Honouring the passion of a lifetime

Marguerite Cino wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.

As a teacher, librarian, principal and supervisor of staff development, she did that through her career with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Now, her wish to help young people will live on through the Marguerite M. Cino Fund at HCF.

“Marguerite never had children of her own, but had a special passion for young children and teens,” says her husband Sam Cino. “She knew that not all children have the same opportunities and she wanted to change that.”

Sam is well known for both his extensive volunteer leadership and as proprietor of Hamilton’s Lo Presti’s and Maxwell’s restaurants. He credits their lifelong friend Vincenza Travale, a past-chair of the Foundation, for suggesting a fund at HCF as the easiest way for Marguerite to accomplish her legacy.

“Marguerite was a very special lady who achieved so much as an educator and in business,” says Sam, “but she was also a very quiet person. This fund, supporting initiatives for children and youth, speaks for her and the things she cared about.”

 

From Spring 2022 Legacy newsletter


ABACUS evolves

Equity, wellness and academic achievement are the three themes underlying the newest phase of ABACUS, Hamilton Community Foundation’s initiative to increase the likelihood that young Hamiltonians will graduate high school and access post-secondary opportunities.

“We learned a lot from five years of ABACUS,” says Rudi Wallace, Vice-President, Grants & Community Initiatives, “especially about the multiple influences on a child’s educational success. Transitions, mental health, sense of belonging and a host of factors beyond academic support all play an important part. This is the context for ABACUS Phase II.”

Since its 2016 launch, ABACUS has focused on the middle-school years as a crucial pivot point for students in going on to post-secondary education. Now, based on research and consultation, HCF has refined ABACUS to better achieve its goal. This includes:

  • An increased focus on the transition into and out of middle school, especially the transition into Grade 9.
  • Reading and numeracy in the earlier years.
  • Incorporating components of overall social and emotional wellness.
  • Addressing the needs of students historically underserved in the education system, including those who are Indigenous, Black, racialized, Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ among others.

The pandemic interrupted learning for many students; ABACUS Phase II targets reading and numeracy where this interruption is more pronounced through a pilot for students in Grades 4 and 5. It also focuses on the transition out of middle school and into high school with support for students through Grade 9 and into Grade 10.

“ABACUS Phase II reflects the importance of continually adapting to changes in the educational landscape to serve Hamilton’s students,” says Rudi. “It’s deeper to address the overall wellness of students, especially those who face the most systemic barriers, and wider to bring in the ‘edges’ of the middle-school years and produce the best opportunities for graduation and post-secondary access.”

Learn more by visiting ABACUSatHCF.ca

 

From Spring 2022 Legacy newsletter


Crossing borders for impact

A recent impact investment from Hamilton Community Foundation will fund health technology companies that support women, children and adolescents, and help make health systems more resilient.

The Women’s and Children’s Health Technology Fund is an investment offering from Cross-Border Impact Ventures (CBIV), a Toronto-based impact investor in transformative health technology companies. Using a gender lens, it focuses on medical device, diagnostic and digital health companies based in North America, Europe and Israel, as well as on commercial stage companies in emerging markets with global technology transfer potential.

CBIV monitors progress and has set a target for its investments: 500,000 lives saved and improvements in the lives of 10 million underserved women and children in emerging markets.

Impact investments are public and private investments intended to create positive impact beyond financial returns. HCF invests in local, national and international funds as part of its impact investment portfolio and is one way the Foundation is working to align its assets with its mission.

“Not only does this fund support women and children,” says Annette Aquin, Executive Vice-President of Finance & Operations, “but it’s also female led, a rarity in private equity.”

 

From Spring 2022 Legacy newsletter


Getting the most out of LRT

Better transportation. Employment opportunities. Affordable housing. These are just a few aspects of a vision cast by Hamilton Community Benefits Network (HCBN) for how our city will make the most of Light Rail Transportation (LRT) when it comes to Hamilton.

A grant from HCF is supporting an HCBN-led community engagement program that will “carve out a voice for residents” and ultimately make a case to press for substantial gains as the city’s LRT project gets underway. This involves engaging with community members along the LRT corridor both to educate them about community benefits and to gather their feedback. HCBN is also focusing on communities that are often left out of the decision-making process including BIPOC communities and people with disabilities.

In February, HCBN distributed a survey and plans a variety of workshops and events to reach community members.

 

From Spring 2022 Legacy newsletter


Worth the wait

Tucked inside the Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre is a coffee shop with a name leaving no doubt that you’ll be welcome.

In 2019, a grant from HCF supported the Inclusion Coffeehouse as a social enterprise, but the pandemic created multiple delays in its opening. This spring, Inclusion Coffeehouse is officially ready to serve the public.

The Inclusion Coffeehouse is operated by the core members of L’Arche Hamilton, a local organization that celebrates the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities. The café provides an opportunity for the core members to engage in all aspects of the business, including procuring goods for sale, baking, setup, serving, cleaning and financial management.

