A strong FOUNDATION

By Marc Zienkiewicz

Cliff Zarecki has his work cut out for him.

The longtime Lac du Bonnet volunteer has been selected by the town and RM as chairman of a new committee meant to oversee the creation of a community foundation for the area.

“We’re really entering a feasibility phase at this point,” Zarecki said. “There’s a lot of leg work that’s going to have to be done to get this off the ground.”

Zarecki has been involved with trying to get a community foundation going for LdB in the past.

Several years ago, Winnipeg’s Thomas Sill Foundation — which was created in the 1980s when Sill willed his money to create it — was consulted by officials in LdB, but the project never got off the ground.

“The community had other issues it was dealing with at the time,” Zarecki said. “Now, though, might be the time to get it started, he
added.”

Community foundations — of which there are many in Manitoba — are independent charitable organizations that help facilitate community philanthropy, according to a report issued in 2006 by the Winnipeg Foundation.

Basically, they work like this. Money is put into a bank account by various members and organizations from the respective community, and only the interest generated by those funds is used for community projects such as health, education, and recreational initiatives. The money is usually handed out in the form of grants.

However, getting enough money to generate substantial interest is one of the major stumbling blocks, Zarecki said. The community will first have to be consulted to ensure there’s enough interest to make the project a success.

For example, money is often willed to community foundations, just as Sill did.

“If anyone wished to leave their money to the foundation, it would go into the account and only the interest would be spent,” Zarecki said.

A public meeting to gauge interest in the project will be held at the RM office July 25 at 7 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend.

MLA Gerald Hawranik, who has experience with organizing community foundations, will give a presentation. Ron Jackson, past president of the Beausejour-Brokenhead Community Foundation, will also speak.