By Marc Zienkiewicz
Organizers are going ahead with their attempt to make a community foundation a reality for Lac du Bonnet.
Cliff Zarecki, chairman of a committee formed to try and get the foundation off the ground, said he was encouraged by a recent meeting held at the RM office to promote the concept, which included presentations by MLA Gerald Hawranik and past Brokenhead River Community Foundation chairman Ron Jackson.
“It went great and everyone present definitely thought it was a good idea,” Zarecki said.
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.
Jackson said he too is hopeful a foundation can be built in LdB, and said the idea is “one of the few ways” to ensure the future of rural communities.
“Nowadays, the young people just aren’t volunteering like they used to,” Jackson said. He noted that service clubs around the province, like the Lions and the Knights of Columbus, are having trouble attracting new members.
“Most younger people just don’t have the time to volunteer what with increased family and work commitments.”
Zarecki said if a community foundation in LdB came to fruition, the money generated each year would be roughly equal to the amount the community’s Lions Club is able to raise on an annual basis.
Zarecki himself is past president of the LdB Lions.
“With a foundation, the community would have its money working for it, rather than depending on us old folks to do that work,” he said with a chuckle.
The community will also have help from Winnipeg’s Thomas Sill Foundation, which will give $1 for every $2 raised by the LdB community within three years up to a maximum of $100,000.
The Brokenhead River Community Foundation also received a boost from the RM of Brokenhead and the Town of Beausejour, which kicked in $10,000 to help start up the foundation, which has been going strong for about eight years.
It currently has around $360,000 in assets, making around $18,000 a year available for grants, scholarships and administration.
Zarecki and his planning group — which includes councillors Harvey Saunders and Gus Wruck, Donna Tschetter, Lions Club President Daryll Hyslop, Kim Buhay and Bill Russell — will take on the task of promoting the idea to the public and coming up with a marketing plan.
The foundation must also become a registered charity.