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Community Foundation of Swan Valley

Leaving an everlasting legacy for the Swan River Valley, Manitoba, Canada

Story – December 17, 2013

Grants given at annual awards banquet

— December 17, 2013 by Tara Gray, Swan Valley Star and Times

Tara Gray
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Last year various organizations were given a little help to fund their projects. The Swan Valley Animal Protection League was able to build a warm up shed for its volunteers, Services to Seniors now has a multi-media projector for its workshops, and the Air Cadets Squadron 519 has a flight simulator to help train its cadets. These and other projects were assisted by funds granted by the Community Foundation of Swan Valley (CFSV), and after this year’s annual meeting, held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the Westwood Inn banquet room, another handful of groups will be able to see their dreams come true thanks to the foundation and those who have made donations to the CFSV endowment fund.

“Essentially what the foundation is all about is Swan River Valley’s money,” explained CFSV Vice Chairman Bob Woodward. “It’s all money that is donated or granted from people in the Valley. The interest on what is accumulated is what we spend.” Interest made on the donated money is given back to the community through grants. With approximately $1.5 million dollars collecting interest in the endowment fund, close to $34,000 was earned in interest, which was given back to the community in the form of grants at this year’s meeting. Charitable organizations within the Valley can apply for a grant, and once a year a granting committee gets together to decide how the available money will be dispersed.

Those who wish to make a donation have several options for leaving money with the foundation, either to disperse as the CFSV sees fit, or by the wishes of the giver. Any amount can be donated, but a certain amount must be given in order to designate. “There are fields of interest, gifts in kind, designated funds, and undesignated funds,” Woodward explained of the different categories of gifting. “Once you’ve reached a $7,500 donation, you can designate where it goes, if you choose.

But, it can’t go to churches. The CFSV is non-religious, and we do not pay for operating funds.” Such operating costs as phone bills, or internet bills, don’t fall within the foundation’s scope, but if a group needed funding for a hard cost like a computer purchase, the CFSV might be able to help. “It’s money given by people from here – it’s for us – none of it ever leaves the Valley,” Woodward explained. “In a hundred years from now when you’re no longer around, your name will be, because your account will never go away,” said Woodward. “It’s there forever.”

BMP Chartered Accountant Kristin Brading gave a glowing report of the CFSV’s financial statement. “Everything was good,” Brading said. “Investments in the endowment fund are $1.486 million, so pretty nice value for investments there.” Brading noted that donations from this year compared to the previous year were substantially higher. “Last year they were $50,000 and this year they were nearly $163,000,” she said. “It was a very healthy year for donations.” Anyone who wishes to view the CFSV’s financial statement is welcome to go to the BMP Chartered Accounting office for a copy.

Nearly 50 grants were given out during the meeting along with a small placard which was requested to be displayed in the area affected by the CFSV’s grant in order to raise awareness of the foundation.

Among those who accepted donations on behalf of organizations was Doreen Schure, who accepted a grant for kitchen upgrades on behalf of the Durban Recreation Centre. “This will help us get a new Kitchenaid and deepfreeze to help with those perogie sales,” Schure said.

Lee Cryderman accepted a grant on behalf of the Cowan Community Centre which will be put towards washroom and kitchen renovations. “Volunteer hours are what keep our small communities going,” said Cryderman. “It seems that all those hours fall on smaller and smaller numbers of shoulders. It’s very hard in a small community to keep the doors open and lights on and heat going, and to set aside enough money to get the renovations and the repairs that are needed, so this donation is very much appreciated.”

On behalf of the Minitonas Arena Committee, Lesley Sembaluk accepted a donation which will go towards a female change room. “We have a lot of young ladies who are joining co-ed teams,” Sembaluk said, noting that a female change room will be beneficial to girls who want to play hockey or participate in other co-ed activities.

SVRSS teacher Meredith Hamp accepted two grants on behalf of the SVRSS Youth Voice, one for Mini We Day and another for a breakfast program. “I’m not from Manitoba and I must say that I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of this community,” said Hemp, noting that this generosity influenced her decision to live in the Valley.

Portia Yablonksi was dressed in a beautiful Dolyna dancing costume when she and her father Mike Yablonski stepped up to accept a grant on behalf of the Swan River Dolyna Dancers. “We have seven dancers who in July will be going to the Ukraine,” said Mike Yablonski, noting that the donation will be put towards dancing costumes. “Our club is known for its costuming. When the kids go up on stage in their costumes, Swan River gets a little star on the map and we’re going to take that star to the Ukraine.”

Bill Gade accepted a grant for a traverse climbing wall on behalf of the Community Bible Fellowship Christian School. “I want to acknowledge the foundation for teaching the community of the Swan Valley to have dreams like this,” said Gade, who noted that thanks to big dreams the traverse climbing wall has become a reality and the donation from the CFSV marks its completion. He encouraged everyone to have big dreams.

Once the remaining grants were distributed, CFSV Board Chair Keith Behrmann shared his vision with those in attendance. “Everybody can make a difference – believe in yourself,” Behrmann said. “Whether it be a small dancer, or a senior citizen, you can make a difference. Twenty-five hundred dollars doesn’t seem like a whole lot of money to any one person, but to a community organization, that can be the difference between keeping the doors open and closing them forever. “I strongly and firmly believe in the foundation and what it does and what it can do.”

Behrmann shared the story of Winnipeg resident Hanna Taylor, who, as an eight year old girl, started the Ladybug foundation when she painted containers to look like ladybugs, and placed them around her community to collect money for homeless and hungry people. Today, as a young adult, Taylor spearheads many activities to raise awareness and funding to make a difference for those she cares for with the Ladybug foundation. Behrmann expressed his opinion that Taylor’s achievement stands as an inspiration for one and all. “Never doubt the fact that you can make a difference in this world,” he said. “You never know what that act might be, what those words might be. If you take your time, your talent, and yes, your treasures, they can be put to good works and make a huge difference in this world that we live in.”

Behrmann requested a short exposé and a project photo from each recipient for a special supplement to be released in the Star and Times which outlines the CFSV’s activities and impact. The CFSV supplement outlining last year’s grants was included in last week’s Star and Times.

Behrmann noted that as long as there are people in the Swan River Valley, the CFSV’s endowment fund will be there to return it’s gifts to the community. “The larger the pot the more money there is to distribute at the end of the year,” Behrmann said. “We’ve grown from a discussion around a cup of coffee to a foundation, and hopefully someday we’ll require the space at the Veterans Community Hall for the people who are recipients of our grants.”

If you would like to learn more about the foundation, go to their website at for details about the organization and for information on how you can make a gift that keeps on giving.