Charitable Foundation set to give first grants

By Marc Zienkiewicz

The Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation will hold its first annual general meeting next month — the initial step to giving out its first grant money to worthy community causes.

“We’re on the right track. We’re very happy with what we’ve accomplished,” foundation president Cliff Zarecki said.

The foundation has invested its money — the fund sits at $75,000 at present — with the Winnipeg Foundation. Doing so insures the foundation’s funds continue to grow even with economic instability, and as a bonus the Winnipeg Foundation gave $10,000 as a “welcome aboard” gift.

Around $900 will be available for granting in 2010. Next year, Zarecki said that amount will rise to more than $2,000.

“It’s great to finally be able to accomplish our purpose, which is to facilitate community philanthropy,” he said.

The original idea for the foundation came from a local resident, Dr. Bob Rutherford, who in his later years spoke of the need for creating a charitable foundation in the Lac du Bonnet area. He passed away before his dream became a reality.

His son Mauri, a lawyer, promised his father that he would assist to get a community foundation established. Mauri now sits on the foundation board as chairman.

Still, it would be several more years until the foundation was actually formed. In 2006, RM of Lac du Bonnet councillor Gus Wruck contacted Zarecki to discuss trying once again to get a foundation established in Lac du Bonnet. Zarecki has been very active with the area Lions Club and numerous other community causes. The foundation finally achieved charitable status and became a reality in 2008.

Numerous community organizations and individuals have donated to the foundation, including a massive $25,000 donation from the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association and a $10,000 contribution from the Lions.

Most recently, the staff of Lac du Bonnet’s Horizon Insurance have held a Casual Friday each week, with employees each paying $2 for the privilege of coming to work in casual clothing. They will be donating the money raised to the foundation.

“It’s efforts like this that help ensure the foundation will be a success,” foundation vice president Gus Wruck said.

Home Hardware owner Al Richter also recently became the foundation’s first corporate donor, donating $2,000 to cover the organization’s administration costs.

The upcoming annual general meeting will include information on the foundation itself, the kinds of projects it will fund, how to apply for grants from the foundation, as well as an election of officers.

The meeting, to be held at the Lac du Bonnet Pioneer Club, will take the form of a potluck dinner, and anyone attending is asked to bring a dish.

The meeting takes place March 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Options on the table for foundation

By Marc Zienkiewicz

Investing its capital with the Winnipeg Foundation is just one of several options the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation is examining as it passes the $60,000 mark. Foundation president Cliff Zarecki said investing its capital with the Winnipeg Foundation, which nearly 30 charitable foundations in the province already do, would have a number of benefits.

“If we did so, the Winnipeg Foundation would give us an endowment of $7,500 immediately,” Zarecki said. Furthermore, the Winnipeg Foundation would ensure no less than 3.5 per cent of the foundation’s money is distributed in the community each year.

In return, the Winnipeg Foundation would charge half a per cent for its services, but return a quarter of a per cent to the Lac du Bonnet foundation’s endowment fund.

“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of negatives to do so, but we haven’t made a decision yet,” Zarecki said. Another option is for the foundation to invest its capital in a GIC with Sunova Credit Union.

Other projects in works

Two other major projects are in the works by the foundation’s board. The board is planning a wine and cheese fundraiser that would take place sometime later this year, and is also attempting to form a granting committee composed of a number of community organizations, which would decide how the foundation’s money is to be distributed.

By law, the foundation must disburse 3.5 per cent of its money to the community each year.

Lac du Bonnet’s Bill McKelvey has also joined the board of directors, Zarecki said.

Charitable foundations are designed to facilitate community philanthropy by pooling donations and using only the interest generated to fund worthwhile projects in the community.

Foundation Participates in the Canada Day Parade in Lac du Bonnet

The Lac du Bonnet & District Charitable Foundation participated in their first Canada Day Parade Celebration! Even the blustery weather didn’t hinder the spirit of the community. People lined up along the streets to enjoy the entertaining floats while the children buzzed with anticipation with the traditional candy throw.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Carly Zarecki and Kristen McLean proudly carried the LDB Foundation banner while Melissa Cameron distributed the candy to the little ones. A special thanks to Gus Wruck for providing his antique Mercedes Benz for the float! It was a great success!

Lions give $10,000 to foundation

By Marc Zienkiewicz

From left: Lions Club and Charitable Foundation members Daryll Hyslop, Bill Russell, and Cliff Zarecki accept a $10,000 cheque from Lions Club president Nick Bessem..

From left: Lions Club and Charitable Foundation members Daryll Hyslop, Bill Russell, and Cliff Zarecki accept a $10,000 cheque from Lions Club president Nick Bessem.

Lac du Bonnet’s Lions Club is the latest community group to give a significant donation to the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation. The club gave a cheque for $10,000 to the foundation this week, bringing the foundation’s capital up to around $50,000.

“This is terrific. Once again we’re so grateful,” foundation president and Lions Club member Cliff Zarecki said.

Lions Club president Nick Bessem said the club has talked for awhile about donating to the foundation, and the time seemed right to make a contribution. Zarecki recently said the foundation should be able to hit the $100,000 mark by the end of summer.

“We’re happy to be able to help out,” Bessem said.

The foundation recently benefited from large donations courtesy of the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association (which gave $25,000), Coreen Pusiewich of Royal Bank ($1,000) and a fundraising effort taken on by high school student Carly Zarecki in conjunction with the Ashley Kovari fund.

