Women 4 Change contributor: Chantal Copithorn

Chantal Copithorn_Nov 2010 Chantal Copithorn has been a Women 4 Change contributor for the past two years. The senior manager at PwC shares her reasons for contributing to the Women 4 Change fund.

What motivates you to give?

I wanted to make a difference. I was born and raised in Hamilton and have always felt a connection to this beautiful city. I was looking for a cause that supported the city and when I read about the Women 4 Change program and its mission, I was excited.

What encouraged you to get involved in Women 4 change?

Women 4 Change focuses on improving the lives of women and girls in the Hamilton community through various programs. The challenges faced by women are unique (poverty levels, mental and physical health, etc.). As a woman who has always felt supported, I wanted to contribute to a program that would better lives of women and girls in our community. It has also provided me with the opportunity to meet and connect with other women who share the same philanthropic goals.

How is Women 4 Change transforming the lives of local women and girls?

You can see how the programs are empowering the girls. I was lucky enough to meet and speak with a number of girls involved in one of the programs at a Women 4 Change event in May. The girls shared their stories about how the program has helped them grow by sharing experiences and building confidence. The girls were so grateful and appreciative. To be able to spend the day speaking with the girls was very rewarding.

How can women participate in philanthropy?

If there is cause that excites or inspires you then you should support it however you can. Whether it is through financial contributions or volunteering, every little bit makes a difference.

To find out more about Women 4 Change, visit: hamiltoncommunityfoundation.ca/w4c

A success from Start2Finish

We recently received these wonderful photos from the Start2Finish Running and Reading Club, illustrating the impact of their Hamilton Community Foundation grant.  


Down the home stretch

Perseverance pays off

Start2Finish is an after-school program operating at Prince of Wales, Dr. Edgar Davey and Bennetto schools.  Addressing the need for physical activity, literacy and mentorship, these students work for most of the year towards a goal of participating in a 5k run, in the process focusing weekly on a new character quality, enjoying a snack, completing a journal and reading one on one with their coaches.  These coaches, volunteers from throughout the community also become rmentors and role models and equipping children with the tools to succeed. 


York University: Hamiltonians at the starting line


Highlights from the program:

  • Kids from clubs at all three schools participated in the Run and Reading Challenge at York University with almost 5000 other participants from across the province. 
  • Before and after-program assessments by McMaster’s  Child Health and Exercise Medicine Program showed significant improvement in the children’s cardiovascular fitness and their overall strength.
  • Participants’ literacy scores showed a 1 to 2 full grade level improvement.

Coached by a children's author Fati (on the 1st place podium) wrote a book and won the 5k raceA special highlight:  With the consistent encouragement and guidance of his coaches, one of the students improved his focus and motivation and began to show proficiency in both running and reading, ultimately writing a book about LeBron James and winning the 5k run in Toronto in a field of 500 children.  





The power of small changes from the Neighbourhood Home Improvement Program

Our grants team recently received this great e-mail and these before -and-after photos from a homeowner whose property was fixed up as part of this program.  It’s a great testament to the power of small changes on a bigger city:  



Back garden

“Thank You, to all involved with this transformation to a show-piece landscape, on my block. It is truly a wonder, what all the fellows did and suggested we do, with my house. I was not expecting the extent and workmanship on my lovely little house.  

The young men and women were very efficient, hard-working and polite, through the whole week of work they did for me. They were becoming friends, by the time Friday rolled around. They seem to enjoy working with each other and everyone was working as a team. 



Back porch

The workers were very helpful in suggesting we do certain alterations and I had to agree that each decision was just the right thing to do. I am more than happy with the end results. 

A welcoming front entrance

This is a wonderful and community-building venture that will only enhance our beautiful city of Hamilton. I hope the Neighbourhood-Home-Improvement-Program and Threshold School Of Building just gets bigger and assists more neighbours such as myself.

I can’t thank you all, enough.

Read more about the Neighbourhood Home Improvement Program 

How Children Learn to be Philanthropic

A recently released study from the Lilly Family School of Family Philanthropy looked at how parents can teach their children to be charitable. While it is not a surprise to hear that parents significantly affect their child’s behaviour, it is interesting to learn that parents’ giving to charity (role-modelling) is not enough – rather intentional teaching is what really makes a difference.

Talking with your children about your values and why you give to the charities or causes that you do helps them to build understanding and empathy.

The holiday seasons provides a natural opportunity for having these discussions. The more profound influence, however, will come from making giving a part of everyday life. Teaching children that each of us has time, talent and treasure to share can occur at all ages and year round. When asked recently how they passed their commitment to the community on to their children, Peter and Karen Turkstra responded “our kids learned that it is just what we do”. Helping others, getting involved, sharing your resources, and seeing where you can make a positive difference are woven into their everyday lives.

Over the past several years Hamilton Community Foundation has provided support to citizens in some of Hamilton’s most challenged neighbourhoods and here we have witnessed the profound lessons that these families are teaching their children. From babies to teens, children are involved with their parents in planning and implementing things that will improve their communities. These children, too, are being raised with the belief that “this is just what we do”.

Philanthropy has been described as “an empowering experience that helps children gain a profound sense of their place in the world”.

If you haven’t already, take a moment this holiday season and start the conversation with your children. It may be the greatest gift you give and receive.

Louder than a Bomb – Speaker and Film Screening

HCF is proud to sponsor a speaker and film screening this evening that explores the world of spoken word poetry “slams” and the youth who participate in them.

