Mental health for all

Maintaining mental health is a challenge for many people and COVID-19 has made it worse. Fifty percent of Canadians say their mental health has deteriorated, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In Hamilton, Shalem Mental Health Network has seen demand for its services increase 25 percent. Still, many can’t afford to get help.

With support from HCF, Shalem’s Counselling Assistance Program will allow 150 children, youth, couples, families and seniors on the margins and struggling with poverty and housing, to access psychotherapy sessions at a reduced cost.

Sessions are offered by video call unless there are safety, privacy or technology concerns that warrant in-person, socially-distanced meetings. Treatment plans identify sources of ongoing support once sessions are completed. Clients are asked to contribute a small sum to increase their own engagement in the process.

The short-term interventions used by Shalem staff have been shown to result in strong outcomes, balancing quality of care and cost.


Hundred Waters Fund


Lori Dessau Tauber and Lewis Tauber first envisioned an HCF fund as part of the couple’s Our Millennium project. They established the Hundred Waters Fund to support artists who are making innovative connections with their community, naming it in tribute to the ideas and work of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, whose belief in the power of art and architecture to improve everyday life was a guiding principle for the couple.

“It is the partnership idea Lew and I thought was vital and interesting — the creative ways artists can support and engage community to improve quality of life,” says Lori.

Since Lew’s passing in August 2019, Lori looks back and finds even more meaning in the way they established and grew the fund together.

“Lew’s imagination was sparked by Hundertwasser,” she says, reflecting on his art, book, coin and stamp collecting, curation of an international mail art show, and his book about the artist. “This fund is a very personal legacy.” She remembers Lew on birthdays and anniversaries by encouraging friends and family to donate to the fund, which also supports the Community Fund.

“Our grants are small so far,” says Lori, “but even a small grant can be very powerful if it’s just what someone needs at the right moment.”

Excerpt from 2021 Spring Legacy newsletter


Jane and Stewart Capell Dream Weaver Fund

Jane Capell has been connected with Hamilton Community Foundation for more than 20 years, including monthly giving and participation in the Women 4 Change giving circle. She is thrilled by the latest step in that relationship: she and her husband’s Dream Weaver Fund is about to begin granting. The potential to change people’s lives is exciting. “Stewart’s passion is hunger and food security,” Jane says. “Mine is more abstract. I think everyone needs to be able to dream. Some just need a leg up. I hope to help turn someone’s nugget of a dream into reality.”

The Capells have chosen to work through Hamilton Community Foundation because of its expertise and its permanence. “The Foundation has the boots on the ground to know where the needs in the community are. We think it’s important to be flexible so that our giving – today and long after we’re gone – can continue to meet changing community needs.”

As a financial planner, Jane encourages others to consider philanthropy in their overall financial plan, too. She stresses both the joys of giving and its potential tax benefits. “I show people the math and then let them think about their options,” she says, options which include both current giving and estate planning.

Hamilton Community Foundation worked through those options with the Capells and Jane sings HCF’s praises about that relationship.

“The care and consideration they give every donor is outstanding. Even as huge as the Foundation has grown, it’s as if you’re the only person they’re dealing with. They know you.”


Future Intended: Pandemic Response

In March 2020, Ontario declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many cities across Canada, Hamilton went into lockdown. Intended to keep people safe, the lockdown also meant that many vulnerable Hamiltonians could no longer access needed services in traditional ways. HCF established the Pandemic Response Fund to support charities working on the frontlines to keep people safe, healthy and connected. These are just a few local programs and organizations we’ve supported over the past several months.
Elizabeth Fry Society

 

    • In a crisis, the basics of life become a primary concern. When the pandemic hit Hamilton, Elizabeth Fry Society helped ease the worries of vulnerable women with comfort kits that included toiletries, clothing, food, hygiene products and baby essentials. The society serves criminalized women released from prison, homeless women and sex workers.

Islamic Relief Canada

    • Food security was a significant challenge when the pandemic hit, especially for populations that are already historically underserved. A grant from our Pandemic Response Fund supported the Barakah Box program, a joint venture with Mishka Social Services to provide culturally appropriate food boxes at the Hamilton Mountain Mosque. Clients include low-income families, newcomer and refugee families, seniors, and people who are differently-abled.

