John Frid

John Frid

John Frid

John Frid – also known by his stage name Jonathan Frid – was an accomplished actor with a 50-year career that began in a school play at Hillfield School, the precursor to Hillfield Strathallan College.

He pursued his love of acting at the Hamilton Players’ Guild and, after serving in the Royal Canadian Navy during WWII, John graduated from McMaster University in 1948. He went on to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and later to the Yale School of Drama.

To the public, he was best known for his role as vampire Barnabas Collins in the gothic TV daytime drama Dark Shadows that aired 1,225 episodes between 1966 and 1971. He received a reported 6,000 fan letters a week at the height of the show’s popularity and continued to attend Dark Shadows festivals throughout his life. But that role was just one aspect of a distinguished career that included starring roles in theatre and television in the U.S., Canada and England, opposite stars like Katharine Hepburn and Jean Stapleton. 

John Frid

Jonathan Frid as Vampire Barnabus Collins

Although he spent much of his life in New York City, he remained a Canadian citizen and kept strong ties to Hamilton, ultimately moving back to Ancaster in 1994. Says his nephew Donald Frid, “I think he wanted to be close to family and friends in the latter stages of his life. Despite liv­ing away for so long, he knew his heritage was here. He was very proud of the city.”

John believed in the Foundation as a way of supporting a vibrant community. His father Herbert Frid was one of the founders of HCF in 1954 and his mother Flora served on the Foundation’s Board in the 1960s. Their generous philanthropy continues to this day through the Community Fund’s Herbert P. & I. Flora Frid Fund. Their son is following in their footsteps.

“My uncle John was warm, encouraging, and generous, like his mother was,” says Don.

John established his fund in 2002 and enjoyed seeing the difference his gift made during his lifetime. His gift ensures that the John H. Frid Fund will continue that legacy to the Hamilton community he loved.

Excerpt from 2013-14 Annual Report

Bob and Irene Cowan

Bob and Irene Cowan chose the Cowan Family Fund as a way to say thanks

Sacrifices, rewards and a desire to simply “tell them thanks” are the inspiration for The Cowan Family Fund at Hamilton Community Foundation.

The bursary fund honours Bob and Irene Cowan, reflecting their gratitude for the support they received as seniors: from the care Irene has needed in later years, to the assistance that enabled Bob to live at home to age 93. They realized the special skills required by those working with seniors, so this fund will support McMaster University students with an emphasis on those studying gerontology.

Irene and Bob met during the Second World War, and she sacrificed much to join him in Canada. Bob came from a large farming family, and commitments meant sacrificing formal education. Still, he pursued self-education while working as a stationary engineer and following his dream to farm.

Irene, meantime, encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit in their five children, helping them grow and sell vegetables to earn money for “extras.” Married for 65 years, they stubbornly held onto their farm through good times and bad. Ultimately, it was the sale of the land that made The Cowan Family Fund possible.

In later years, both had health challenges requiring long-term care for Irene, while Bob remained on the farm. Still, they always felt lucky to have “caring people in our corner.”

“The bursary represents their desire to pay it forward,” says daughter Lorraine Peckham. “They both felt that nobody should fail to realize their potential because of monetary restrictions.”

Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Fall 2013

ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc. has been a key player in Hamilton’s history since 1912 and is known for over a century of service to this community. This year, the company has established a new resource for its corporate philanthropy: the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Fund at Hamilton Community Foundation.

Continuing its long-standing tradition of building community strength, ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s new fund aims to invest in organizations that enrich the community and change the lives of children and youth in the Hamilton region. Access to inspiring programs, imaginative arts, nourishment, and nur­turing health care are some of the youth priorities.

“We know the importance of sparking a child’s curiosity,” says Tony Valeri, the company’s Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. “It can be the seed of great things to come. Children need only a glimpse of what’s possible, followed by the support to make it happen. Hamilton can be the best place to raise a child and we are proud to play a role in making this happen.”

“Hamilton Community Foundation and ArcelorMittal Dofasco share a long history in Hamilton and some crucial connections,” says HCF’s President & CEO, Terry Cooke. “For many of the Foundation’s 60 years, Dofasco has offered leadership to us in the form of Board members. Trixie Sherman, spouse of past-chairman and CEO Frank H. Sherman, was the first to serve in 1965 and many others have contributed their time and expertise since.”

In addition to funding current grants, the newly established fund is permanently endowed for long-lasting impact.

“Like our company, Hamilton Community Foundation has expertise in creating innovative solutions and partnerships to advance our community,” says Tony Valeri. “We’re looking forward to working together to continue building the community’s strength.”

“We are thrilled to be part of ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s philanthropic outreach,” says Terry Cooke. “The company has a history of charitable giving in the community that is legendary. We are honoured to be a part of it.”

Excerpt from 2013-14 Annual Report

HCF Staff

We’ve always known that HCF staff are committed All Staff 2014to this community.  An outstanding measure of that commitment: they all give to Hamilton Community Foundation and have for many years.

