Wednesday, 14 December 2011 14:55

Brooks benefits from Community Foundation’s fall granting process

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By Rose Sanchez — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nine southeast Alberta groups were the beneficiaries of funding when the Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta handed out its fall grants last week.

“Although we had many worthwhile applications for assistance, these nine organizations had programs that seemed to reach out to our grants committee,” said Mike Christie, the foundation’s executive director in a news release. “All of the community grant funds will be used wisely to benefit southeastern Alberta.”

Receiving the largest grant was the Brooks Food Bank Foundation. The $10,000 cheque received will be used for the children’s lunch program.

“Our goal is to make sure children have healthy lunches so they can concentrate on their school work,” says Gwen Leitch, manager of the Brooks Food Bank.

The money will help purchase items such as fruit cups and puddings along with other funding from organizations such as the United Way to purchase milk and cheese.

More than 600 children are registered with the food bank in Brooks, although not all of those children are school-aged.

Lunches are handed out to needy families every two weeks, and there is enough lunch items to last each child 10 school days.

The Brooks Food Bank relies heavily on donations, as does any food bank in southeast Alberta, and the community hasn’t disappointed this Christmas season.

“It’s been overwhelming,” says Leitch, about the community’s support through the turkey drive, CPRHoliday Train and other initiatives.

The Brooks Communities in Bloom also benefitted receiving a cheque for $6,500 for its Commemorative Forest project.

The forest, located along the west bank of Lake Stafford, will be filled with a variety of trees dedicated to people or special events. The cost of each tree is $100 which is purposely kept lower than the actual cost of the tree and its ongoing maintenance.

The low cost is meant to encourage people to participate and make it affordable to do so.

The additional costs attributed to the Commemorative Forest will come from in-kind donations from the City of Brooks and local businesses, as well as grants from programs such as the Community Foundation.

“This funding will help cover our entire budget for the next three years and it will go towards ongoing growth and development of the project,” said Mary Ellen Gangl, co-chair for the Commemorative Forest project, in a news release.

The seven other organizations receiving grant funding included:

• The Champion’s Centre in Brooks — $2,500 for affordable supportive housing for men;

• Brooks and District Seniors Outreach Society — $600 for seniors’ outreach brochures;

• Foremost Municipal Library — $5,375 for an upgrade to the children’s area;

• Partners for the Saskatchewan River Basin — $5,000 for educating youth about fish habitat;

• Alberta Easter Seals — $5,500 for equipment and support services;

• Nature Conservancy — $2,500 for community outreach and awareness;

• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Society of Alberta — $6,650 for client services.

A total of $44,625 was handed out in community grants as well as $27,265 in designated grants for a total of $71,890.

“The community foundation exists to give back to the community,” said Cory Baksa, board chairman in a news release. “Whether it is through grant-making, endowment building or community leadership, we are constantly striving to make a positive influence on southeastern Alberta.”

Community members donate to the foundation and those donations are invested. The interest earned is what becomes grants back to the community. The initial donations are never lost being endowed in perpetuity.

Even though there has been some wild swings in the economy, the community foundation has returned its giving to full levels with this first grant session of the foundation’s fiscal year, says Mike Christie, executive director.

“We’re maximizing everything we’ve got ... we’re hoping, fingers crossed, we can get through this current year on the positive (side).”

The next grant process for the community foundation starts February 2012 with an application deadline of March 15.

Applications are available online at

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