Oakville Community Foundation announces two community‐wide programs

Oakville Community Foundation
Oakville Community Foundation announces two community‐wide programs
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Sarah McPherson

Sarah McPherson

Sarah is a veteran communications, fundraising and marketing professional with over 20 years’ experience working in the corporate and not-for-profit industry. Sarah has helped lead organizations through branding campaigns, fundraising events and annual campaigns, along with community-at-large special events. She is the Director of Communication and Development for the Oakville Community Foundation.

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At its Vital Community Event on October 25, 2017, the Oakville Community Foundation announced two significant community‐wide programs beginning in 2018:

1) Community Classroom – A School‐based Local Arts, Culture and Heritage Program

2) BE‐long Oakville ‐ A Community Open Doors Day – Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Programs will address some of the key issues facing Oakville: the rate of child poverty and the desire for greater sense of belonging in Oakville. The number of children under 18 years of age living in poverty in Oakville has increased since the last census – from 10.6% in 2011 to 12.4% in 2016.

In addition, The Foundation’s 2017 report “Belonging in A Community of Contrasts” shares the results of The Foundations’ recent Sense of Belonging survey identifying that more than one in four residents has a weaker attachment to Oakville; however, those who attend arts, culture and heritage events in our community have four times stronger attachment than those who do not.

Children under 18 years of age living in poverty in Oakville has increased since the last census – from 10.6% in 2011 to 12.4% in 2016.

“At a time when more of our children are showing up at our publicly funded schools living below the poverty line we know that we need to continue to work with community partners to create and fund vital solutions to address equity and housing needs. It also offers us a time to recognize that our families have financial obstacles to enjoying local cultural and recreational amenities and reduced capacity for funding school field trips,” stated Michael Whitcombe, Chair of the Oakville Community Foundation Board.

“Currently there are no formal programs linking our kids to our community – they are going through school without visiting our museums or the Centre for the Performing Arts. They are not learning about the Underground Railroad history or seeing performances by local arts organizations. We are about to change that… Our plan is to touch all 46 Oakville elementary schools and every K‐8 student in the long‐run ‐ all 22,000 and hopefully the majority of them next year. With sponsorship and donor support we plan to make this an annual program of the Foundation.”

1. Community Classroom

Beginning in 2018, the Oakville Community Foundation will address the lack of formal connections between local schools and cultural institutions and organizations with the launch of Community Classroom. The Oakville Community Foundation has been working closely with the two school boards, Town of Oakville’s cultural institutions and local arts and culture groups to develop curriculum‐based local arts, culture and heritage programs for our publicly‐ funded elementary students. The Foundation will be providing funding to support free in‐school performances and instruction in the early years and bussing and admissions to local cultural institutions in the latter years of elementary school. The Program will run as a pilot for the remainder of the school year January‐June 2018.

“The Halton District School Board is delighted that students will be participating in the Community Classroom Program and will have the opportunity to experience local culture both in the classroom and through trips into the community,” said Julie Hunt‐Gibbons, Superintendent HDSB.

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“Getting our students into the local environs and giving them the opportunity in Grade 5 to hear directly from an Indigenous Knowledge‐keeper helps meet many additional Ministry of Education priorities like the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework,” stated Karen Becker, Curriculum Consultant at the Halton Catholic District School Board.

The Oakville Community Foundation recognizes the need to deliver broader impact across our community, and in the Fall 2017, the Board of Directors agreed to a strategic repurposing of funds to support the new Community Classroom program from two of The Foundations Grants Programs – the Ontario Endowment for Children & Youth and the Oakville Heritage Trust. The Foundation is very thankful to the Community Classroom sponsors: Connecting sponsors Toronto Pearson, Transportation Partner Attridge Transport, In‐school performance sponsor Genworth Canada, Grade 5 Indigenous Trail sponsors Union Gas, CN Rail and the Ministry of Education. The Foundation is looking for additional partners to provide even greater coverage for programs. Further sponsors and community support will complete the funding for the pilot and annual commitments to become a permanent part of an Oakville publicly‐funded elementary education. To support the initiative please visit the Foundation website at www.theocf.org

“We are excited to confirm our support as Connecting Sponsor for the Community Classroom Program for the next three years, bringing this thoughtful programming to 46 schools and 22,000 students. Partnering with the Oakville Community Foundation on this important initiative provides Toronto Pearson with an opportunity to help build a more inclusive and connected community. As an airport, we serve as a connector to people, businesses and places, but we also work to connect our neighbours to vital resources that help uplift and strengthen their communities,” said Robyn Connelly,Director of Community Relations, Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

Details of the Program will be available to teachers, students and their families by the end of November on the Foundation website.

2. BE‐long Oakville

“Families will be able to enjoy free skates and swims at Town and YMCA recreational facilities including over 14 hours of recreational and special needs skating and shinny hockey, and over 20 hours of With one in four residents having a weaker attachment to Oakville, The Foundation’s new initiative “BE‐ long Oakville”, taking place on Saturday, March 17, 2018, the last Saturday of March Break, will help to welcome families into cultural and recreational facilities, plus other area activities across the community.

By “Be[ing] Engaged” and “Be[ing] Involved” members of the community can “Be part of their community” and “BE‐long”. At the Vital Community Event, Foundation Board Vice‐Chair Joanne Peters, announced the first annual Foundation sponsored Community Open Doors Day, recreational swimming at the YMCA and a number of community centres,” stated Ms. Peters.” This is just the start. We are looking for more organizations to join us and welcome local families on this day.”

Cultural programming will also be available at the Oakville Galleries and Oakville Museum from 10 am to 5 pm for families to enjoy. Details of the times and locations will be available through www.theocf.org and will include details such as list of events by category and/or time slot, brief outline of event details, and anticipated is an animated map to show location of all events. Listings will also be available at the Town, and YMCA of Oakville in early 2018.

Vital Community Event: A Celebration of Arts and Belonging

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