Hamilton is always home for Yvonne Farah. Having grown up here, she now promotes the Hamilton story to members of her international MBA program. She’s also feeling her way into her personal direction in philanthropy – a legacy from her parents Elham and Joseph Farah, who established an HCF fund in 2005 that focuses on peace education and supports the YMCA’s Peace Medal program. Yvonne has been involved with those efforts for several years and has begun exploring additional avenues for strategic philanthropy as a contributor to the Foundation’s Women 4 Change initiative.
Even with a firm grounding in her family’s tradition of giving, she says that as a “borderline millennial” the idea of philanthropy can be daunting, but it needn’t be. That became clear through her affiliation with Women 4 Change.
“I realized that we do things every day, like mentoring a younger person, without labeling those actions philanthropic,” she says. “I’m so impressed and touched by the women in the group and the work that they do.”
Getting to see HCF’s expertise in action has been exciting to Yvonne. She is hoping to become more involved once she finishes her MBA in June and returns full-time to Hamilton and her family’s convenience store business. Even with her international focus, “home is home” she says. “There’s always a connection.” The Farah tradition of philanthropy is alive and well in the next generation.
Excerpt from 2018 Annual Report
Lifelong Hamiltonian Frank Miller has a passion for travel — he has circled the globe four times — and an equal passion for his hometown and its citizens, tirelessly giving to local endeavors that have meaning to him.
“A light went on” says Frank when he realized that his resources were enough for him and he could indulge his philanthropic nature – a nature that was sparked by his mother when he was just a teenager. “She encouraged me as a boy to volunteer and to give away some of my earnings from my first part-time job.” Frank’s mother remained supportive of his giving until her death at 100.
Frank’s philanthropic interests are wide-ranging and he enjoys seeing his gifts in action. He has an extensive collection of teddy bears, and has shared this love by founding the Miller Bear Program at The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton (CAS), through which child protection staff can give bears to children who come into care, or who are in situations where they need comfort. Dominic Verticchio, executive director CAS describes the impact of this gesture
“The Miller Bears put a smile on the young faces of those who come to us as the most vulnerable and fragile members of our community.”
Through the Frank Charles Miller Fund at HCF, Frank supports nursing and medical students, St Matthew’s House, natural heritage projects like the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, and many other community efforts. He is also a long-time supporter of his church.
A successful entrepreneur, Frank wryly describes himself as “an infamous tightwad” for most of his adult life, but his record of giving belies that description. As he looks back – and ahead – he puts his philanthropy in perspective.
“The more you give away, the more you get back,” he concludes.
Excerpt from 2018 Annual Report
Turkstra Lumber has been operating in Hamilton and South Western Ontario for over 65 years. As active members of their community, Karen and Peter Turkstra sought to give back.
The Karen & Peter Turkstra Family Foundation Fund was established in 2012 to support the charitable giving of their family. Their prime focus has been on providing donations in the areas of youth, nutrition and education.
Since inception, the Karen & Peter Turkstra Family Foundation Fund has provided over 50 grants to community organizations including: Interval House of Hamilton, Hamilton Food Share, Mission Services of Hamilton, Healthy Community – Healthy Youth Flamborough and Robert Land Community Association amongst many other charities working to make Hamilton a vibrant and inclusive place.
Working with HCF, the Turkstra family are able to use their fund to address unmet needs in the community, now and forever.
Shelly Losani didn’t expect that being engaged in responding to community needs would feel so natural — and so important.
After years of family and corporate giving she says the feeling she has when she visits an organization and meets the people they are helping is more than satisfaction: “It’s a feeling of ‘yes of course’ — this is how it should be.”
Shelly’s husband Fred Losani, CEO of Losani Homes, has spearheaded their corporate and family giving over many years and also feels a deep responsibility to the community, both locally and internationally. The couple’s three children are involved too, learning new skills from hands-on experience and input into decision-making.
The company has encouraged the philanthropy of its corporate partners, with tireless help from employees. The family and staff of Losani Homes have worked around the world on housing, clean water, health, and other issues. They support Me to We and local charities like Hamilton Food Share, Good Shepherd, St. Matthews House and many others.
Hamilton Community Foundation is now home to The Losani Family Foundation Fund, offering the family the knowledge and professionalism of the HCF team.
“Initially, we just found our way,” says Shelly. “But we’ve grown. Now, with HCF, we have someone locally to guide us, make sure we are on track, organized and making an impact. That gives us comfort of mind.” She appreciates the Foundation’s knowledge and experience, and the role it plays in sorting through funding requests. ”We know what we want to do,” she says, “and having the Foundation involved means we are giving with a lot more confidence.”
