Brockville and Area Community Foundation celebrates its 40th anniversary
The Brockville and Area Community Foundation is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, marked with a themed gala to be held on November 1. The BACF, founded in 1974, has helped more than 100 organizations and granted $1.1 million in funding since 2000.
In this week’s Q&A interview, BACF board of directors chairwoman Rose Lalonde and Charles Massey, the chairman of both the gala committee and the grants committee and a member of the board of directors, speak about how the organization has served the community for four decades.
Q: What’s the history of the BACF?
RL: It was started by a group of community leaders. Really, they were men before their time, because not too many communities had a community foundation back then. For the last 15 years or so, there’s been 191 community foundations (formed) in Canada.
Q: What are some of the values of the foundation?
RL: Our first one is to build endowment, so we have funds to grant to the community as the community’s needs change over the years. The second one is to give good grants to help strengthen the community. The third one is to provide community leadership.
Q: How much funding has the BACF given over the years?
RL: Last year, we marked over $1 million since 2000. We’re about $1.1 now. In 2014, we’ll give out approximately $60,000.
CM: We’ve grown over the last six years.
RL: Since the year 2000, the board has been working really hard in trying to grow our endowment.
CM: The fund had kind of languished and not a lot was happening, so we tried to reinvigorate the Brockville and Area Community Foundation, with the focus of really trying to promote it and build the endowment funds.
Q: Does the BACF do fundraising throughout the year?
CM: We do fundraising just once a year, at the gala. This will be our sixth one, and it might be our last because we’ll look at other ways of generating funds. This year’s theme is Phantom of the Opera and we’re hosting it at the Brockville Country Club on November 1. We’re featuring local entertainment, including Todd Noel, who has performed Phantom of the Opera in Toronto. We’re flying in one of his friends, Melissa Dye, who played the female lead. It’s meant to be a fun night, but also to raise money for the (BACF) so that we can raise our granting for next year.
Q: How do you find community support for the BACF?
CM: It’s betting better. People like the idea of having a charity and giving them cash directly. The idea behind the foundation is almost like an investment account and you leave some of the capital there, and grant out what it earns. The idea behind that is people want perpetuity.
RL: I find that we are a catchall for the community and I consider ourselves facilitators. We facilitate for those donors who would like to make a donation to their community on an ongoing basis. A lot of people see us as just fundraising and granting money out once a year, but we do so much more than that. We manage our endowment with the funds that have been entrusted to us, we account for it, we report to our fund holders.
Q: How is the organization managed?
CM: We’re a very lean organization. We have no full-time employees or even part-time employees, other than someone who helps with the books and some computer stuff. It’s a very active volunteer board.
Q: What are some options if people are interested in donating?
CM: If people want to donate to the community, they can give to our Community Fund. We manage that and the money generated from that is always put back into the community in terms of our granting. If people are interested in setting up an endowment fund, it’s really not that hard.
RL: There’s a misconception out there that you need a lot of money to donate, and you don’t. If you want to make a donation for $25, that would go into the Community Fund. That’s the general fund that the board of directors can grant out annually.
CM: You don’t have to be a Fulford if you want to set up an endowment fund.
RL: Our minimum is $5,000 to set up an endowment fund, and we give you five years to get to that.
Q: What’s your criteria when you’re granting from the community fund?
CM: There are certain criteria, like they have to be a nonprofit and they have to meet the criteria set out when we do the calls of grants. We really look at a wide breadth of avenues.
RL: The sectors that we cover from the community fund are arts and culture, community development, education, environment, health, heritage preservation, recreation, social service and youth. We try to balance out all those sectors when we’re granting out money.