2017 Scholarship announcements

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!


$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.

St. Thomas Elevated Park Project

Two pieces of public art donated by local family with deep roots in the community

The St. Thomas Elevated Park, due to open in late August, will feature two major pieces of public art thanks to a donation and commission from a family whose roots go back five generations in this city. The Elevated Park Project fundraising effort is a Managed Fund within Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation.

The two metal sculptures will be created by artist and blacksmith Scott McKay whose studio is in Lawrence Station. The works are being donated to the Elevated Park project by Scott’s father, Ian, whose ancestors became prominent in the area as merchants, lawyers and publishers beginning in the mid 1800s.

Read More …

June Evangeline Anne Horton Fund joins our Family of Funds

New Fund celebrates woman who pursued her passions through all of life’s difficulties

June Evangeline Anne Horton (nee Ernest) was born in Surrey, England in 1924. As a child she survived yellow fever, jaundice and cerebral meningitis. While working at a publishing house in London, England, she met Edwin Horton, a Canadian soldier in the Signal Corps. Their courtship spanned the war years with many leaves spent on Ted’s motorcycle. They married in 1946 and June set sail for Canada as a War Bride. It would be 22 years before she saw England again. She began married life on a farm outside Glanworth, Ontario. Together, June and Edwin raised a family of nine children, made more difficult by losing their house to a fire in 1966 and the untimely death of Edwin in 1973. Mom continued on as a single parent, until her children were grown and started families of their own. She volunteered for many years at the Dearness Home, she reported local items for the Lambeth News and was a prolific correspondent who maintained friendships for over 70 years. She was an avid reader, gardener and nature lover. She was passionate about ballet, loved a glass of wine and a good laugh. She made a home for a succession of cherished dogs, often strays. Always active, she continued to swim up until her last summer. She passed on to her children and grandchildren, the love of learning and reading.  In her later years, while on a minimum pension, she could not turn down a request for donations, no matter the cause.  She gave what she could to the SPCA, Men’s Mission, World Wildlife, MS Society – you name it, she would write a cheque.  To carry on her giving nature, this fund is established with money from the sale of her family home and endowments will be made, in her name, to some of those same charitable organizations. Donations are always welcomed to this Fund.

The June Evangeline Anne Horton Fund was established to grant forever in the areas of ballet, animal welfare and kidney disease.

2016 Scholarship Announcements!

 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!



100 People Who Care FIRST GRANT was $9,500!

 ESCF100LogoFinal100 People Who Care’s

FIRST Grant provided

$9,500 to a local charity!


The winner was KCET’s Re-Wild The Family!

It was a packed house representing the 95 current members of the 100 People Who Care, and there was excitement in the air!

Tuesday evening six local charities made presentations to the 100 People Who Care – Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation chapter in hopes of being chosen for their first ever grant.

  1. Phil McNamee Charity Foundation: Trail accessible for visually impaired and mobility devices.
  2. YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin- Food Works: food security programs like ‘Good Food Box’
  3. YMCA St. Thomas- Elgin: Inclusive Camping Program- summer day camp for children with special needs
  4. Inn Out of the Cold St. Thomas Elgin: Crisis training for staff and volunteers and programs at their Drop In Center
  5. Kettle Creek Environmental Trust: “Re-Wild the Family”- 7 families a year (x 2 years) will receive a camping mentor and supplies.
  6. Elgin County Library: Maker/Innovator in Residence program and improvements to maker space and STEAM curriculum.

Each of the six presentations was asked to answer the question of how their proposed project addressed the grant criteria of “New, innovative projects that address local need”. All presentations were expertly delivered and inspiring! “It is our sincere hope that each of these projects receives the funding they require, and we encourage you to build direct relationships with these charities” said Amy Dale, ESCF Board and Grants Committee Member. “We will do our part to help get the word out by recording and sharing video presentations and look for new opportunities through our other Funds.” All videos will be posted on the ESCF website once edited.

There was certainly a theme to applications and presentations as the evening unfolded., and that was’ Our physical, mental, and social health depends on us being more active and being more connected to our environment and to our community’.

It was not surprising then to see who won the vote! Each paid up member of the 100 People Who Care donor circle had one vote.

And when those votes were tallied…. the winner was…… Kettle Creek Environmental Trust with their new project called “Re-Wild the Family”!

This funding will provide startup funds for a multi-year project that will work with 7 families each year who have never camped before and help them to build a meaningful connection with nature and the local natural treasures we have in Elgin County. Each family will receive camping equipment, free camp sites and a mentor who will support quality experiences and basic education of the natural world and how best to enjoy it!

Some clips from their presentation last night helpPicture1 explain the need for this project (as presented by Elizabeth Van Hooren of the Kettle Creek Environmental Trust):

“This is your modern family … 45% of Elgin St. Thomas residents reported to the Health Unit that they are not active at all…. Bored, unhealthy, disconnected … most believe they don’t have the means to get healthy … don’t have enough money to do organized sports or take a family vacation … so they remain status quo … indoors behind their screens.

