London Community Foundation announces 2016 Community Vitality grants


London Community Foundation announces 2016 Community Vitality grants

Four local organizations are receiving a share of $1 million through grants announced by the London Community Foundation (LCF) at their fourth annual Community Vitality Celebration November 10.

Martha Powell, president and CEO of the LCF, said this year’s Community Vitality grant recipients are all highly collaborative, innovative local programs that were able to identify how their ideas are driving systemic change in London. The programs also address London issues the LCF has highlighted in their 2014 and 2016 Vital Signs reports.

“Tackling issues such as homelessness, mental health, belonging, poverty, and skills training, these projects are addressing some of our community’s most critical needs in ways that have never been done before,” she said. “These groups are really taking the lead in our community by being innovators in social change.”

This year’s recipients include Family Service Thames Valley, Pathways Skill Development and Placement Centre, VHA Home HealthCare, and the Boys and Girls Club of London. A description of their programs and funding is included below.

Five employees at various charitable organizations in London were also recognized with Vital People Awards, which comes with grants that will allow them to pursue professional development opportunities. The LCF chose Brittany Kinchen from Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario, Carolyn Underwood from Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex, Kathy Chute from Learning Disabilities Association of London Region, Sonja Dennis from Colborne Street United Church, and Sarah Montes from London Youth for Christ.

The Ivey Award for Excellence recognizes a London volunteer with a $2,000 grant donated to a charity of their choice. Jeff Macoun, a past chair of the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation’s Board of Directors, is this year’s recipient and will donate the money to Parkwood Institute.

The South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre also received a $500 donation from London student Majd Radhaa, the LCF’s choice for this year’s J. Allyn Taylor Award for Community Service. Majd immigrated to Canada from Syria four years ago and has volunteered at the South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre for the past three. He serves as both a youth director and the youth representative on the London Neighbourhood Resource Centre’s Board of Directors.

The LCF also announced the local projects that will receive support from the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th. The LCF’s parent organization, Community Foundations of Canada, in partnership with the federal government, is offering small grants boosting efforts to celebrate the upcoming sesquicentennial. 16 projects across London and Middlesex have received funds.

Finally, the LCF recognized four London volunteers with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, an honour created by the Crown and part of the Canadian Honours System. Recipients included Donna Bourne, Murray Faulkner, Fred Galloway and Glen Pearson.

London Community Foundation’s 2015 grant recipients

1. Family Service Thames Valley — Transforming the System Response to Mental Health Through Cross-Sector Collaboration

Grant amount: $377,070 over 2 years

What is it: This project will transform the system response to mental health in London and Middlesex by working collaboratively across organizations and sectors with mental health community partners to leverage resources and expertise.

2. Pathways Skill Development & Placement Centre — The London Community Woodshop

Grant amount: $190,000 over 2 years

What is it: A social enterprise in partnership with community groups and service providers offering skills development, social supports, therapeutic programming, and affordable memberships.

3. VHA Home HealthCare – London/Middlesex Country Hoarding Support Services Network

Grant amount: $186,000 over 2 years

What is it: The Hoarding Support Service Network will focus on building the capacity of community agencies in London and Middlesex to respond to low-income individuals who are struggling with serious hoarding issues jeopardizing their own safety (and possibly the safety of others) and their housing.

4. Boys and Girls Club of London — Youth Zone Project

Grant amount: $85,200 over 1 year

What is it: The main objective of the new Youth Zone Project is to ensure that youth have access to all opportunities to learn, grow and become prepared for life as independent adults and future leaders within our community.

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