When the Community Foundation of Orillia and Area is successful, the community is, too.
That was evident Friday afternoon, when the foundation met for its annual general meeting and presented $29,800 in grants to multiple groups.
“2017 was another amazing year for the Community Foundation of Orillia and Area,” said foundation chair Michael Gordon.
The organization grew its assets by almost $1 million for the third consecutive year. Last year, it was able to hand out $200,000 to 52 local charities. This year, it is expected to grant almost $220,000.
Grants committee member Jodi Lloyd announced the recipients during Friday’s meeting at the Orillia Museum of Art and History.
“This is always the best part of what we do,” she said. “We have great debate over the grant applications that come in because we wish we could meet all of the demands.”
Many of them were met with this latest round of funding.
Lakehead University received $2,435. Allysha Wassegijig, Aboriginal initiatives co-ordinator at the Orillia campus, said the money would go toward a youth community gardens project, which will see Indigenous youth come to the campus once a week.
“That will be a wonderful project to empower our Indigenous youth,” she said.
The Comfie Cat Shelter will use its $400 to help with scanning cats that are brought to the facility, in the hope of finding a microchip and returning the felines to their owners.
A $1,200 grant will bring together members of the Orillia Air Cadets 99 Lynx Squadron and local veterans. The money will help cadets attend the annual Take a Vet to Dinner event.
“It’s a great experience for the kids to see the veterans,” said squadron chair Rick Purcell.
St. Paul’s Centre is getting $2,540, and Bruce McWhinnie said that will help St. Paul’s with video streaming, allowing the various groups that perform at the downtown venue to make their events available to those who cannot attend in person.
The Coldwater Canadiana Heritage Museum is also looking at new technology thanks the funding it has received: $1,895. It will be able to purchase software to digitize its collection.
“It’s time for the Coldwater Museum to make its collection accessible,” said Ellen Blauberg.
Horseplay Sanctuary near Warminster will be able to expand its programming thanks to $2,708 in funding. Horseplay partners with the Orillia Youth Centre to offer kids a horse-riding experience they might not otherwise be able to enjoy. The money will help with that program, but it will also enable Horseplay Sanctuary to offer something similar in partnership with the Green Haven Shelter for Women. The farm tried it out once, and it was a success.
“It was amazing to watch those women come out of their shell,” said Horseplay Sanctuary founder Lillian Tepura.
Other grant recipients: Couchiching Jubilee House ($3,500), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orillia and District ($2,400), Streets Alive ($1,000), St. James’ Anglican Church ($4,000), Orillia Youth Centre ($2,085), Information Orillia ($2,200), Orillia Youth Symphony ($2,446) and the Orillia Museum of Art and History ($1,000).
Find out more about the Community Foundation of Orillia and area here.