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“Belonging in a Community of Contrasts” Report Released

Celebrating Arts and Belonging In Oakville

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“Belonging in a Community of Contrasts” Report Released
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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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The Oakville Community Foundation’s latest report, “Belonging in a Community of
Contrasts”, a continuation of the work of their Creating Vital Solutions, shares insights on how residents of Oakville are experiencing belonging differently in the community. Survey indicates that 31% of residents have a strong attachment to the community, while 26% have a weak or somewhat weak attachment.

Residents are also experiencing being welcome and unwelcome in the same place ‐ Business, Shops and Restaurants, as well as Neighborhoods, both made the top five places where residents felt welcome and unwelcome. Similarly, almost as many respondents, about 10%, didn’t feel welcome anywhere in Oakville; while slightly more, 15% stated that there was nowhere that they did not feel welcome in Oakville.

“While the report indicates that more than 1 in 4 has weaker belonging, the good news is that almost all residents, 96% very strongly agree or strongly agree that it is very important to have a strong sense of belonging where you live, work and visit. So residents have a desire for greater belonging ‐ a longing for belonging ‐ which offers the opportunity to build greater belonging,” said Wendy Rinella, CEO of the Oakville Community Foundation.

Other key findings:

    • ‐  Residents who live in postal codes below the QEW have a stronger sense of belonging than those who live above the QEW in Oakville’s newer communities.
    • ‐  43% of respondents smile and say hello to their neighbours, while 54% are on a first name basis with neighbours.
    • ‐  Community and Cultural locations (libraries, community centres, museums) were listed as the #1 welcome spot and at the same time listed as the #8 on the list of places where people do not feel welcome.
    • ‐  When asked what contributes to their pride, top responses included 1) Places ‐ like the downtown and waterfront; 2) People; and 3) Attributes ‐ like cleanliness, safety and beauty.
    • ‐  When asked what reduces their pride residents identified the 1) increasing number of vacant storefronts and homes; 2) snobby and classist attitudes; and, 3) the increasing density of the new housing being built.

Sponsors like The Foundation’s Title Sponsor FirstOntario Credit Union have expedited the work by The Foundation and its partners, which has enabled a deeper dive into the challenges identified in the original 2015 Vital Signs report, “A Community of Contrasts”.

…almost all residents, 96% very strongly agree or strongly agree that it is very important to have a strong sense of belonging where you live, work and visit.

“We are happy to support The Foundation’s efforts to build more effective philanthropy on this journey from Vital Signs to Creating Vital Solutions. FirstOntario recognizes the importance of making strategic community investments and we are excited to see the outcome of the first steps towards Funding Vital Solutions in 2018,”said Joanne Battaglia, Associate Vice President, Partnerships & Community Impact at FirstOntario Credit Union.

Oakville Community Foundation announces two community‐wide programs


On October 25th the Oakville Community Foundation supported by its sponsors, FirstOntario Credit Union, Genworth Canada, Ford of Canada, Union Gas and Toronto Pearson launched “Belonging in a Community of Contrasts” report, the 2nd in their Creating Vital Solutions reports. The report provides an update to the data presented in the Foundation’s 2015 Vital Signs report “A Community of Contrasts” and includes highlights of the Sense of Belonging research conducted by the Foundation in June 2017. The Sense of Belonging Survey was supported by the Town of Oakville and the YMCA of Oakville and provides a “selfie” of 1220 residents’ views on Belonging in Oakville.

The report is available at www.theocf.org/publications .


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