L’Arche Hamilton

    • Restrictions on in-person gatherings made it difficult to keep connected. A grant from HCF helped L’Arche to maintain appropriate levels of care for their clients, adults with intellectual disabilities. The purchase of new laptops allowed staff to work remotely and funds were also used to purchase “workpods” – private space dividers including beds – to set up in empty office spaces while staff worked from home. The spaces could be used to quarantine staff and clients in the event of infection.

Refuge Centre for Newcomer Health

    • The pandemic has a disproportionate effect on different communities, one of which is newcomers. Language barriers intensify this inequity. With support from HCF, Refuge Centre for Newcomer Health provided 600 hours of translation services to help newcomers navigate key pandemic information related including how to access government supports.

Wellwood Resource Centre

    • For people already dealing with serious illnesses, the pandemic was yet another challenge, from isolation to vulnerability and anxiety about entering hospitals and doctor’s offices. A grant from HCF helped Wellwood Resource Centre to make a transition to virtual programming and increased online resources. This builds on the organization’s plan for a “virtual community of support” for clients unable to come to its physical offices.

Our Future Intended blog is an ongoing series that spotlights some of our most recent granting in areas such as physical activity, Indigenous communities, literacy, food, community theatre, seniors and more.


Ella Baird & Grace Baird McQueen Memorial Fund/Archie McQueen

Even after a 50-year career in teaching, Archie McQueen continues to contribute to the development of young Hamiltonians.

Since retiring in 1998, Archie has been both a supply teacher and a volunteer, running before and after school programs at Benetto Elementary School in north Hamilton. He gives time to other schools as well and his extraordinary volunteering was recognized in 2012 with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Archie donates his supply teaching salary back to school needs through his fund at Hamilton Community Foundation.

“Small grants from the fund can have a big impact,” he says, noting its recent support to the school’s gymnasium scoreboard and IPads for students. But the fund is also flexible; he can choose other recipients if the moment is right, as it was one year for special needs at his church, St. Paul’s Presbyterian.

Archie’s fund is named for his mother, Grace Baird McQueen and his aunt Ella Baird – sisters who helped put him on the path to success as a young adult. His aunt Ella gave Archie part of a bequest she received from her employers that helped him seed the fund.  Ella was in charge of nursing at Westinghouse and had a close relationship with the Myler family who ran the company.

“I wanted to honour my mother and my aunt,” Archie says, “and Hamilton Community Foundation came up as number one to help me do that.” He has been connected to HCF for some 30 years and says it’s a “marvelous organization” that is helping him “shed a little light on what might otherwise remain dark.”


Hamilton Lawyers step up to provide critical grants during COVID Crisis

Some of Hamilton’s youngest citizens will have access to much-needed support during the COVID crisis thanks to the latest grants from the Lawyers’ Legacy for Children – Ray Harris Fund.

The Fund recently made grants totaling $19,000 to Essential Aid and Neighbour-2-Neighbour, two local organizations that focus on food security.

Essential Aid focuses on nutrition for children under four and fills a critical gap in the food bank system by stocking a wide range of infant formulas. Infant nutrition needs are unique and many formula-fed babies can’t tolerate a change, but   traditional food banks are unable to provide a selection of formula as it is expensive and product donations are difficult to acquire. Essential Aid also provides other high demand items such as diapers, baby food, and children’s hygiene items.

The grant to Neighbour-2-Neighbour will support its critical work for local families, with a focus on food security, access to tutoring programs for children, family supports and a wide range of other services.

Lawyers’ Legacy for Children – the Ray Harris Fund is a permanent endowment fund of Hamilton Community Foundation, which  was established in 2006 with a mission to: “collectively inspire and enable children and young people to nourish and develop their knowledge, talents and values in the spirit of community, generosity and responsibility which has characterized the contributions of Hamilton’s lawyers”. To date it has made grants of over $100,000 to local charities to assist children and young people in our community.

“We’re privileged to be able to provide these grants to help address the crucial and ongoing needs that have been intensified by the pandemic,” says Dermot Nolan, who spearheaded the creation of the Fund as a way for Hamilton’s lawyers to collectively help children and young people in need. “Our goal is to help our community provide them with the essentials they deserve to help them realize their dreams and live healthy and fulfilling lives.”


