Working together

The Community Foundation partnered with other non-profits at the Chamber’s October Business & Community Showcase. Our Fundraising Chair Sarah Groeneweg (centre) is joined at the Trivia Tunes Wheel by STEGH Foundation’s Paul Jenkins (left) and United Way’s Bobbi-Jo Gardiner.

Feeding the hungry

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


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.


Our Chair receives Canada 150 honour

Good news! Founding Chair, and current Board Chair of the Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation, Elaine McGregor-Morris is being honoured with a Canada 150 Award under the Railway City Big Top September 10, in a wonderful event organized by the offices of MP Karen Vecchio and MPP Jeff Yurek. Free tickets!

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

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