“We’ve been fortunate and we’ve achieved success in our business,” says Fred. “I’m equally proud of the work we are doing through the Losani Family Foundation Fund. Every one of us has a responsibility to make a difference.”
Excerpt from 2017 Annual Report
Linda Hutchinson is ensuring that high standards continue in hospice and palliative care — a legacy that began with her father, Dr. Bob Kemp, a passionate crusader for quality end-of-life care. He played a critical role in bringing palliative care and the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice into existence in Stoney Creek/Hamilton.
This year, to further her parents’ goals, Linda and her husband Bruce have established the Dr. Bob and Mildred Kemp Palliative Care Education Fund to provide educational awards for health professionals (physicians, nurses and others) to improve their knowledge and skill in the practice of hospice and palliative care. As the need for end-of-life care grows and increases in complexity, specialized education is crucial.
“We have started this fund and as we build it up we are making one award each year,” says Linda. “We hope that others will contribute also so that the capacity of the fund to make educational awards will grow in the years ahead.” The couple has also involved their children as part of the advisory group to the fund, to encourage them to carry on the vision and generosity of their grandparents.
Linda and Bruce, whose careers have been in education, feel that locating their fund at Hamilton Community Foundation will help attract the broad community support they hope for. They encourage Hamiltonians who care about end-of-life care to contribute to either (or both) of the funds: the Dr. Bob and Mildred Kemp Palliative Care Education Fund for training and education, and the Kemp Hospice itself through the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice Endowment Fund. Both funds are at HCF.
“I know it was Dad’s hope,” says Linda, “that people in the community would recognize how important high-quality end-of-life care is and that they would support it.”
Excerpt from 2017 Annual Report
The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry’s long and rich history in this community now has another tie: a permanent endowment fund at Hamilton Community Foundation.
Known as the “Rileys,” RHLI is a professional, combat-capable army reserve regiment. It is the oldest combat infantry regiment in the Hamilton-Burlington area.
“The regiment’s history is Hamilton’s history,” says Honorary Colonel Peter Young, noting that the RHLI began in Hamilton in 1862 — before Confederation. Through every conflict since then, and many humanitarian crises, Hamilton families have sent soldiers overseas and across Canada with the RHLI.
Hamilton’s “Rileys” pre-date Confederation. Their HCF endowment will support community impact forever
The RHLI Endowment Fund will, in perpetuity, “look after the regimental family,” says Honorary Lieutenant Colonel Don Cranston. “And that family includes not only soldiers and their families, but also our two cadet corps, ceremonial guard, our band, our museum, our veterans association and our historical artifacts.”
As an agency fund, the RHLI endowment will support its wide-ranging programs such as bursaries for returning soldiers to pursue post-secondary education, loans and help with job transitions, a variety of family support services, maintaining the regiment’s archives, and other crucial services. Over time, the RHLI hopes to build the fund with legacy gifts and other contributions from families who share a history with the regiment.
The RHLI chose Hamilton Community Foundation to house its fund because of the “depth and breadth of the Foundation,” says Don. “Its great governance, its professionalism and track record, its brand recognition in Hamilton — all this is a huge assistance to the RHLI.”
Ray Cunnington’s passion is peace. And he believes that individuals, not just nations, create the conditions for peace both locally and around the world. He’s a perfect example of putting that idea into practice.
Ray has a long history of peace initiatives. At age 96 he recently published a book on peace called Towards Less Adversarial Cultures. The previous year he was awarded the Hamilton-Burlington-Brantford YMCA Peace Medal. Three years ago, he established a fund at Hamilton Community Foundation to provide support for Culture of Peace Hamilton, a United Nations-backed group which works with others in the community to promote non-violence locally. The group holds monthly meetings, sponsors a public peace lunch and discussion twice a year, and has made significant donations to the city’s Peace Garden. It continues to uphold the UN doctrine that peace involves individual commitment.
In 2000 the UN proposed six practical suggestions for people who wanted to promote peace — clear, straight-forward acts like rejecting violence and preserving the planet. More than 75 million people around the world pledged to follow them in their daily lives.
Six principles of peace in everyday life:
- Respect all life
- Reject violence
- Share with others
- Listen to understand
- Preserve the planet
- Rediscover solidarity
The United Nations’ Culture of Peace Manifesto 2000
But times change. The world has gradually shifted away from personal responsibility back to governments and nations. Concerned that these very good suggestions might get lost or forgotten, Ray looked for a way they could be preserved and protected.