Re-wild the family is innovative because it is not just a one off experience …

Inactive families who have never camped before because of lifestyle circumstances, immigration, or income are shown that an active lifestyle doesn’t mean an expensive lifestylePicture2

A family can camp for $37 a night … if they have the right gear

A small investment … and suddenly instead of families reporting inactivity … they discover the wild side

  • Bird watching
  • Hiking … there are countless hiking trails that can be access for free
  • Camping

Healthy Active Living….just getting outdoors can improve your health”

The Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation extends our CONGRATULATIONS to Kettle Creek Environmental Trust and a heartfelt thank you to all who submitted applications and presented last night! This was a wonderful way to learn more about what each of these charities sees as their upcoming priorities and the exciting potential in our community!

The next Grant Cycle for 100 People Who Care will be Spring, 2017. Watch for details and application deadlines on our website www.escf.ca.

June 2016 Grant. KKET

PHOTO Credit Emily Castelein:  Left to Right: Kelly Ruddock, ESCF Chair, Elizabeth VanHooren, KCET Secretary/Treasurer  and Catharine Sloan, KCET Marketing Director

Congratulations Noah Rolph!

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!


CELEBRATING the Jean Macdougall Fund!

A chance lunch date introduced Jean to Port Stanley where she purchased a home on the shore of her beloved Lake Erie.

Jean was a woman ahead of her time. She was interested in the environment and organic farming decades before it became part of the public dialogue. She was keenly interested in politics, in particular the enfranchisement of women and First Nations. Her gentle spirit was combined with a fierce intellect, impeccable manners, graciousness, determination and a wicked sense of humour.

Though Jean’s career as an RN inspired much of her work, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to ventures such as a family shelter, arts and crafts gallery, The Nellie McClung Academy- a residential girls’ school, and to create the products BellySling and SpineAlign.

Jean’s home was her sanctuary and she loved to sit and look at the lake and think. Her ruminations led to many initiatives, including the creation of a local think tank. She served on the board of many community organizations and was recognized with a Central Elgin Cultural Heritage award for her work in establishing the Stork Club Museum and Interpretive Centre.

Jean loved unconditionally and she created family wherever she was. Her loss continues to be felt by the many members of Jean’s families. Her favourite quote is attributed to her cousin, well known as a Canadian suffragette, Nellie McClung, “Never retract, never explain, never apologize – get the thing done and let them howl.”.

This fund will be used to empower, educate and support women; especially those interested in a future in the political arena.
At the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation everything we do is designed to help build more vibrant, healthy and resilient communities across Elgin County.

With the partnership of caring local people, we invest in community based solutions that create meaningful and lasting impacts.

Celebrating the NEW #I’VEGOTYOURBACK911 Endowment Fund


Our first responders have our backs in times of emergency. Theirs are the faces and voices we depend on when we are at our most vulnerable.

Jill Foster and Shaun Taylor have dedicated their time and energy over the last two years to make sure that every first responder knows that someone has THEIR back as well.

Their campaign started with modest intentions, support of paramedic colleagues Stephanie Romano and Denise Laing,  and a pledge to print some t-shirts and donate the proceeds to programs that support first responder’s mental health initiatives. Very quickly news of their project spread and grew into an international call for support. They built a website with resource links, have sold mountains of merchandise through their online store and donated the proceeds- many tens of thousands of dollars – to those organizations who support first responder’s mental health.

Their website http://www.ivegotyourback911.com/ reads: “First Responders are twice as likely to suffer PTSD. There’s no need to suffer in silence. The help you need is here. This website offers resources and services for the First Responder community to understand the various steps of a PTSD program from managing a crisis through to implementing best practices into an existing program.”

“Our granting has supported many worthy programs from therapy dogs to front line suicide prevention initiatives like TEMA’s documentary ‘The other side of the hero. “says Jill Foster co-founder of #IVEGOTYOURBACK911. “We wanted to ensure we could continue to support these and other charities, and working with the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation allows us to take this to the next level. By establishing an endowment fund, the ESCF is now collecting online donations for this campaign and can provide charitable receipting for the generous gifts that are helping to provide many of these grants. We have the potential to make a bigger impact and a longer term impact.”

The #I’vegotyourback911 Fund has been established to support charities with a focus on first responder’s mental health, and builds a legacy that will continue granting each year in perpetuity.

The establishment of their Endowment fund ensures ongoing and annual support for the charities and organizations they are passionate about.

“We are honoured to manage this endowment fund on their behalf that will continue to support their annual granting” states ESCF ED Karen Laine.


To contribute to  this fund visit our donor page here

#IVEGOTYOURBACK911. Jill and Shaun


100 People Who Care- Elgin County launch event!

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 http://www.escf.ca/leadership-initiatives/100-people-who-care/