A billboard near the Montrose cut-off highlights Trail-Warfield’s Citizen of the Year Tom McEwan and the LeRoi Foundation‘s part of a nation-wide network.

LeRoi Foundation joins nation-wide awareness campaign

Laura Laratta, director at the foundation, says the campaign will spread the word about community foundations and the work they do.

Without the LeRoi Foundation, the Warfield Scouts would be up a creek without a canoe.

Just a piece of the nearly $200,000 given to community organizations by the foundation since 2009, the Scouts used their grant to buy a new canoe for trips and adventure.

Now, the LeRoi Foundation is one of 191 community foundations across the country participating in a national campaign to create awareness for the work they do.

The campaign has its own billboard on the Montrose hill, showing Trail-Warfield 2014 Citizen of the Year Tom McEwan, and promoting the work of community foundations. Every month, the campaign asks local foundations to nominate someone to be the face of the community foundation, or the community champion and the LeRoi Foundation chose McEwan.

Laura Laratta, director at the foundation, says the campaign will spread the word about community foundations and the work they do, hopefully leading to growth.

“It’s exciting for us to belong to a network of 191-plus like-minded foundations. It connects the LeRoi Community Foundation with foundations across the country and gives us access to professional expertise,” she said. “The campaign is really helping build awareness, not just locally but also across the country. Whether its our billboard here in Trail, or a radio ad that someone hears while on vacation in another province, the national campaign gets the message out that we can help donors achieve their charitable goals and local charities realize projects that make our community a better place to live for everyone.”

McEwan, the man pictured on the billboard, sees a bright future for the LeRoi Foundation and says the campaign will help the organization give even more money to community groups.

“They don’t have a lot to give yet, but it is growing and I think it is a very good thing in our community,” he said. “It accumulates money and is able to give money back into the community every year. Once it gets to the stage that is really successful, it is going to be a really good thing, I think.

“That is to me is really important. I really love Trail and it is just great to see this happening. It is really good.”

The LeRoi Foundation has bestowed funds on many local groups over the last few years to the Trail Historical Society, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, the Rossland Historical Museum, the Glenmerry PAC, the local Warfield Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and many more organizations.

Larry Cecconi of the First Warfield Scouts says the money the group received from the foundation has allowed them to buy a high-end canoe, giving members another piece of equipment to teach them the Scouts brand of leadership and adventure.

“(The grants from the LeRoi Foundation) bought us a new canoe and that is what we were looking for,” said Cecconi. “The Beavers, Cubs and Scouts are growing right now and the older kids like the canoe part. It would have taken us over two seasons to get that kind of money. It is really good and we are so pleased that (the foundation) came through for us.”

Community foundations, like the LeRoi Foundation, don’t cater to a specific type of community group or organization when it comes to delivering funding.

“(We) take a broad view of community giving,” said Laratta. “Other foundations and charities focus on a single area or a specific cause. Community Foundations look at the community as a whole, build endowed funds and grant to a broad range of projects.

“They serve diverse areas, such as arts and culture, the environment, youth and seniors, education, health and welfare, and sports and recreation. Another important distinction between community foundations and other charities is that community foundations build permanently endowed funds that enable them to meet current priorities, now and into the future.”

Anyone in the community can help the LeRoi Foundation by donating or just communicating with like-minded people about the funding the foundation provides to the community and hopefully, will get the foundation more money to distribute.

“We would ask people who are curious about the LeRoi Community Foundation to visit our website, and the Community Foundations of Canada website,” said Laratta. “We are always happy to talk to individuals and groups, so we encourage anyone interested to get in touch with us. And of course, like all charities, we welcome donations, from the occasional donation to the establishment of an endowment fund. Our ability to help local charities accomplish their projects depends directly upon the generosity of local donors. We’d love to be considered a local charity of choice.”

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