Its broader goal is to create an accessible, affordable café space in the South Sherman neighbourhood where everyone belongs — and so far, the feeling is mutual. “We have been so encouraged by the outpouring of support the city has shown for this project,” says Marianne Mulders, Fundraising Advancement at L’Arche Hamilton.

 

 

From Spring 2022 Legacy newsletter


What the past teaches us

Understanding the past helps us face the present and frame the future. A recent series of grants from HCF is supporting the study of history related to Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC), Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ and Jewish communities.

As part of its consultations aimed at supporting equity-deserving communities, the Foundation heard about the importance of literacy and education through studying history. A grants call focusing on this issue resulted in funding for programs including:

  • Stories of the Black community in Hamilton using griot format (African drumming and dance in combination with oral storytelling) from Afro-Canadian Caribbean Association.
  • Learning at Glendale Secondary School about Hamilton’s Stewart Memorial Church and its vital role in the lives of Hamilton’s Black community.
  • Settler Reflection Series workshops that help participants understand the historical and current impact of colonialism in Canada from Righting Relations Hamilton Circle.

In total, 14 initiatives were funded through this program. A complete list is available at hamiltoncommunityfoundation.ca

 

From Spring 2022 Legacy newsletter


Community calls the shots

After almost 18 months of pandemic restrictions, members of Hamilton’s Indigenous communities came together at Gage Park in September to dance, heal and make an informed choice about vaccination.

The Indigenous Health Social featured food, vendors, door prizes, traditional singers and contemporary Indigenous artists, including Juno-nominated headliner DJ Shub, to attract a new crowd to an event that focused on strengthening body, mind and spirit.

The province’s mobile vaccination unit — the GO VAXX bus — was on site, but the focus of the event was not exclusively COVID-19. Recognizing the negative experiences that have led some Indigenous people to view the health care system, and vaccinations in particular, with fear and suspicion, event organizers Hamilton Public Health and Indigenous organizations in Hamilton promoted the health of the whole community. To further increase trust and decrease barriers, information was also translated into Anishinaabe.

 

Excerpt from 2021 Fall Legacy newsletter


A trusting relationship

Kathy Wood already had a clear picture of how she and her husband John wanted to give to charity: she had spent her career as a trust officer helping people make decisions about their money.

Kathy and John demonstrated their trust in HCF by setting up a field-of-interest fund; this means that while they identify areas they want to support (animal welfare and adult literacy), they leave specific grantmaking decisions to the Foundation.

Animal welfare is important to the couple, who understand the joy that animals bring. “We have had pets for all of our marriage of 46 years and they have given us much happiness,” says Kathy. Half of the fund’s proceeds will support organizations that house, treat, feed and help the adoption of animals in need; the rest will support adult literacy, where they expect needs to grow. A portion of the fund will also go to the Community Fund that helps to address urgent community needs.

The Graas-wood Fund is a deferred fund, meaning the donation will come through the Woods’ estates. Giving through a will is a powerful way to give, and HCF is part of a national campaign called Will Power that seeks to educate Canadians about these benefits.

 

Excerpt from 2021 Fall Legacy newsletter


Making the right connections

There is no overstating how the pandemic has increased both reliance on technology and the technology gap for those already facing systemic inequities. A new pilot program that connects McMaster University and community partners is working to address this need.

As part of its environmental stewardship plan, McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office was exploring ways to donate tech devices in the community. At the same time, community organizations working with racialized communities, including newcomers and immigrants, expressed a critical need for technology, particularly as the pandemic disproportionately affects these communities.

The Foundation helped connect McMaster with a group of local non-profits, including the Afro Canadian Caribbean Association, Empowerment Squared, Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, Immigrants Working Centre, Munar Learning Centre, and Refuge: Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health. Up to 100 high-quality tech devices will be available for re-use each semester. An HCF grant is also supporting Empowerment Squared to acquire software licenses and refurbish the donated devices for distribution.

“This pilot is an example of community coming together to address a significant challenge for many communities in remote working and learning environments,” says Rudi Wallace, Vice-President, Grants & Community Initiatives.

 

Excerpt from 2021 Fall Legacy newsletter


Natural value

It turns out putting a price tag on nature can be a good thing.

Supported by an HCF grant, communities that intersect the greenbelt are getting the tools and training they need to think of their natural assets as essential infrastructure. As a result, they will be able to value nature’s contributions to clean water, breathable air, healthy soil, sustainable food, flood reduction and climate stability, and include this accounting in provincially mandated municipal plans.

Hamilton is one of 10 municipalities with near-urban nature — defined as the natural areas and farmlands that surround and intersect our cities — that will complete natural asset inventories as part of the program. These inventories will list the community’s natural assets, assign a value to the services these assets provide, and model the costs and benefits of natural solutions compared to alternatives.

The ultimate goal is to protect and restore the greenbelt’s natural integrity.

 

Excerpt from 2021 Fall Legacy newsletter