“It hammers home to me how dedicated the staff are to HCF’s mission,” says Board chair Paul Gibel. “There are other places they could work with their great skills, but they are fully engaged in what we are trying to achieve. It’s more than a job. They prove that with their work, and they prove it with their financial contributions. As chair, it gives me a tremendous feeling of confidence.”

The staff fully embrace the idea that anyone can be a philanthropist and the Foundation can meet anyone’s charitable goals. Each employee gives to the cause he or she cares most about, supporting more than a dozen funds overall.

“We believe in the work we do,” says Morag Halsey, whose voice has welcomed callers to HCF for most of her 14 years at the Foundation. “It just makes sense to contribute financially too.” Morag’s special cause is children and she directs her gifts to the Hamilton Spectator Summer Camp Fund. She remembers the challenges of being a single parent and appreciates the opportunities the Summer Camp Fund gives disadvantaged kids every year.

Anne Lupkoski has worked at HCF for 25 years, assisting three CEOs. She supports the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) program. Her own chil­dren have participated over the years and she is passionate about the growth she sees in them and others because of the YAC opportunity.

As grants manager, Sharon Charters knows Hamilton’s needs well, She also knows from family experience the importance of mental health initiatives, so she chooses to donate to the Angel Fund, started by Shirley Elford, to focus on programs in this area.

“I think each of us gets a sense of fulfillment from supporting the priority that’s closest to our heart,” says Sharon. “It’s something we all feel as staff contributors, just the way other donors do.”

Excerpt from 2013-14 Annual Report

Women’s Trust Fund

A local group of women joined forces and established the Women’s Trust of Hamilton, Burlington and District – the first local women’s foundation in Canada. The Women’s Trust is a partner of the Canadian Women’s Foundation and a member of the National Network of Women’s Funds (U.S.), a group that has expanded from four to 60 in the last decade.

The Women’s Trust has established a fund with the Hamilton Community Foundation and the proceeds of this fund are used to support women and their children.


Community Health Education and Research Fund

The Community Health Education and Research Fund was established by the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Community Foundation by incorporating the existing McGregor Clinic Fund and two new funds given to the Hamilton Community Foundation in 1996 -The Dorothy and Frank Bliss Fund and The Mary S. Phin and James P. Phin Respiratory Diseases Research Fund.

All of these donors were committed to building a community that is a healthy place for all to live, learn and work.


Read to Your Baby offers a prescription for lifelong learning

A physician’s prescription for learning invites parents to share the gift of literacy with their kidsRead-to-Your-Baby

There isn’t a pill to improve lit­eracy. But a new program is offer­ing a prescription that’s getting families off to a great start.

Read to Your Baby provides family physicians with the tools to start important conversations with parents about reading, including a free picture book (available in English and French), a fun “prescription” for daily reading and an invitation to get a library card for the child. It all takes place at the 18-month well baby visit.

“We’re educating parents as the primary educators of their chil­dren,” says Evette Sauriol, early literacy specialist with Affiliated Services for Children and Youth. “We believe the gift of literacy supports children in reaching their full potential.” Research shows reading to preschoolers gives them the literacy skills necessary for early school success. Story-time also strengthens the parent-child bond.

The program is working: an evaluation by the Best Start Early Years team showed that more than 80 percent of parents who weren’t reading to their child previously said being given the book has made a difference to their literacy activities.

Read to your baby #2An HCF grant will allow Read to Your Baby to expand from 49 to 150 physicians—covering half of the babies born in the city each year—as well as support an aware­ness initiative to ensure long-term sustainability of the program. HCF also connected Read to Your Baby to First Book Canada, an organization that provides access to new books for children in need. Additional funding for book purchases has come from Telling Tales. The prescription pads were developed by the Canadian Pae­diatric Society and printed by the Offord Centre for Child Studies.

The program is founded on strong partnerships with healthcare, early learning and education groups and the library. Dr. Jean Mullens, a family physician with the Hamil­ton Family Health Team, is a true champion. “Parents are thrilled to get the book from our nurses and are usually reading it to their baby when I come into the room,” she says. While some of the families Jean sees may be economically disadvantaged, she stresses that this is a universal program. “All parents need the reminder to read to their babies.”

Responding to a critical need

Responding to a critical need
Cutting treatment delays for abused children 

It’s hard to accept that children as young as three are being sexually abused. But that is a reality the Community Child Abuse Council faces squarely every day. They provide proven treatment, education, and prevention programs to Hamilton’s abused children. 

Timely treatment is transformative for children who suffer sexual abuse and the devastating effects of that betrayal of trust, says the Council’s executive director Karen Smith. “The good news is that when children receive prompt treatment from our professional clinicians, they do recover from this trauma and live healthy, productive lives. We know that. But the longer they wait for treatment, the worse their symptoms get.”

When the Council came to Hamilton Community Foundation and explained that referrals to their program were so high that children were waiting too long for treatment, we responded.

