March 16, 2017:  Sidney Fuhr NGE exchange experience “.  Linda Bathe will introduce our speaker and Arlene Pol will thank our speaker.

Head Table:  Our President Kevin Silver, invites, Linda Bathe, Jo-Anne Hood Tidman, John Hood Tidman, Dave Hunt, Basil Hurst and Dan Kane, to join him at the head table.
Our guest speaker Tracy having a moment with our president.
This Week:  Most Rotarians are somewhat aware of the Stratford Perth Community Foundation and the increasingly important role that it performs in enhancing the quality of life in communities throughout Perth County.  Today, Tracy Van Kalsbeek, Executive Director of the Foundation and a fellow Rotarian, provided us with a better understanding of the work of the Foundation and its goals for the future.
Our guest speaker Tracy Van Kalsbeek Executive Director of Stratford Perth Community Foundation speaking on the foundation.
There are 191 Community Foundations across Canada with some $3 billion in managed funds.  Of varying sizes all the Foundations are engaged in the same goals – to strengthen communities through charitable grants addressing specific local community needs, to effectively and accountably manage funds and to offer advice and assistance to donors to ensure that their charitable goals are met.  The Stratford Perth Foundation, founded in 2004, currently has $3.5 million under management, 73 fund donors, over 30 local business partners (a number which continues to grow) and has made over $604,000 in grants in the past 12 years.  The latest Strategic Plan for the Foundation aims to see the managed funds grow to $10-12 million by 2020, which would allow to Foundation to more efficiently cover administrative costs, maximize grant potential and strengthen the impact of grants on local registered charities and their programmes.
Ms Van Kalsbeek identified some of the current projects in which the Foundation is involved.  One that is Canada-wide and initiated by Governor-General David Johnston is the Smart & Caring Communities, which is a call to service to volunteer and build connections between communities by mobilizing people, resources and ideas.  Stratford Perth Foundation is committed to that concept and seeks to ensure that support is provided to local critical priorities, involving community volunteers as advisors and linking potential donors with community needs.
Other projects include being a sponsor of the Random Act of Kindness Day (Nov 3 this year) which encourages people to reach out in a spirit of generosity to connect and deepen community relationships. Also the Foundation puts on the annual Mayor’s Gala with over 300 people attending, as both a fundraiser, a thank-you to donors and recognition of the work done by charities in Stratford Perth.
Finally, Ms Van Kalsbeek spoke about a new initiative, Vital Conversations which aims to foster on-going community discussions about economic and social priorities and develop relationships between all segments of our community.  In 2017, the theme of these conversations will be “belonging” – a highly relevant theme at a time when communities are threatened by war, forced migration, persecution and intolerance.
As a parting observation, Ms Van Kalsbeek pointed out that each community is unique but shares the world with other communities, and that “a community makes you and you make a community”.  Words that mean a great deal to Rotarians.
Scribe:  Guy Chadsey
Katelyn Aitcheson our new Sargent-at-Arms for April, May, and June.
Guests: Today we welcome; Dennis DeRosier St. Mary's , Montana Wilson, Stratford, Kate Park, Waterloo, Heather Carr, Startford
Draw: The prize today donated by Clark Mitchell and won by Kevin Nonomura.
Make-ups: Angus MacDermid, March 8, at the Rotary Club of Fort Walton Beach.
March’s Attendance Committee:  Jo-Anne Hood Tidman (I/C), Rob Russell, Jim Scott, Dave Bean, Walt Bathe, John Wright, Andrea Page, Chris Thomson, Al Wakelin.