The 2015 mini-grant applications are due April 30th, 2015. For more examples of mini-grants and/or to apply for this year’s granting cycle, click here on the CWCF website.

The Centre Wellington Community Foundation is a local volunteer organization that is committed to community philanthropy.  The Foundation can be viewed as the helpful link between donors and the causes most important to them.  Donors can give cash, appreciated stocks, real estate, life insurance policies or other assets and most charitable gifts have beneficial tax advantages for the donor.

This year CWCF is coordinating a local Vital Signs campaign. Vital Signs is a community check-up resulting in a comprehensive, reader-friendly report highlighting how our community is faring in key quality-of-life areas.  The process of a Vital Signs campaign will bring together many people involved in various initiatives to start a community conversation.  Where the report – to be released in October 2015 – is the product, the consultations, conversations and information gathering is the process.  Both are important elements to learn more about our community in a more holistic way.  You can learn more about Vital Signs at http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca

Gow and Thompson have earmarked their $1,000 donation to CWCF to help sponsor the Vital Signs initiative.  Vital Signs represents the start of a broad community conversation that they feel will help determine gaps and needs in the community which will help organizations including CWCF focus their priorities and giving.  Moreover, Vital Signs will hopefully create new partnerships and develop deeper relationships across the various community initiatives.

Thompson suggests, “Whether you are an individual, a small business or a large organization, if you’re looking to support a local initiative, donating to CWCF is a great way to insure that your fundraising is meeting local needs.”

Athol Gow and Jason ThompsonContact CWCF to find out how you can help promote Vital Signs, donate to specific funds or support the mini-grant program. If you’d like to get onto the email list for upcoming events by Gow and Thompson, contact agow@uoguelph.ca and/or jason.thompson@uoguelph.ca