Granting Stories

Feeding the hungry

October 17, 2017

The Kohler Family Community Fund within Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation granted $300 to The Grace Cafe, a street mission in St. Thomas feeding anyone who’s hungry six days a week. (From left) Jeff Kohler, Ginny Trepanier from The Grace Cafe, Jennifer Kohler and Kohler family member from Brazil Camila Coehlo.

Costello Scholarship

October 10, 2017


Holly Wright receives her Costello Music & Storytelling Scholarship Fund award at Parkside Collegiate Institute’s commencement. Congratulations, Holly! The Costello Fund was set up within the Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation to support St. Thomas students pursuing Music or Storytelling at the post-secondary level. Holly is enrolled in Therapeutic Recreation at Brock University.


2017 Scholarship announcements

July 13, 2017

From the Active Living Scholarship Fund

  • Breanne Bonter, graduate of St. Joseph’s Catholic High School is pursuing Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario


  • Selena Kennedy, a graduate of Parkside Collegiate Institute, is studying Kinesiology and Vocal Music at Redeemer University College


From the Costello Music and Storytelling Scholarship Fund

  • Nathan Bond, a graduate of St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, is studying Music (Voice) at Western University


  • Selena Kennedy, a graduate of Parkside Collegiate Institute, is studying Kinesiology and Vocal Music at Redeemer University College


  • Holly Wright, a graduate of Parkside Collegiate Institute, will be studying Recreational Therapy at the University of Waterloo or Brock University.


From the CFDC – Helen LeFrank Scholarship Fund

  • Abbey Taylor, a graduate of East Elgin Secondary School, is studying Agriculture at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown College.


From the Dennis Redman Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Jordan Dekort, a graduate of St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, is studying to be a Paramedic at Niagara College.


  • Heather Pirri, a graduate of Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, is studying Police Foundations at Fanshawe College.


  • Devin Freeman, a graduate of Arthur Voaden Secondary School, is studying Emergency Services at Wilfred Laurier.


From the Jaden Ella Wood Memorial Fund

  • Aeden Marcus (graduate of Wortley Road Public School)


Congratulations Grads and wishing you success
in your chosen careers!


April 28, 2017

$10,000 CASO South Platform donation

Celebrating a $10,000 donation April 25, 2017, from the Sweetgrass Fund of the Elgin-St. Thomas Community Fund and CFC 150, in support of the CASO Station south platform in St. Thomas. (Left) Matt Janes from the CASO Board, Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation Vice-Chair Elaine McGregor-Morris, Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation Chair Shawn Jackson, Elgin Middlesex London MP Karen Vecchio and Bob McCaig representing the Sweetgrass Fund of the Elgin-St. Thomas Community. This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Sweetgrass Fund within Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

2016 Scholarship Announcements!

July 6, 2016

 We are pleased to announce the following 2016 Scholarship Awards!


From the Active Living Scholarship Fund

  • Grace Donaldson, Kinesiology, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

  • Chelsea Zavitz, Human Kinetics, University of Windsor


From the St. Thomas Elgin Tourist Association Scholarship Fund

  • Eva Leupen, Tourism Travel, Fanshawe College


From the CFDC – Helen LeFrank Scholarship Fund

  • Dipesh Mistry, Management and Organizational Studies, Kings University College/UWO


From the Costello Music and Storytelling Scholarship Fund

  • Karen Rakowicz, Visual Arts and English, University of Windsor


From the Dennis Redman Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Morgan Temple, Firefighting, Lambton College

  • Kristy Sullivan, Police Services, Fanshawe College


From the Jaden Ella Wood Memorial Fund

  • Holly Johnson (graduate of Wortley Road Public School)


Congratulations Grads and wishing you success in your chosen careers!



Congratulations Noah Rolph!

May 11, 2016

Noah. 2016.montreal weight

This photo was from his competition in the Hershey Canadian Indoor Track and Field Championships in Montreal in Jr. Men’s 25lb Weight Throw and Jr. Men’s Shot Put. He won two national gold medals and continues to be the reigning Canadian Champion in these two events.