“Louder than a Bomb” is the largest such event in the world and the Founder, Kevin Coval is in Hamilton to share the story and talk about Hamilton’s own “Louder than a Bomb” festival. The film features four youth, preparing for the 2008 competition, with stories that are moving, evocative and inspirational.

“Louder than a Bomb Hamilton” Speaker and Film Screening
Thursday November 7th 2013 at 7:00 pm
ArtForms — 126 James Street North

Please take a moment to look at the website, watch the trailer and if you can attend tonight, feel free to do so!

FILM WEBSITE: http://www.louderthanabombfilm.com/
LONG VERSION (3:30 min) TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81hXGdFF6TQ
SCENE (2:35 min) FROM FILM : http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1985191193?ref_=tt_pv_vi_1

Ending homophobia

Today, May 17, is the International Day Against Homophobia. Having learned from my friend Deirdre Pike, however, let’s call it the International Day Against Phobia of our LGBTTTIQQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Two-spirit, Intersex, Queer, Questioning…or for those of you who only see the world in 140 characters bytes: LGBTQ) communities.

Despite real breakthroughs in the LGBTQ rights movement, homophobia remains all too prevalent today. Clearly one incident is too many…but even with progress to date, the stats are alarming. A meta-analysis of 25 international studies shows: 4 times risk of suicide attempt in LGB people; 1.5 times risk of depression or anxiety disorder in LGB people, 3 times greater risk of substance use disorder in lesbian / bisexual women, and 2 times greater risk of depression and panic disorder in gay / bisexual men (King et al, 2008).

For LGBTQ youth, the story is not any prettier. According to Egale Canada (2011) more than 40% of LGBTQ students report having experienced sexual harassment in school in the last year; 75% of LGBTQ students and 95% of trans students feel unsafe at school (compared to 20% of heterosexual students) and approximately 28% of LGBTQ youth drop out of high school because of discomfort or fear in the school environment.

A vibrant, inclusive Hamilton is one where every member of our community can live, work and play free from harassment, discrimination and bigotry. And Hamilton is on its way. Local organizations such as http://www.thewellhamilton.ca and http://hamiltonpride.org are wonderful resources to our entire community. Both Hamilton Police Services and the City of Hamilton have established committees that seek to reduce barriers to the LGBTQ community.

But there is much work that remains to be done. HCF is a proud supporter of International day Against Homophobia and encourages you to learn more at http://www.homophobiaday.org/.

Congratulations to the Paul Harris Fellowship Recipients

I had the pleasure of attending the Rotary Clubs of Hamilton event last evening honouring this year’s Paul Harris Fellowship Award recipients. All are deserving of the honour and include HCF’s very own Terry Cooke, former Chief of Police Colin Millar and Pearson Dunn CEO George McCarter.

The atmosphere was wonderful and the event well planned. District Governor Rick Sterne’s remarks were a nice reminder of the good work done by Rotary in this community and around the world.

This morning’s Hamilton Spectator included an article about the event and the recipients that is worth reading if you are interested in more information.

Root Causes and Saving Babies

On Monday evening I had the good fortune to attend an education session presented to our Women 4 Change contributors. The presentation was given by Suzanne Brown of Neighbourhood Development Strategies with the City of Hamilton and our very own Grants Manager, Sharon Charters.

The sessions focus was on supporting root causes and concluded with a well led and thoughtful discussion about how to structure your philanthropy that was guided using a parable (by Steven E. Mayer) about saving babies. It is worth reading and can be found athttp://effectivecommunities.com/pdfs/ECP_SavingBabies.pdf.

2 nights in the Hammer-spit and polish, then rock and roll

Talk about polar opposite evenings. Last night I wore my tux and attended the Hamilton Police Senior Officer’s Mess dinner at the armouries. Nobody does tradition and honouring public service like the coppers, and as an Honourary Chief and former Board Chair I look forward to the event every year. We should be thankful each and every day for the many members of our police service who put themselves in harms way to keep us safe and the Mess Dinner is a great time to do so.

Tonight I will be in jeans to hear my neighbour Tom Wilson together with his band Blackie and Rodeo Kings rock the house at Melrose Church on Locke St. at the finale of the amazing Live on Locke music series. The standing room only crowd will be a great testament to a bunch of amazing volunteers lead by Tom, Jim Fyshe, Beth Webel and many others who made it happen.

Only in the Hammer. This is a great town!

A perfect time for Women 4 Change

The timing was perfect! On Canada’s first recognized National Philanthropy Day, November 15, 2012, a new initiative was launched to inspire and enable the women of Hamilton to be leaders in philanthropy while focusing on improving the lives of girls and women in this community – Women 4 Change.

The room at Liuna Station was filled with 100 women (and two men) who heard inspiring and motivating remarks from Sandra Stephenson, Sheree Meredith and Beth Webel. There was also wonderful discussion about how to make the greatest impact in our community for women and girls.

The founders of this initiative have been busy over the last year working to shape this fund into one that will be transformative with a desire to foster independence and self-confidence, remove barriers to success and promote positive relationships for women and girls in Hamilton.

At the event everyone was asked two questions:

  •  If you had $20,000 where would you invest it to positively change the lives of women and girls in Hamilton?
  • What would help you to have greater impact as a philanthropist?

Let me know what you think by responding to philanthropicservices@hamiltoncommunityfoundation.ca.

For more information about Women 4 Change.  You can also read the Spectator’s op-ed about  women, philanthropy and collective impact.