Inclusion and inspiration flourish in the community of Windsor

This year, staff from Community Foundations of Canada’s offices will continue to visit to local community foundations across the country, getting a chance to build relationships in person, and gain a greater on-the-ground understanding of what our network is up to.

Past visits have shown how fruitful these interactions can be. Just last fall, Claude Lauzière—formerly a manager of community knowledge at CFC—spent a few days with the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation (WECF). One of 45 community foundations in the province of Ontario, WECF has been operating in the area for more than 30 years.

During her visit, Claude shadowed WECF’s Executive Director Lisa Kolody and her staff of two as they went about their daily activities—posting cheques, greeting board members who stopped by, and discussing their Inspiration 100 project, which aims to recruit a group of philanthropists who collectively pledge to donate $2.5-million over the course of 10 years.

As it was her first visit to Windsor, Claude also took the opportunity to learn about the community. “I went for a walk on the waterfront one evening and you could see the diversity and a lot of newcomers to Canada,” Claude said, explaining that she discovered that Windsor welcomes a disproportionately large number of immigrants and refugees relative to its size. Initially, she says, an affordable cost of living attracted individuals, but now established immigrant communities “provide opportunities for newcomers to adjust to Canadian society, but also interact with their own culture.”

Her visit also coincided with a Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees ceremony attended by several media outlets, during which WECF announced contributions to support the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County.

Claude also came away with a greater recognition of the sheer amount of work accomplished by small, committed staffs. “I got a greater appreciation of their capacity,” she said. “And what it takes to run a foundation.”

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