Marchese Health Care 50th Anniversary Legacy Fund

Marita Zaffiro Marking a milestone.

Marchese Pharmacy on James Street North has been a crucial neighbourhood resource for five decades.  To mark the milestone, owner Marita Zaffiro established the Marchese Health Care 50th Anniversary Legacy Fund at Hamilton Community Foundation in 2011.

“It’s about acknowledging the people of Marchese, past and present,” Marita says about her gift. “Through all the years and all the changes, Marchese has held an important place in the north end community. I’m glad we can celebrate that legacy with this fund, today and into the future.”The fund will support projects recommended by the Foundation which give Hamiltonians opportunities to improve their employment potential and quality of life. Its first grant is already helping the YWCA build a business plan for a downtown café: the social enterprise would offer healthy food to the community, generate revenue for Y programs, and also provide meaningful employment for their clients. “

I appreciate that the Foundation is examining the impact of its work and trying to make links between grantmaking and social enterprise,” says Marita. “HCF is an acknowledged leader in the sector and it is taking an innovative approach that aligns well with my personal and business philosophy of working collaboratively, creating synergy and sharing success.”


Seniors Spin the Wheel of Fitness

ISeniors Spin the Wheel of Fitness-Wheel of Fitnesst’s hard for older adults in Flamborough to get to senior-focused exercise classes. That’s why a grant from HCF is helping Flamborough Information and Community Services to expand the Wheel of Fitness, an educational exercise program that helps seniors from isolated rural communities get moving.

There is a definite need. A key recommendation in the province’s Living Longer, Living Well report is to provide more services that encourage seniors to stay healthy, active and well-connected, including accessible exercise classes.

The classes target functional fitness and daily living activities, and are offered in six Flamborough communities every week for 10 weeks. Playing off a game show popular with seniors, the “wheel” is a teaching tool, emphasizing exercise principles and reinforcing the theme that “exercise always wins.”

Anyone can participate, regardless of medical conditions or financial circumstances. Pre- and post-participation surveys evaluate success and help seniors figure out their next steps. 

Learning to Save the Monarch

Learning to Save the Monarch - Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterfly numbers are in freefall. A January 2014 count by the World Wildlife Fund shows North America’s population has hit an all-time low – and may disappear completely.

That’s not news to the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club. But it does make its latest project, with partner Environment Hamilton, all the more important.

Supported by an HCF grant,“Transformations: Hamiltonians creating and restoring monarch habitat” aims to create monarch butterfly and pollinator habitat at several Hamilton sites, a solution scientists recommend to help the species. It will teach youth about the importance of the monarch and other pollinators in sustaining plants in natural, agricultural and urban landscapes, environmental threats and, most important, what they can do to help.

Students will grow pollinator-friendly plants such as bee balm, milkweed and coneflower from seed in their classrooms, then head out to do the planting at the Naturalists’ Club’s Lands Inlet site and the remediated Rennie landfill in the Red Hill Valley.

The grant will also help families to find out more about the project at four community days. The public can learn about the importance of monarch habitat at the planting sites and other events held across the city,  including “build your own pollinator box” workshops. 

Accessing Funds for Education

HCF is helping more families put money in the bank for higher education through a program to increase access to the Canada Learning Bond

Studies show that youth who have even modest education savings are 50 percent more likely to go on to post-secondary schooling than those who have none.  Targeted directly at low-income families, the Canada Learning Bond is a federal government program that contributes up to $2,000 towards a child’s post-secondary education.

Although parents don’t have to make their own financial contribution to qualify, they do have to apply, and barriers such as paperwork, dealing with a financial institution and low awareness mean that some 900,000 children across Canada are not accessing the funds they are entitled to.

Locally, HCF is working with a multi-sector partnership to raise awareness and get more families registered.  Led by the Best Start Network, the group recently mounted a two-day “sign-up fair” at Mission Services where families could get help to fill out forms and establish savings accounts. The federal government also chose the fair as a pilot program, enabling the group to leverage additional funds for outreach.

Financing is only one piece of increasing post-secondary access, but results show it’s a critical one.

Teens with cancer find support at Wellwood

Adolescence is hard enough – now consider the additional impact of a cancer diagnosis on a teen or on a young adult anxious to get on with life.  A grant from HCF is supporting Wellwood Resource Centre to help this vulnerable group.

The Canadian Cancer Society reports that adolescents and young adults have unique needs for psychosocial support that aren’t being met as they straddle the pediatric and adult oncology worlds.  Isolation both from fellow patients and from the day-to-day experiences of healthy friends has a profound effect.

Wellwood’s experience confirms this finding.  Meeting the needs of this group is both a strategic priority and the focus for programs that will bring together adolescents and young adults with similar experiences to ease feelings of isolation and find meaningful support in an accessible, inclusive, safe space.  Families will also find information and support.

Special efforts will be made to address the needs of young women, who have unique physical and psychological pressures due to fears and grief about infertility, body image and relationships.

The project will use Wellwood’s time-tested self-help model, which engages clients in information-sharing, exploration and problem-solving. Project partners include Hamilton Health Sciences, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, VON, Canadian Cancer Society, The Well and YWCA.

Investment Fund : Making a Positive Impact

Investment Fund Making a Positive Impact - Mustard Seed Bakery

A bustling new addition to Hamilton’s food landscape represents two milestones:  the city’s first co-op grocery store and the latest loan from the Hamilton Community Investment Fund (HCIF).

