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.”
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.”
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.
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
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
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
When it comes to direct routes from Hamilton to Toronto, swimming isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. But for Loren King, it made a good cause a great one.
The Wilfrid Laurier University political science professor is passionate about protecting the Great Lakes. In 2016, Loren took a major step towards that goal by partnering with HCF and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper to establish a fund that supports research, artistic expression and community engagement to protect these waters. That summer, he also swam across Lake Ontario to raise public awareness and underline the importance of the Great Lakes as a heritage that needs protecting.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Great Lakes to Canada. They are a vital part of who we are, and millions of us depend on their waters,” says Loren. “HCF helped us imagine, then establish our fund, and they are a continuing source of inspiration and support.”
Hamilton Community Foundation is pleased to be home to the Great Lakes Trust Fund that ensures a lasting source of support for Loren’s passion.
Excerpt from 2019 Fall Legacy newsletter
When it comes to building relationships with the most vulnerable in our community, lived experience can make all the difference.
The Hamilton Social Medicine Response Team (HAMSMaRT) is a mobile interdisciplinary health outreach service that launched in 2016 with the support of HCF. Since then, the service has provided health care to more than 400 people in Hamilton who struggle with homelessness, addiction and mental illness. The innovative program offers care where patients feel most comfortable, whether that’s at home, in a shelter, on a street corner or at a coffee shop.
This year, a grant from The Milne McGrath Fund at HCF is making an already successful program even better by funding a peer support worker.
Peers are part of the community HAMSMaRT wants to reach. They provide a bridge between marginalized community members and the health-care team, since even the most motivated patients often face barriers, such as precarious housing, that make it hard to stay connected. The peers’ lived experience grants them a level of credibility and trust that takes a longer time to build for traditional care workers.
HAMSMaRT learned the power of informal peer support when it joined Keeping Six, a community-based organization founded in response to the opioid crisis. Keeping Six members with lived experience of drug use connected HAMSMaRT to patients who had been poorly served by the traditional medical community, resulting in successful referrals and treatment.
Now that the peer support role is official, informal connections have been formalized, making relationships with patients more sustainable. “It takes less time for patients to feel comfortable,” says HAMSMaRT co-founder Dr. Tim O’Shea. “Communication is more open and we’re able to deal with their health issues more effectively.”
Excerpt from Fall 2019 Legacy newsletter
Friendly Streets initiative builds community from the ground up
Ask what the phrase “friendly street” means and responses will vary, from safe and accessible to tree-lined and socially vibrant. “A friendly street belongs to everyone,” says Elise Desjardins, one of two co-ordinators of the Friendly Streets Hamilton project. “It’s a space where people want to be.”
Few would describe the streets within a one- kilometre radius of the Hamilton General Hospital in this way, but that’s exactly what Friendly Streets wants to change. Its goals are to improve the journey to the hospital for patients, employees and visitors, as well as the experience of living in the area.
The program, which is jointly run by Environment Hamilton and Cycle Hamilton, started by engaging hospital and neighbourhood partners in 2017 and has continued with support from HCF’s Environment Endowment Fund.
A remarkable amount has been accomplished in a short time, including a Council motion to create a “quiet zone” around the hospital, approval of a new traffic signal on Victoria north of Barton, tree planting, recommendations for wayﬁnding signage for cyclists, traffic calming, pedestrian accessibility, transformation of an alley into a mobility link, and discussions about changes to bus and truck routes.
“Friendly Streets didn’t come in with a set agenda and just do community consultation as a formality,” says Rachel Braithwaite, a Wellington Street resident and executive director of the Barton Village BIA. “They asked: ‘Community, what do you want?’ And then ran with it.”
Now, Rachel looks forward to a day when she doesn’t have to walk her six-year-old to school beside tanker trucks, and she’s become active in the effort to make it happen. “Sometimes when you see others step up, it encourages you to do the same,” she says.
The leadership shown by the Friendly Streets Community Stakeholder Group, which includes senior hospital administrators, has been a highlight for project co-ordinator, Beatrice Ekoko. “They recognize that a patient’s journey begins long before the hospital doors,” she says. “They’ve become champions.”
“This is a vision of what mobility can be in Hamilton,” Elise concludes. Beatrice adds, “We all have a right to a friendly street.”
Excerpt from 2019 annual report
Giving circle crystallizes impact through HCF
The Phantom Moms know a lot about the value of organized sports for kids. The 10 mothers spent more than a decade shuttling their sons to hockey practices, games and tournaments, then sitting together in cold arenas, starting when the boys were age six. “It was our social life in those days,” says Julie Boateng, the mom the others call the “glue” of the group.
With their sons now in their twenties, the women remain friends and continue to have coffee together once a month. Having witnessed the power of hockey to give their boys physical skills, ﬁtness, conﬁdence, leadership, teamwork and other life advantages, they wanted to provide those opportunities to kids who couldn’t afford to participate. For the last several years, informally, they’ve been pooling a donation to give to arenas or skate clubs for kids who needed the help. “We really wanted to give back,” says Julie, “because we saw how valuable the sport experience is for children.”
Recently, the group took steps to formalize their giving and work through Hamilton Community Foundation to gradually build a fund that will go on forever. It will support access to all sports, not just hockey, and a portion will also meet Hamilton’s most urgent needs through HCF’s Community Fund. With this new approach, their donations are receipted for tax purposes, Julie has been freed from the responsibility of organizing everything, and the community foundation is helping them make the strongest impact with their giving. The Phantom Moms hope that over time their children may also get involved in the fund.
“With this fund, we can leave a legacy,” says Julie. “I hope others can learn from our experience how simple it can be for everyday people like us to make a lasting difference.”
Excerpt from 2019 Annual Report