Sprouting healthy citizens

Community starts early in the McQuesten neighbourhood, and that includes cultivating its young urban farmers through Sprouts Camp. Throughout the summer,  kids from this east Hamilton community attended the camp, focused around the neighbourhood’s urban farm.  McQuesten2 Camp days always included a long visit to the garden, a bounty harvest and a lesson or two about gardening and nature. An HCF grant contributed to the camp’s programming, allowing about 150 neighbourhood  children to participate.

The Urban Farm has started with a community garden and a learning space.  The farm will be fully operational in spring 2016.  Nestled behind the St. Helen Centre on Britannia Avenue, the farm is managed by a group of volunteers and yields a wide range of produce, from tomatoes to potatoes and cantaloupes to ground cherries.

The farm doubled up as a hub of activity for the kids at camp. Aside from harvesting the produce, they learned gardening tips, whether it is recognizing when a cantaloupe is ripe or being aware of harmful bugs. Kids were encouraged to learn and grow by combining recreational activities with hands-on opportunities.

See more Sprouts camp photos in the McQuesten Urban Farm album on Facebook:  HamCommFdn, and read more at hamiltoncommunityfoundation.ca/urbanfarm


Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Fall 2015


Home making

Home makingPutting more foundation assets to work in the community is the goal of HCF’s Hamilton Community Investment Fund (HCIF). The fund’s latest loan is a great example.

Early in 2015, HCIF provided mortgage financing to Indwell to build 47 supportive housing units on Main Street East just east of Kenilworth – on a former used car lot. Indwell has a stellar track record in Ontario and enthusiastic support in the local neighbourhood. Its Perkins Centre, across the street, provides 46 affordable bachelor apartments.

The 47 new units are much needed: the City of Hamilton counts 5600 households on its waiting list for affordable social housing.

“Financially,” says Indwell’s executive director, Jeff Neven, “with all levels of government, private donations, and Hamilton Community Foundation’s loan, this is a model that works for building affordable housing. And it’s an important example of the Hamilton community taking care of its most marginalized citizens.”

As a condition of government capital funding, Indwell guarantees that the apartments will remain affordable for 40 years for tenants receiving Ontario Disability Support Program.

HCF’s Executive Vice-President of Finance and Operations, Annette Aquin, is passionate about the HCIF role: “Lending is another tool in the foundation’s tool-chest. The Indwell loan illustrates the power of investing a portion of our assets differently: it’s low risk, high impact recycling of capital to address urgent community needs.”

Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Spring 2015

The Martin Foundation Fund

Martin Foundation

The Martin Foundation Fund at HCF will continue the charitable legacy established by law partners and siblings Argue Martin (left) and Hubert Martin (right) in 1968.

“Hamilton Community Foundation is the perfect home for the Martin Foundation as we transition to a new phase,” says family member Rosalind Johnston. “The legacy of the Martin family, and the Martin & Martin law firm, continues in Hamilton with this step.”

Argue Martin and Hubert Martin (Rosalind’s uncle and father respectively) were partners of the venerable Hamilton law firm and established the Martin Foundation in 1968 to support charitable causes.  Rosalind was a director of the foundation for more than 30 years, along with Argue’s son-in-law, the late Peter Richardson, and Martin & Martin law partner (now retired) Mary Lou Dingle.

“My father and uncle often favoured organizations that were just starting out, “ Rosalind says “and we concentrated on this area because of our roots in Hamilton. They felt an obligation to give back to the community in many ways.” Over the years, the Martin Foundation has supported hundreds of local organizations in the social services and the arts.

Hamilton Community Foundation was a natural choice as the Martin Foundation considered succession planning. Argue Martin was a founder and first president of HCF and Hubert was also a strong supporter.

“Dad would have loved this arrangement,” Rosalind says of the move to HCF in 2012. “He was a very forward-thinking man.”

Rosalind now sits on the advisory committee for the fund at Hamilton Community Foundation and has input into the grantmaking decisions. But the administrative work is handled by HCF. “This is a perfect solution for the future,” she says. “We used to spend hours poring over requests. Now, Hamilton Community Foundation handles all the applications and paperwork, but we continue to have input into how the money is spent. I’m thrilled.”

Excerpt from 2012-2013 Annual Report


The Mount Hamilton United Church Legacy Fund

Over the past year a number of long-standing organizations, now in transition, have turned to HCF to create a legacy by establishing new fund.

The Mount Hamilton United Church Legacy Fund recognizes the church’s 100 years serving Hamilton until May of this year.  It will continue to give back to the city as part of HCF’s community fund.

Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Fall 2012

The School Sisters of Notre Dame Legacy Fund

Over the past year a number of long-standing organizations, now in transition, have turned to HCF to create a legacy by establishing new funds.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame Legacy Fund at HCF will support the education and societal needs of underprivileged women and children, a tradition the Sisters established in 1833.

Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Fall 2012

Bruce Trail Expedition for Kids Fund

A quest to raise funds and awareness about the needs of Hamilton kids led local adventurers and philanthropists on a 30-day hike on the Bruce Trail.

On 2012-10-18,at 3:28 PM Wells, Jon (JWells@thespec.com) Subject: Bruce Trail hikers The four men hiking the Bruce Trail end-to-end to raise awareness of the footpath, and funds for inner city Hamilton schools. From left: Peter Turkstra, Teemu Lakkasuo, Fred Losani, and Mark MacLennan. (Photo submitted by hike team)

photo: The Hamilton Spectator

Starting at Queenston on the Niagara River and ending at Tobermory on the shores of Georgian Bay, the adventure seekers completed their trek, the Bruce Trail Expedition for Kids, last fall, hiking 885 km and raising over $700,000 for community-based and in-school nutrition programs.

