Free ‘Grow with Woolwich’ events are scheduled to begin this fall thanks to a $10,000 grant provided by the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation. The initiative is aimed at fomenting a sense of community.
“‘Grow with Woolwich’ is the theme,” explained Ann McArthur, director of recreation at the Township of Woolwich. “It’s to support social inclusion and to create a sense of belonging in our settlements. We want to have little events that bring the community together and where families can work together, so there might be a tree-planting opportunity, there might be small crafts that they can do.
They hope to add a little extra to well-known events already existing within the community. However, they are open to new ideas and input, as well.
“Some existing events are occurring in some of the settlements already,” said McArthur. “We’re going to partner up with those events. Some of the details still have to be fleshed out in regards to that, but there are some events in the fall that we’ll tag on to, and then we’re going to invite other partners to be part of those events.”
Making this initiative possible is the KWCF, often described as a charity for charities.
“The Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation is an organization that is really focused on making it easy for people to do more good in communities across Waterloo Region,” explained the organization’s Lynne Short. “We are partnering with the cities and the townships and asked them to proactively talk about initiatives that were focused on residents within their communities and what might resonate.
“And the Township of Woolwich determined that it would be helpful for us to support Grow with Woolwich.”
Currently, the foundation holds more than $100 million in total assets under management. In 2017, the organization approved grants of $3.2 million to non-profits and local charities.
“We’re an organization that people within the community provide funds to, so we set up endowment funds,” explained Short. “Annually we distribute money from the investments on those funds out to the community.”
Since the foundation was first created it has provided some $44 million to non-profits and charities throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. They have previously collaborated with the township.
“We have worked with Woolwich before, and have done some other grants to the community through our Vital Grants initiatives in the past,” said Short.
This Vital Grants program was initiated in 2015 that committed $300,000 over two years to Wellesley, Woolwich, Wilmot, Kitchener, and Waterloo. The KWCF challenged local leaders to identify the unique barriers in the way of a sense of belonging in the community, and worked to design a project that responded to the challenges.
McArthur invited the community to contact community develop officer Sarah Hignell if they wished to contribute in any way.
“I think each settlement is unique, and we’d like everyone to participate,” said McArthur. “If the community wants to get involved, if they have an idea, if they want to tag onto an event that she’s working on, her information is available. If the community has some ideas, we’d love to hear from them.”
Hignell can be reached at 519-669-1647, ext. 8002.