The foundation’s purpose is to pool donations and use only the interest generated to fund worthwhile community projects.

Fundraiser successful

Lac du Bonnet Leader Letter

By Carly Zarecki

Re: First cut is the longest, March 20

I want to show my appreciation to everyone who supported me with pledges for my hair cutting campaign. This was my first fundraiser and it was a great experience.

Adele Vallencourt generously donated her time to cut our hair as did Amanda Gooding who raised over $400 and also cut her hair for cancer.

Amanda had 12 inches cut and even though I had 15 inches cut, I still have enough left to cut it again in a couple of years. Mrs. Doris Lussier and Kylie also donated their hair and one of our teachers Mrs Reynolds. All hair donations will be made into wigs for cancer patients.

The money we raised will be combined with the Ashley Kovari fund which will be set up as a sub fund under the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation.

Even though my fundraiser has ended, I hope everyone continues to contribute to the LDB Foundation in some way or another. The Foundation is a really great thing for our community because the more money raised for the LDB Foundation, the more interest is generated, and this is what goes back into supporting the people of our community.

Anyone who wants to learn more about it can go to the website at

Carly Zarecki

Golden locks snipped to make wigs, raise cash for foundation

By Marc Zienkiewicz

Amanda Gooding (left) and Carly Zarecki had their hair cut for a good cause March 18.

Amanda Gooding (left) and Carly Zarecki had their hair cut for a good cause March 18.

Carly Zarecki just had the first haircut of her life – and she’s in Grade 9. The Lac du Bonnet Senior School student had 12 inches of her golden locks snipped March 18. The hair will be used to make hairpieces for cancer patients. The young girl also raised more than $2,000 in pledges, which will go to the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation. The was admittedly a little nervous prior to the cutting, which was done by stylist Adele Vaillancourt, who donated her time and will cover costs to ship the hair to Anola to be made into wigs.

Zarecki began her quest just prior to Christmas. She’s been growing her hair for many years in honour of family friend Ashley Kovari, who died of a rare form of cancer eight years ago. She decided that once her hair reached 36 inches, she’d have 12 inches cut off to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society.

The recently-formed Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation was also uppermost in her mind. “I thought of Ashley and wanted to do what I could to help,” Zarecki said. She was joined in her hair-cutting adventure by Lac du Bonnet’s Amanda Gooding, who also had 12 inches snipped off. Gooding hasn’t had a haircut for nine years. “It’ll grow back – I’m not worried,” Gooding said.

Senior School principal Ron Sugden said everyone at the school is proud of Zarecki for starting her initiative. Senior School teacher Becky Reynolds also had her hair cut and donated just prior to the event. Gooding raised more than $400 herself to go the foundation.

Zarecki’s grandfather, Walter, said it was quite the shock to see her without her long hair, which hung to just above her waist. “That’s one thing I’ll always remember about her – that long hair,” he said.

So how did Zarecki herself feel about having a much shorter hairstyle? “It feels a little weird,” she said with a laugh. Lac du Bonnet’s Doris and Kylie Lussier also recently donated their hair to the cause.

Grade 9 student helping out cancer patients, charitable foundation

By Marc Zienkiewicz

carlyCarly Zarecki will cut her hair for cancer patients while taking pledges for the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation. She is calling on the Lac du Bonnet community to help her in her cause to help cancer patients and the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation.

Zarecki, a Grade 9 student at Lac du Bonnet Senior School, has been growing her hair in honour of family friend Ashley Kovari, who died of a rare form of cancer eight years ago.

Zarecki has decided that once her hair reaches 36 inches, she will have 12 inches cut off to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society to help make wigs for cancer patients.

She is asking for anyone with at least eight inches of “hair to spare” to join her in her hair donation effort. She is also asking for support through pledges that will be donated to the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation, which was recently formed to help fund community initiatives.

Money raised will be managed under a sub-fund for families and children in need of medical support.

“I thought of Ashley and wanted to do what I could to help,” Zarecki said.

To aid in the young girl’s cause, call Cindy at 345-2573. Pledges will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2009.

Fund created in Cheryl’s memory

cherylA substantial pledge was made last week to the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation in the name of the late Cheryl Bruce. Cheryl’s husband John has pledged $5,000 in the name of his wife, who died of cancer earlier this year, and the money will be used to start an “In Memory of Cheryl Bruce” sub-fund. The interest earned will be earmarked for local community initiatives and worthy causes in the future that would be dear to Cheryl’s heart.

“My hope is this fund will be of assistance to those in need in the future, with the emphasis on having Cheryl’s spirit attached,” John said.

Foundation member and Cheryl’s friend Brett Mitchell said the pledge is more than welcome and will ensure Cheryl’s memory and willingness to help her community will live on.

“Cheryl was a great volunteer and an ambassador of this community,” he added.

Cheryl was fond of helping out various community causes, including sitting on the rec district board, volunteering at the Lions Club seniors dinner and donating items to the town nursery school.

“Anything to do with children and needy families was especially of concern to her,” John said.

Cheryl’s friend Marilyn Stewart said the fund will be a fitting tribute.

“Cheryl would have been very proud to be a part of this,” she said.

For information on the foundation and to donate, contact Gus Wruck at 345-2206 or visit the foundation website at