He found a home for Culture of Peace at HCF. He saw Terry Cooke on television, and “Terry made it seem so simple to set up a fund for a good purpose” Ray says. “The Foundation is a respected organization of thinking people who want to do something good for the world.” Ray is certainly one of them.
Excerpt from 2017 Annual Report
Hamilton treasure is HCF’s newest agency fund
Establishing a long-term endowment fund at Hamilton Community Foundation has given the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum “instant credibility” with contributors says the museum’s President and CEO, David Rohrer.
“We needed to develop a legacy gifts program for the museum,” he says, “and we quickly realized that we weren’t best suited internally to manage those investments. The community foundation offers the expertise we need. We are very pleased to be affiliated with HCF in this way. It was the right step.”
David points out that placing its endowment with HCF – the organization made its initial investment in 2015 – also exposes the museum to a wider range of potential supporters. The museum has a goal of contributing 10 percent of undesignated gifts to the fund, he says, and having the endowment at arm’s length protects it from the pressures of day-to-day operations.
“We are community-based and proud to be in Hamilton,” says David, “and we are very grateful for HCF’s support of the museum’s High Flight program, in addition to the endowment fund.” The High Flight initiative offers field trips and approved curriculum to Grade 6 science and Grade 10 history students. Twenty-five schools in the region participated this year. David illustrates the influence of the program: one of Canada’s current CF-18 fighter pilots reports that he got his first taste of aviation with a visit to the museum decades ago.
“The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is the largest flying museum in Canada,” says Terry Cooke of HCF. “It has been a Hamilton treasure for 44 years. We are thrilled that such an outstanding organization trusts us to manage its long-term endowment.”
Excerpt from 2016 Annual Report
The Brehms have confidence in HCF’s decision-making
Marnie Brehm has been involved with Hamilton Community Foundation since the 1980s, as a Board member and a contributor. She knows it well and trusts it to understand community needs. She and her husband Bill contribute regularly to the Community Fund.
“The Community Fund gives the Foundation capacity to respond to the most urgent needs in the community,” she says. Recent examples include the Foundation’s poverty work and its ABACUS education initiative.
Marnie, an accountant, and Bill, a retired planning consultant, have volunteered their time and talents at the leadership level in many organizations over the decades and they have confidence that Hamilton Community Foundation assesses community needs effectively. That is one reason they support the Community Fund – what Bill says in other organizations might be called the “general fund.” They also like the flexibility the Community Fund gives the Foundation and the speed with which it responds to changing community needs.
Marnie and Bill both support the community in a variety of ways – through HCF and other organizations – and they feel giving to the Community Fund is an important component of their philanthropy.
“While we could choose to support a particular cause or issue – and we do that in other aspects of our giving – we think the Community Fund is crucial too,” Marnie says. “The Foundation is in a position to best determine the needs of the community and this gives them the capacity to respond.”
Bill agrees: “Marnie’s Board experience and our contacts with staff give us confidence in the Community Fund decision-making process. The Foundation works hard to identify and address key needs to be filled in the community.”
Excerpt from 2016 Annual Report
Terry and Brenda Yates see the community foundation’s current emphasis on education as a “natural evolutionary step” from its focus on eliminating poverty and they’ve made a significant commitment to help launch ABACUS, HCF’s community-wide initiative.
“As a former teacher,” says Brenda, “I believe that education is one of the best ways to bring people out of poverty. If you can help keep children on an educational path, they will find their way – despite difficult challenges in their backgrounds.”
Terry points to the mentoring component of the ABACUS program as one of the critical factors. “If children see someone older succeeding because of education – an older brother or an uncle or someone else they know – it makes a huge difference. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Yates have been actively involved with Hamilton Community Foundation since the 1990s and they appreciate its role in the community. “It’s an incubator,” says Brenda, describing the Foundation’s process of researching issues, bringing stakeholders together, and crafting shared solutions that maximize every partner’s unique contribution. They were early champions of the ABACUS idea and look forward to seeing it adopted in different ways across the community. Their new fund at HCF – the Terry and Brenda Yates Fund – is targeted at ensuring that “all children and youth have access to educational opportunities.”
“HCF is playing a unique leadership role,” says Terry, about why HCF is the home of their new fund. “The quality and commitment of the personnel at the community foundation is respected in the city. It’s recognized as an organization that believes in the future.”
Both Brenda and Terry love Hamilton and marvel at how readily Hamiltonians participate in philanthropy – with time or resources, each according to what he or she can do. While they are two outstanding examples, whose impact is incalculable, Terry just says “if you have a chance to make a difference, you should take it.”
Excerpt from 2016 Annual Report