Along the route, the trekkers took opportunities to engage students and donors about healthy living, and enjoying and maintaining the Bruce Trail, which is in their own backyard. The four-member team was made up of Mark MacLennan, Teemu Lakkasuo, Fred Losani and Peter Turkstra.

Fred and Peter participated in two previous fundraising adventures.   This time, they chose to work with the Hamilton Community Foundation to establish and administer the Bruce Trail Expedition for Kids Fund with the money they raised.

Although the foursome’s mission was to raise awareness and financial aid for Hamilton youth, they were able to accomplish much more.   As the team expressed, “From our experiences, we were able to share the physical challenges of hiking over rugged terrain, the trail’s natural beauty and the rewards of teamwork and getting involved.”

Peter says that the goal of the expedition was a good fit with HCF.  In addition to local charities that provide nutrition for children, funds raised will also be directed to many other Hamilton charities.

Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Spring 2013

Eva Rothwell Resource Centre Fund

A thriving community hub is strengthened, thanks to an anonymous HCF donor.  This generous donor has established an endowment fund aimed at supporting ongoing operations at the Eva Rothwell Centre.

Eva Rothwell Centre

A great day, as Terry Cooke, left, delivers the surprise news to Don MacVicar

A community-driven labour of love in the Keith neighbourhood, the Eva Rothwell Centre was born a decade ago when a group of local residents led by Don and Carole MacVicar turned the decommissioned Robert Land School into a multi-service community centre.

There is no shortage of volunteers, eager service providers, imaginative programming for all ages, local leadership and creative use of space; the challenge is operational funding to keep the old building heated, clean and in good repair.

The fund’s founding donor hopes the gift will encourage more contributions.  So does Don MacVicar. “This gift has given so much to so many to provide hope for a better tomorrow.  We are certain it may also inspire others to grow this endowment towards the Eva Rothwell Centre’s secure future.  We are doubly blessed.”

Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Fall 2014

AbleLiving Services Inc. Mary Traini Legacy Fund

“If people need our service, they will need it for life,” says Cindy Kinnon, Chief Executive Officer of AbleLiving, a housing and support organization for people with disabilities. “We support people with disabilities to live independently throughout all stages of their life. So our services need to be stable and reliable over time. An agency endowment fund makes total sense for our organization. It fits our model of sustainability and independence and permanence.”  AbleLiving

The AbleLiving Mary Traini Legacy Fund at Hamilton Community Foundation, is a permanent fund honouring the late Mary Traini, a founding board member of AbleLiving (then Participation House) in 1975 and a trailblazing advocate for people living with disabilities in the 1960s through the 1990s. The fund will help to cover equipment or services not included in the agency’s government funding.

As an agency endowment fund, it is housed and managed at Hamilton Community Foundation but belongs to AbleLiving. (HCF holds similar funds for a growing number of other local agencies.) The relationship is one that AbleLiving prizes because of HCF’s reputation and investment expertise.

“I have a deep sense of confidence about the community foundation’s role in managing this fund for us,” says Cindy Kinnon. “We’ve seen growth in the fund, the cost to us is modest, we receive regular information about the fund, and supporters who value AbleLiving’s long-term stability, like the Traini family has, can contribute to it at any time.”

Excerpt from 2011-2012 Annual Report

Frank Charles Miller Fund

Lifelong Hamiltonian and philanthropist Frank Miller has a history of wanting to see his financial contributions at work.  Frank Miller

Mr. Miller originally intended to create bursaries for health care students through a gift in his will.  Recently, he decided he would like to launch them in his lifetime.

He has established the Frank Charles Miller Fund at HCF to provide eight bursaries, which will be presented annually to four McMaster University medical students and four Mohawk College nursing students.  His generous gift was inspired by the excellent medical attention he received from a nurse who had trained at the college.

“Mr. Miller’s gift supports young people who couldn’t otherwise pursue these careers,” says Sheree Meredith VP of Philanthropic Services.   “By lessening the costs, he is setting them up for a promising future,”

Always an entrepreneur,  Mr. Miller brought the city its first coin-operated laundromat.  He expanded the business, then sold it, choosing to make a difference through many philanthropic endeavours. These include a number of health care and social services organizations, including a program that provides teddy bears to children coming into the care of the Children’s Aid Society.

“Mr. Miller has had a long-time desire to give to his community in appreciation for what he has been able to achieve,” says Sheree.  “He is an example of the growing number of Hamiltonians who want to create a legacy now and have an impact forever.”

Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Spring 2011

Chedoke Health Foundation Fund

Few institutions have played a more central role in Hamilton’s life than Chedoke Hospitals  – in all its incarnations, beginning with its creation in 1906 to fight tuberculosis.  Chedoke2The Cross of Lorraine on Chedoke’s original west Mountain brow site remains a city landmark of a facility that was the largest of its kind in the British Empire.

The newly-created Chedoke-McMaster Hospitals took over hospital operations in the 1970s while, Chedoke Hospitals, later renamed Chedoke Health Foundation (CHF), retained the land and buildings.  Since then the sale and transfers of land have provided health-related grants worth more than $72 million. This year, CHF’s board will donate its remaining assets to Hamilton Community Foundation, perpetuating and preserving Chedoke’s historic legacy. The new fund will provide health care bursaries for students who may not otherwise seek post-secondary education, and projects that support health and wellbeing in Hamilton.

Excerpt from 2015 Annual Report