The Edith H. Turner Foundation Fund provided a grant. HCF also approached The Lillian and Marvin Goldblatt Family Fund, which has a similar focus on children and youth. Deeply moved by the situation of these youngsters, this fund too stepped forward with additional support.

Together these grants allowed the Council to cut the waiting list by 70 percent – saving many young children lifelong turmoil. 

HCF fundholders Pioneer Energy Foundation and the Losani Family Foundation Fund also generously support the Council, and Karen says she is grateful to HCF for shining light on this issue. Some donors have even offered help to raise awareness about the need to have stable resources for these essential services.

“The bigger picture is this,” says Smith. “We can give kids their lives back when we’re able to treat them early – but if resources don’t allow that to happen, the future of our community suffers as much as these young people do. The long-term solutions to child abuse are a responsibility of the whole community. Support from HCF and its donors create a vital ripple effect. By facing the reality of child abuse, they help us open a community conversation about how thriving children are essential for thriving communities.”

Love of community translates into meaningful results

The Dougher Community Fund grew from a quiet appreciation of life in Dundas

Grants from the fund are dedicated to enabling others to have the same opportunity, now and forever.Dundas Symphony

The donor had a single goal: to ensure future residents would enjoy the community’s many assets as she and her family had. It only made sense then that the first grant, in 2012, went to Dundas Community Services to reach out to the town to determine its highest needs. Focus groups, a community open house and an online survey pointed to priorities that included resources for seniors, accessibility for those with physical disabilities, poverty reduction, envi­ronmental education, youth engagement and access to the arts. As a result, these became the focus areas for the Dougher Community Fund.

Since this review, the fund has supported 15 projects, including playground naturalization, family art days, restoration of the Desjardins Canal, an information program for seniors, a youth centre and an assistive devices program.

This year, a grant to the 36-year-old Dundas Valley Symphony Orchestra will help its music reach new ears. “We want to attract a broader audience and expand our repertoire by con­necting with choral groups,” says president Olga Hencher. The grant will be used to hire vocalists and coaches, purchase music and pay for addi­tional rehearsal space to prepare for the group’s annual lineup of six free concerts.

Another grant is providing a part-time community garden co-ordinator for four Dundas affordable housing sites. “We want to increase food security, reduce isolation and build capacity among Dundas residents, especially seniors,” says Matt Bowen of City Housing Hamilton. “A staff person is critical to getting the project off the ground in a way that meets tenants’ needs and is sustainable.” When the project wraps up this fall, tenants will have a how-to handbook, a cookbook and connections with other food security programs, such as the Good Food Box, to see them through until the next growing season.

With its “forever focus” on the quality of life in Dundas, The Dougher Community Fund is a textbook case of helping people give in a way that has meaning to them and impact in their community.

Shirley Elford


Describing herself as “an ordinary person who gets a lot of joy out of giving”, Shirley is excited about seeing her gift to HCF at work during her lifetime.

Shirley Elford – a celebrated glass artist known for her stunning Juno Awards sculpture, beautiful angels, one-of-a-kind pieces, and her commitment to the Hamilton community – holds back tears as she describes how she felt when the first grants were made from her fund at Hamilton Community Foundation.

“ I was so happy I sat down and cried,” she said about the three grants made last December to support children’s mental health. “It felt so good to know the fund was already making a difference.”

When she established The Angel Fund in 2003, Shirley planned to finance it from a life insurance policy in her estate. But this year, she chose to make an outright gift when she discovered she had cancer.

“ I realized that I wanted to begin to see the impact of my donation in my lifetime,” she says, “and I’m so glad I did. The joy I get from knowing this fund is already supporting mental health is profound. And the idea that it will keep giving and giving and giving is just wonderful.”

A member of Hamilton Community Foundation’s board of directors from 2001 to 2006, Shirley is a passionate advocate of HCF and many other Hamilton organizations. Her volunteer résumé is as full and varied as her award-winning artistic career – a career that started late. She was already 36 and the youngest of her children had entered high school when she applied to the Ontario College of Art.

“ I needed something that was just me,” she says of that time in her life. “I was Bill Sinclair’s daughter, I was a wife, I was a mother. I craved an identity that was just me.” Shirley excelled at OCA and discovered the very difficult medium of glass. Her stunning body of work is proof that she mastered the challenge.

Describing herself as “just an ordinary person who gets a lot of joy out of giving,” Shirley stresses that philanthropists don’t have to be wealthy. “I guess my brother and I learned about giving from my father. Dad was a generous man in his time. He always said that, if nothing else, you can give of yourself and then you’ll really find out what you’re worth. I don’t have millions to give, but I feel like a multimillionaire in my heart because my gifts come back to me tenfold.”

In 2010, Shirley created the Gift of Today Fund choosing turquoise, the signature colour for ovarian cancer, to represent the fund’s purpose. This fund supports a diverse array of initiatives that increase the scope and availability of assistance and education both for those experiencing ovarian cancer and for friends, families and professionals involved with their care.

Excerpt from 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 Annual Reports