Like all co-ops The Mustard Seed, located just west of Locke Street on York Boulevard, is member-owned, though you don’t have to be a member to shop there. Its emphasis is on offering locally produced, sustainable food and creating a “positive impact on our local economy, our community, our health, and our environment”.

“As a social enterprise, The Mustard Seed was a clear match for us,” says Annette Aquin who heads up the Foundation’s impact investing program.  “It touches many of our investment themes to create positive change, especially in the surrounding neighbourhood.”

The HCIF offers financing to Hamilton-area charities, non-profits and social enterprises. It’s one component of the Foundation’s impact investing portfolio that seeks to put more HCF assets to work in support of our mission.

Mustard Seed CEO Graham Cubitt says that the HCIF loan process was beneficial in ways beyond generating capital.  “It helped us to make sure we had good answers to important questions about our feasibility, long-term goals, and ability to repay,” he says.  “It was a good education and we’re happy knowing the loan interest is going back into the Foundation’s other good works.”

Watch Annette and Graham talk about HCIF and the Mustard Seed at here.

The store opened in January with 1,220 members and added another 200 in the first month.

Excerpt from Legacy newsletter, Spring 2014

Innovative Program Makes the Right Connection

Innovative Program Makes the Right Connection-New Home Improvement Program

It was the perfect example of connecting people, ideas and resources when Hamilton Community Foundation helped launch a program that trained out-of-work people in construction and gave downtown residents small exterior property renovations they could not otherwise afford.

Last spring, HCF grants manager Sharon Charters learned about the need for a home renovation loans program and brought it to the Hamilton Funders network.  There the idea was sparked to create a grants program, using provincial training money available for job seekers to do the work.

Called the Neighbourhood Home Improvement Program, the partnership links job-readiness funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities with the non-profit Threshold School of Building’s teaching expertise to help low-income homeowners.

The Foundation and the City of Hamilton are providing additional funding, as well as matching job seekers to the opportunity and overseeing the project applications review. Threshold provides the training: 26 weeks of paid onsite construction experience for 21 unemployed Hamiltonians as they complete the renovations CEO John Grant says the workers were “unbelievably gung-ho” about the program.  “They are very proud and feel they are really giving back to the community.”

The program results?

  • Windows installed, fences repaired, porches reinforced…by mid-September some 56 homeowners were assisted cost-free, often with repairs that improved safety.
  • Job-ready individuals with new skills and experience who will be assisted to find sustainable work.
  • Improved lower city properties, neighbourhood pride, and a group of very grateful participants.

Everyone associated with the program agrees it is an overall success. One homeowner called the construction crew an “army of hardhat angels that came to my rescue” while a crew member stated that aside from obtaining work experience, “being part of a positive change for Hamilton is what is most important.”

‘Tis the season to Skate the Dream

The Foundation’s ability to connect local needs with national resources means kids will be on the ice this winter at Eastwood Arena.

Skate the Dream is a local program that helps remove barriers preventing Hamilton children from learning to skate and to play hockey.  This season, the program will be fully funded by a grant from the Daryl K. Seaman Canadian Hockey Fund at The Calgary Foundation, which supports amateur ice hockey across the country.

An entrepreneur and philanthropist, “Doc” Seaman is famous for bringing the NHL’s Flames to Calgary.  He made headlines again this year when his estate made a $117-million donation to The Calgary Foundation — the third-largest gift ever to a Canadian charity.

HCF learned about the availability of nation-wide hockey grants through its community foundation network and linked the two.  “HCF has previously supported Skate the Dream but the need for this type of program is great and more funding is always required,” says President & CEO Terry Cooke.  “Making the connection to Calgary represents funding which may not have otherwise come into Hamilton.”

Supporting Active Living for Seniors

Supporting Active Living for Seniors - Ancaster Seniors Centre

A Hamilton Community Foundation grant is helping to support Expansion 2013 at the Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre (ASAC), a project that will enable the centre offer its more than 30 arts, music and health programs and social opportunities to a burgeoning seniors population. 

Established in 1974, the Centre has undergone a number of expansions. Today, with 1,100 members, it is operating at capacity — visits have increased 32 per cent over the past five years — and numbers are on the increase with the rapid growth of the senior population in the Hamilton area. 

In fact, Statistics Canada predicts that within the next 10 years one in four residents will be 65 years or older.

Expansion 2013 responds to ongoing demographic changes and the need for more social and programming space,” says ASAC Advisory Board Chair Al Gordon.  “Most important,” he adds, “more older adults will have an opportunity to become part of a welcoming and supportive community of friends.”

Known as “The Meeting Place,” the Centre provides a relaxed environment where members can socialize, make new friends and participate in a variety of activities to improve health and fitness and to learn new skills. 

The Geritol Follies

NOTE: next application deadline is October 1, 2021. Apply online here.
These wonderful entertainers, all over age 60 – and some well into their 80s – regularly sell out their Hamilton variety show. They have also entertained audiences across North America and abroad.

In 1989, the Geritol Follies members decided to turn over their accumulated profits – more than $100,000 at the time – to set up a student bursary fund with HCF, encouraging “rising stars” to pursue post-secondary education in the performing arts. Follies members saw it as a way “of returning some of the blessings and benefits” they received in their younger days to talented Hamilton youth.

They also wanted to celebrate their own love of the stage, create a lasting legacy and be remembered for their unique impact on seniors everywhere.

By 2014, more than 100 young people from our community have received bursaries to help them pursue their dreams in the arts.