Noah also prepared to qualify for the Junior Olympics this year. In support of that goal, the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation provided support from three of our Funds- The Dennis Redman Memorial Scholarship Fund (Noah is also studying to be a firefighter), the Sweetgrass Fund and the 2001 London Alliance Canada Summer Games Fund.

In March he also won the silver medal in the Jr. Men’s 25lb Weight Throw and a bronze medal in the Jr. Men’s Shot Put at the Athletic Ontario Indoor BMJ Championships, and spent a week in Florida at the Athletics Ontario 2017 Canada Summer Games High Performance Training Camp.

He traveled to Edmonton in July to compete in the Canadian Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Go Noah!


100 People Who Care- Elgin County launch event!

March 8, 2016

Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation launches ‘100 People Who Care’ initiative!


Looking for a fun, quickESCF100LogoFinal, and exciting way to make a positive impact in St. Thomas and across Elgin County? Members of the community now have the opportunity to become one of the ‘100 People Who Care’, a new donor circle being established by the Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation.

“The donor circle model is not new to community foundations, and in fact much of what we do is similar nature to this initiative,” says Karen Laine, Executive Director. “What we love about the ‘100 People Who Care’ approach is that it is a great fit for the young and community-minded demographic.”

How does it work? The answer is simple: 100 People contribute $100 each. The Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation will collect the funds and provide charitable donation receipts. Subsequently, the ‘100 People Who Care’ membership will be invited to attend a special launch event on Wednesday, April 13th, at 7pm at the CASO Station in St. Thomas. There will be a short information session, Q&A, and time for casual networking. Representatives of local charities are welcome to attend to learn more about the initiative, and curious members of the public can come out to join the fun as well. A cash bar will be open with proceeds from the bar supporting the CASO Station.

Following this event, the project really ramps up! Once we have reached our 100 member pledges, local charities will be invited to submit brief funding proposals to the Foundation. A short list of charities will then be chosen to present project ideas to the ‘100 People Who Care’ at a special granting event. For this occasion, each charitable organization will have the opportunity to make a five-minute presentation to the membership to pitch what they would do with $10,000 to foster positive change in the Elgin-St. Thomas community. At the end of the evening, the 100 People Who Care will vote, and the winning charity will receive $10,000 that night!


The ‘100 People Who Care’ initiative and other similar efforts have popped up all over the world. Several neighbouring communities, such as London, have been early adopters of this model. With the support of the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, this terrific approach to rapid community-building is now coming to Elgin County and St. Thomas!

“I am very happy to be one of the founding members of the ‘100 People Who Care’ in our community,” comments Andrew Gunn, a member of the planning committee. “We have a lot of extremely talented people locally who are interested in supporting great causes, but may not have a lot of time to get involved with traditional service clubs. The ‘100 People Who Care’ approach solves this problem by offering a way to network with like-minded people, learn about charitable organizations in our community, and then make an immediate impact by supporting the best ideas.”

Download a pledge form, or Register for the April 13th event at

Community Fund Grant to support the Shedden Library Fundraising Campaign

December 17, 2015

2015 Community Fund Grant to Shedden Library

Community Fund Grant to support the Shedden Library Fundraising Campaign

There are young people selling cupcakes door to door, and big applications being written to provincial and national funders and everything in between! The fundraising campaign to build a new home for the Shedden Library is well underway and it is truly a community effort.

“Our library is an important heart of our community” says Cathy Bishop, Southwold Library Committee Chair, “but our library is simply busting at the seams and need more space.”

Volunteers from the Rosy Rhubarb Library Committee have taken on the task of fundraising for the new Southwold Library location. The plan is to build a new 3500 sq. foot addition to the Keystone Complex to become the new home of the Shedden Library. Plans are to break ground some time in 2016, but there is much work to be done before that happens so the community has rolled up their sleeves and started the momentous task of fundraising.

