25 years after a small group of dedicated men and women came together to form the Morden Area Foundation, the organization has granted over $1 million back into the community.
The Morden Area Foundation celebrated their 25th anniversary this year. This year, the Foundation’s endowment fund has grown to $1,761,700.
“People in the community and area have been very generous,” chair of the board Allison Braun said. “It allows us to give that much more to the community.”
To celebrate 25 years of being in the community, the Foundation hosted several coffee events earlier this year to inform the public about the work they do.
“That was very telling,” executive director Lynda Lambert said. “When we were meeting with a bunch of those people [and] some of them had no idea or might have heard of us. They’re starting to find out that small donations are good, large donations are good. You’re supporting your town, nothing goes out of town, it’s all within Morden and area.”
This year, the 24 Hour Giving Challenge raised $21,110 for the Foundation, which meant they received an additional $6,000 ($2,000 each from the Winnipeg Foundation, the Province of Manitoba and Access Credit Union).
The total was $3,000 more than last year.
“It just went off the clock,” Lambert said. “I think our awareness is starting to finally click. We’ve been trying to work on awareness and get people to notice, and I think it’s finally clicking and people are responding.”
“A lot of people might see a picture in the paper every now and then, but a lot of people don’t really understand what the Foundation does,” Braun added. “We’ve done a lot of awareness on helping people understand what the Foundation does and how important it is to the community. I think people have really responded to that.”
The Foundation granted out just over $55,000 in 2017-2018. Their Power of the Purse raised $4,540 for South Central Cancer Resource, $2,254 for Pembina Hills Arts Council and $3,756 for the City of Morden/Western School Division for Mental Health Week.
Their grants also included a major donation of $12,150 to the Darlingford Fire Department for a new Jaws of Life.
Pay it Forward May has also been catching on between Morden and Winkler as both Foundations urge residents to do good deeds for the community and pay it forward during the month.
At their AGM on December 11, the Foundation granted $17,040 to the Morden Legion for the replacement of their elevator, and $5,000 to the Morden Activity Centre for new floors.
“It’s amazing,” Morden Legion president Bob Frost said. “This is what put us over the top. We were looking at probably two to three years of fundraising. With this grant from the Morden Area Foundation, that allowed us with what we could take out of our Poppy Fund, to start construction right away in the new year.”
Frost said the elevator should be completed and ready to go by the end of June at the latest.
“I can’t say how grateful the branch is,” Frost added. “We were a little worried about the decision to go that route, we were also concerned about how much we were spending on repairs… it’s a godsend.”
The Morden Activity Centre will be using their $5,000 to put in vinyl planking, which will be easier to clean and will replace the aging carpet that is in place.
“It really means a lot for our centre,” board chair Evelyn Currie said. “The flooring needs to be replaced, the carpet is beyond cleaning now.”
The Activity Centre is used by many organizations in the community and sees around 800 people a month. The new floor will cost around $40-45,000.
“There’s anywhere from 25 to 30 activities that are going on on a weekly basis,” Currie said. “If we get rid of the carpet, we have more space for all those physical activities as well.”
The Foundation has projects on the go along with their long-standing events. In April MAF will host Wills Week to present about donations through their wills.
In June the Morden Area Foundation will be heading to B.C. for a Community Foundations of Canada conference.