(By Rick McGregor, Lac du Bonnet Clipper, June 1 2023)
An inspiring night of gratitude and grants brought an air of excitement to the Historic St. John’s Heritage Church Hall on May 17 at the Lac du Bonnet & District Charitable Foundation’s Annual Public Meeting and Celebration of Giving.
The Lac du Bonnet & District Charitable Foundation was founded in 2008, inspired by an idea from long-time resident Dr. Bob Rutherford. Joined shortly by other community-minded people, the Foundation was formed to create and mange a fund to distribute its earnings to qualified local charities.
Foundation history was in the room May 17 with Dr. Rutherford’s son, Mauri, and early president, John Barnard, in the audience.
First on the agenda was series of presentations from three of the Foundation’s board members, including the treasurer’s report of current finances from Dick Campbell and the nomination committee report from Dave Johnson.
Grants were the order of the night as they revisited the 2022 grant recipients and announced the new beneficiaries for 2023. First up was Tannis Lodge of the Lac du Bonnet Community Garden, which received $3,000 for Greenhouse infrastructure to grow healthy foods and other plants.
Next was the Lac du Bonnet Historical Society’ Terry Tottle who received $6,500 for Phase 4 of the St. John’s Heritage Church Foundation’s Remediation Project.
Nicki Blatz of the Great Falls District Recreation Association accepted a $2,000 cheque fro pole banners celebration the 100th Anniversary of Great Falls.
The HEROS Alliance – Lunch Is On Us program, which provides healthy soup twice weekly to anyone needing a free lunch, was next. Kristen Ticknor was please to receive their grant of $500 for a cabinet and shelving to store supplies.
John Fleming of the Eastman Snopals received $3,000 for a snowmobile trail groomer track repair program.
The final 2023 grant of $1,000 went to the Ronald McDonald House Charities for the fourth of a five-year commitment towards a $20 million project constructing a new 40-bedroom Ronald McDonald House in Winnipeg.
“It is very exciting that we are only halfway through our year and have already awarded grants almost equal to last year’s total,” board member Janice Leroux said.
A heart-warming side-story to the evening was learning how two of this year’s recipients work together. Some of the vegetables grown at the community garden are donated to the Lunch Is On Us program to be used in their soups, keeping the cost of the lunches down for the charity.
“We are very pleased with the turnout, and we are really happy to provide the recipients the opportunity to tell us what they are doing with the money and how it supports their endeavours,” said Foundation President, Gary Rollins.