Ian BirdIan Bird discusses Smart and Caring Community initiative

The Lake of the Woods Regional Community has kicked off a new initiative. President and CEO of Community Foundations of Canada was in Kenora for a presentation regarding the launch of the Smart and Caring Community initiative.

""The Smart and Caring Communities initiative has two big goals. The first is to try to serve all community through a community foundation by 2017. We're working hard on that in places not to far from here, where they don't have the benefit of what this community foundation has brought. The second thing that we're doing, is that we are is we're supporting the development of smart and caring community funds. These are endowment funds that can make a long term impact on the strength of our community," he said.

He also acknowledged the importance that the local foundation has in the community.

"The community foundation here has done some amazing things. There's an opportunity for folks in the region to bring their resources together with others to have those resources there today and make a difference today. Also in Perpetuity, where the interest off of the endowments is used to make donations to charitable purposes," he said.

Executive Director of the local community foundation Darlene MacGillivray says that the initiative will allow Kenora's community foundation to continue with their work.

"It means that we are going to keep on engaging donors. We are going to keep on making grants and we're going to play a role in community leadership as well. We have a couple of programs such as youth in philanthropy, celebrating community foundation week and celebrating the charities that are making a difference," she said.

The community foundation will be holding a special granting ceremony Wednesday night. They will be celebrating as they surpass $1 million in cumulative grants awarded to charities in the Kenora and Lake of the Woods Region. Since the foundation was formed in 2004, they have awarded grants to more than 50 local non-profit organizations, and more than $2.5 million in endowed funds.

LWRCF signIan Bird and members of the Kenora and Lake of the Woods Regional Community Foundation unveil their new sign in Kenora Wednesday

The nights events will feature a presentation by Bird, who is both the president and CEO of the Community Foundations of Canada, as well as a two time Olympian. There will also be a presentation by key-note speaker Andrew Paterson. Paterson has played a part in the community foundation since it's beginning. His contributions include a $500,000 endowment fund for an apprenticeship program for First Nations Youth.

Grants are distributed among non-profit organizations in the community based on their ability to fit criteria outlined by the grant committee. Previous grant recipients include social service providers, non-profit event organizers and animal welfare organizations.