Future Intended: It’s only natural

The reality of climate change intensifies the need to support our natural environment. These programs address environmental concerns but also build inclusive communities to ensure equitable outcomes.

  • A Rocha: Operation Wild
    The impulse to care for our natural environment can come from many sources. For Christian conservation organization A Rocha, it is a religious commitment and Operation Wild is an expression of that. The program leverages local organizations that support adults with disabilities to help them become leaders in their communities in the areas of conservation, stewardship and environmental education.
  • Beautiful Alleys: Birge Street Parkette
    This project is another chapter in the Beautiful Alleys story of improving alleys and green spaces in Hamilton to make them safe and welcoming. The Birge Street Parkette will be an enhanced green space across from the General Hospital available to hospital staff, patients, local residents and visitors. It will also provide safe, accessible pathways for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton: Woodland
    Cultivating meaningful relationships with the natural world can start at a young age. The Woodland project provides families and pre-school kids with access to environmental education on the Red Hill Valley trail and Green Venture and McQuesten Urban Farm green spaces. A certified “forest school” teacher and an early childhood educator take families into the woods for an opportunity to develop a love of nature.
  • Green Cities Foundation: Green My City, Hamilton Barton Village
    Barton Village is getting a green makeover: more trees, shrubs, plants and perennials. It’s all courtesy of the Green My City program whose purpose is to improve green spaces for the betterment of people who live in the area, especially the most vulnerable like children and the elderly. Outcomes include cleaner air, reduced traffic noise and more shaded areas to cool down hot summer streets.
  • Green Venture: Canopy for Community
    Canopy for Community brings together partners Green Venture and Trees for Hamilton to engage youth and local residents in enhancing Hamilton’s urban forest. Through learning about nature-based climate solutions and the importance of urban forest for community health, participants will take direct action with the goal of planting more than 500 new trees.

Our Future Intended blog is an ongoing series that spotlights some of our most recent granting in areas such as physical activity, Indigenous communities, literacy, food, community theatre, seniors and more.


From runoff to resource

In Dundas, flooding is more than a headline. It’s prompting action. And Green Venture wants people to see the results.

The environmental non-profit is teaming up with local cycling groups to host a bike tour showcasing half a dozen green infrastructure projects in the valley town, including the Depave Paradise garden at Yorkview Elementary School which replaces pavement with gardens.

Tour participants will learn how the projects use nature-mimicking strategies, such as rain gardens, permeable pavers, rain barrels, trees and naturalized plantings, to increase resilience to flooding and decrease the impact of storm water runoff. A followup workshop will invite community members to identify future green infrastructure projects for Dundas.

The tour and workshop are funded by HCF’s Dougher Community Fund, which supports and enhances programs and services in Dundas.

 

 

Excerpt from 2019 Fall Legacy newsletter


Ride on

Eight young people will be riding high this fall at The Equestrian Association for the Disabled (TEAD), thanks to scholarships supported by HCF.

Located in Mount Hope, TEAD is the only organization in Hamilton to offer therapeutic riding to children and youth with cognitive, physical, behavioural and communication disabilities. Specially trained therapy horses are the main event, while credentialed instructors oversee the programs. The Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre provides referrals and helps develop individualized riding plans.

Studies have shown that children with disabilities who participate in therapeutic riding experience many physical, social and emotional benefits. The scholarships will ensure that cost isn’t a barrier to participation.

 

 

Excerpt from 2019 Fall Legacy newsletter


Investing in a cleaner future

A new Hamilton Community Foundation impact investment in a renewable natural gas project will help reduce carbon emissions by approximately 110,000 tonnes over the next 15 years.

The project, led by Oakville-based BerQ RNG, will use refining equipment to create renewable gas from organic waste. Like-minded investors The Atmospheric Fund, Verge, and London Community Foundation are also partners in the project.

HCF’s investment reflects an interest in projects that have the potential to be catalytic. BerQ RNG has six additional projects in the works that will result in an estimated 944,000-tonne reduction in carbon emissions. The project could also help to advance effective climate policy by demonstrating the commercial benefits of renewable natural gas over fossil gas.

“This investment exemplifies how we continue to use our assets not only to provide strong financial returns to support our grants to charities, but also to support positive environmental change,” says Annette Aquin, Executive VP Finance & Operations at HCF.

Excert from 2019 Fall Legacy newsletter