Community Foundation Week in Kenora
Features launch of Smart and Caring Communities Initiative and $1 Million Granting Ceremony
It was a pleasure and honor to have Ian Bird, President and CEO OF Community Foundations of Canada and two time Olympian, with us to celebrate Community Foundation week in Kenora, from Nov. 5 – 9. Since Ian was only with us for two short days, we kept him beyond busy celebrating some important milestones and learning about Kenora’s history.
Ian flew into Winnipeg, so we had an enjoyable conversation during the 2.5 hour drive back to Kenora. Our first stop was to view a “Welcome Ian Bird – Two Time Olympian – Community Foundations of Canada” sign on the motel bill board where Ian was staying. The motel is owned by our founder’s Dale and Cindy Hogg. They wanted to make sure Ian was properly recognized and welcomed as he arrived into town.
Our next day started at 8:00 am with a live interview with Ian on Kenora’s radio station 89.5 The Lake. This station is one of our major operating sponsors and we were delighted to have Ian on their morning show. At 11:00 am, Ian and our Directors unveiled our revised highway sign stating that “Kenora is a Smart and Caring Community – $1 Million in Grants to Charities”. We had timed the unveiling of the revised sign to coincide with Ian’s visit, so we were pleased to have everything line up.
The launch of the Smart and Caring Communities Initiative was next with approx. 80-100 guests in attendance. Ian did a great job of introducing the topic and connecting us all to the Governor General’s message. Many individuals took the time to speak with Ian following the presentation.
Ian only had a couple of hours of down time before supper with several founders and volunteers and it was the start of the $1 Million cumulative Granting Ceremony. We had invited all of past granting recipients to attend the event, in addition to the sixteen charities you were sharing in the distribution of $63,000. I laughingly suggested I had made 150 phone calls and was hoping for 148 guests to attend. Well, I wasn’t too far off, as we had over 135 guests in attendance. Our keynote speaker, Andrew Paterson, our largest donor and a Director Emeritus, spoke of how the Kenora and the Lake of the Woods Region has been strengthened by the efforts of our donors, volunteers and charities. He encouraged all of us to join the movement and make a difference.
Ian had the opportunity to give a slightly abbreviated version of the Smart and Caring Communities launch to a different audience and to model our gift of a “Kenora Dinner Jacket. He was also kept busy with the distribution of grant cheques and participating in photo opportunities. Two very proud moments were when Ian joined our volunteers and founders in cutting the “$1 Million in Building Forever Together Cake” and when he watched all our grant recipients past and present join together for a formal photograph.
The Kenora and Lake of the Woods Regional Community Foundation extends a sincere thank you to Ian Bird for being with us during Community Foundation Week and leading us into the Smart and Caring Communities Initiative. We hope Ian enjoyed his visit as much as we enjoyed hosting him!