There is excitement around what that larger space will mean to this library and the range and breadth of programing and initiatives that could be hosted there.  Says Mayor Grant Jones “The Keystone Complex is a local hub and I can imagine when families have one child in soccer practice another could be taking advantage of library programs and resources”.

It is that kind of vision and community spirit that inspired the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation to grant to this campaign. “We have two grants to support this campaign” said Past Board Chair Shawn Jackson of the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, “One from the Bud and Melba Marr Fund and another $2,500 from our Community Fund- an unrestricted Fund that the Board has authority to allocate each year. Any charity in Elgin County is eligible to receive a grant from the Community Fund, and each year the deadline for applications is September 30th.

“The Community Fund allows us to respond to emerging need and innovation” says Karen Laine, Executive Director of the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, “It is one of our 29 Funds currently held at the ESCF.” To date the ESCF has granted over $670,000 to local and regional charities.

To contribute to the Shedden Library campaign contact: Keith Orchard at 519-764-2600 or the Township of Southwold municipal office at 519-769-2010.


Photo #1.

Left to Right:

Mayor Grant Jones, Kim Grogan – Treasurer Township of Southwold, Keith Orchard – Rosy Rhubarb Library Fundraising Committee, Shawn Jackson- Past Chair Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, Councillor Gayle Bogart, Cathy Bishop – Southwold Library Committee Chair

Shedden Library Plan

Celebrating over half a million granted to date!

December 12, 2014



2014 Youth Volunteer and Citizenship Awards!, and YIP Granting announcements!

December 4, 2014


THANK YOU to all the Youth who received awards this week!

2014 Youth Citizenship Awards

The second annual Youth Volunteer and Citizenship Awards were held on Tuesday, December 02nd , 4pm at the Talbot Teen Centre.

These awards celebrated the 46 Youth volunteers who have contributed a whopping 644 total hours of support for two local organizations; The Talbot Teen Centre, The Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, and their joint project The Youth in Philanthropy Council.

“We have an amazing group of young people working with us” says Matt Cossette, Manager/Talbot Teen Centre, “Many have long since completed their 40 Community Involvement Hours required for high school graduation.  That they continue to volunteer tells us that they genuinely care about their community and the difference they can make.  I’m sure we’ll continue to see great things from these young leaders in the years to come.”

“Working with these young people has been so wonderful” says Karen Laine/ED for ESCF, “They have such a strong and compassionate wish to help others and learn about their community, and we hope this leads to a life long interest in volunteerism and community support. We certainly want to celebrate their choices and extend our heartfelt thanks!”

Two of these Youth received the highest honour- Youth Citizenship Award for their extraordinary levels of volunteerism with the Talbot Teen Centre!

Shawn Fehr                          43 hours of volunteerism

Liam Woodhouse               56 hours of volunteerism

Please JOIN US in thanking these youth for their interest in supporting community organizations. Ceremonies included remarks and certificates from Mayor Heather Jackson, and as well as certificates and greetings from both Joe Preston’s office and Jeff Yurek’s office!



YIP logo2014 YIP Grant Awards

In addition to award presentations, the Youth in Philanthropy Council made their second annual Granting Announcements! 

TWO Grants were awarded this year, both to address homelessness.

The Youth in Philanthropy Council identified 9 focus areas for their study in 2014 and invited numerous speakers to address these issues, but mental health and homelessness were top of the list.

In fact we spent two entire months on homelessness issues.

Awards were presented by YIP Council Members Liam Woodhouse and Shawn Fehr.


2014 Youth in Philanthropy Grant Recipients are:

  • Inn out of the Cold
  • YWCA’s Fair Winds


 Congratulations to both organizations for the work they do to enrich this community, and thank you to the YIP Council for their fundraising and generous grants!

The YIP Council would also like to say a special THANK YOU to Bob McCaig and the Sweetgrass Fund for support of the YIP and awesome help with our fundraising/pizza sale that provided funds for these grants!

We will document and post our Granting stories through articles and video here.

You can also see all our previous granting in our Annual and Granting Reports HERE