The 4th Annual Spirit Catcher Awards were a great success story once again this year with almost 200 guests. Read More
Offering grants up to $15,000, the Barrie Community FoundationRead More
Tom Oldershaw, 74, will ride 500 km throughout the region over 48 hours this weekend to raise money for the Barrie Community Foundation. MARK WANZEL PHOTO
Barrie’s Tom Oldershaw is ready to make a difference this weekend.
He will ride 500 km over 48 hours on a mountain bike starting Saturday. It’s a remarkable feat for anyone, but Oldershaw is 74 years old.
The ride will will take him along trails throughout the region – from Barrie to Penetenguishene, to Orillia, and then back to Barrie via the rail trail through Oro-Medonte Township.
“When it comes to aging I believe it’s a matter of mind over matter; if I don’t mind, it doesn’t matter,” he said.
Although still working at Steckley-Gooderham Funeral Homes in Barrie, who also provided some money for a new bicycle, Oldershaw is actively engaged in other volunteer activities along with a rigorous training regimen.
His goal is to raise $1,000,000 by 2026 for the Oldershaw Making the Difference Endowment Fund through the Barrie Community Foundation.
The fund’s purpose will be to provide grants to organizations striving to help those experiencing homelessness and those at risk of being homeless in Barrie.
In April 2005, three volunteers saw a need for providing a source of permanent funding to help the community and the Barrie Community Foundation was chartered as Canada’s 150th foundation. It now manages nine endowment, or flow through funds.
Douglas Shaw, an accountant and financial planner has been a Barrie resident since 1980 and is the current chair of the foundation.
An enthusiastic volunteer with local charities for more than 30 years, Shaw is also a board member for the Coral Foundation and Coral Living for non-profit housing, secretary for Morton Youth Centre and a Shriner.
Like many donors and volunteers, he became frustrated with the endless appeals of large public charities and the fundraising treadmill leading to donor fatigue and volunteer burnout.
“Understandably, current needs must be met by all charities. But we need to escape the tyranny of the urgent by also building for the future. What appealed to me when I discovered the power of a community foundation was its impartiality and ability to essentially help the community by becoming an ongoing source of funding for other charities and smaller non-profit groups,” he said.
“The Barrie Community Foundation is entirely run by volunteers and we use only one per cent of the funds to offset administration costs,” he continues, “so we can guarantee that 99% of donations stay in our community and our used to meet specific goals. Each year, we provide grants to the community by distributing those returns without eroding our capital. Our unique strength is that we focus on the long term by building perpetual legacies for the future.”
Oldershaw started his annual ride in 2012, with a view to relieving homelessness. However, like many independent minded philanthropists, he found the job of determining a suitable recipient each year to receive and manage the donations daunting. He would rather be riding and promoting the cause.
His past efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. He has been a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal as well as The Spirit Catcher Award for community service.
“Despite my attitude to aging, I realize I won’t be around forever,” said Oldershaw. “When I learned that it was possible for me or anyone to create a legacy fund for the city I love through the community foundation it was inspiring.”
He is hoping that that inspiration is contagious.
Certainly the idea of permanent community legacies is catching. Canada’s first community foundation was established in Winnipeg in 1921. In 2015, it attracted about $25 million in new donations and disbursed $27.7 million to 900 organizations.
Kingston, with a population slightly smaller than Barrie, established their foundation in 1995 and since then has awarded over $8 million, including $2 million to 800 local organizations there.
Closer to home, Mississauga’s foundation, chartered in 2001, now has $20 million in endowments and distributed $7 million in grants last year.
But the Barrie Community Foundation has been gaining traction. Aside from attracting new donors and endowment funds, it has hosted the City of Barrie Spirit Catcher Award gala since 2012. The Order of the Spirit Catcher, established in 2000 (replacing the Civic Award of Merit), is the highest honour bestowed by the city to a volunteer (youth and adult) for outstanding service to our community.
Past recipients include Willard Kinzie, the City of Barrie’s first mayor, and Jamie Massie, among others. The gala this year will be held on Nov. 15.
“We feel that promoting volunteers and civic contribution is an integral part of our mission,” said Shaw. “We support the mayor and the city in promoting this award. These people are already making a difference to our community. We think their example will motivate others to find their own ways to contribute. And of course, we want to remind people that you don’t need to be wealthy to create a legacy, as Tom Oldershaw is doing by following his passion and creating our tenth fund. We hope the community will get behind him.”
Meanwhile, Oldershaw continues training on a stationary bicycle, weight lifting and doing four days a week cycling outdoors. A recent conditioning ride saw him complete 200 km in a 12-hour day.
“I have learned not to underestimate the power of individual action no matter how seemingly small,” he said. “You never know the difference you can make until you’ve tried. I want it to matter that I was here.”
This is what motivates Oldershaw as he clocks the kilometres despite the physical and mental discipline his quest demands of him.
“I don’t just talk the talk, or walk the walk, I put wheels under it,” he said.
You can donate to The MTD Ride through the Barrie Community Foundation at 36 George St., Barrie, L4N 5N3, 705 737-5220 orbarriecommunityfoundation.org.
Alan Atkins is a Barrie writer and volunteer. He can be reached at 705 791-1141 or email@example.com
Article courtesy of Barrie Examiner
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Offering grants up to $15,000, the Barrie Community Foundation will soon be accepting applications Read More
The Barrie Community Foundation with the City of Barrie, is proud to announce the date for the 4th Annual Spirit Catcher Awards Gala: November 15, 2016 at the South Shore Community Centre.Read More
The Order of the Spirit Catcher, established in 2000 (replacing the Civic Award of Merit), is the highest honour bestowed by the City to a volunteer (youth and adult) for outstanding service to our community.Read More
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Thursday November 5, 2015
I know how quickly everyone is getting booked in the early days of fall, so I wanted to let you know about a celebration event for the Spirit Catcher Awards.
On Tursday November 5 at the Southshore Centre, the…Read More
This is your invitation to join the Barrie Community Foundation and the City of Barrie as they host the 3rd Annual Order of the Spirit Catcher Awards Gala. The Order is the highest honour bestowed by the City of Barrie to a volunteer for outstanding service to our community. The order was first given out in 2000 and has continued to recognize the impact that volunteers have made. There are 2 categories for nomination to the Spirit Catcher Awards: Adult and Youth.
Our speaker this year will be Hazel McCallion, long time Mayor recently retired for the City of Mississauga and instrumental in the formation of the Mississauga Community Foundation. This dynamic force will not entertain you but will share with you her observations on the impact that volunteers and women serving their community. She will also share with us the influence the Mississauga Community Foundation has had in regards to making a difference within their city.
3rd Annual Event will be November 5th, 2015 at the South Shore Community Centre. Doors Open 5:00 and Dinner is at 6:15 pm. Tickets are $100.00 each. This event is sponsored by Pratt Homes, Power Stream and Adams Funeral Home. This year, our guest speaker is Hazel McCallion, former long-serving Mayor of Mississauga.
The Barrie Community Foundation and The City of Barrie together with our charitable friends, invite you join the 2nd Annual Celebration of Commitment to our Community of Barrie with the presentation of the Order of the Spirit Catcher Award on November 25, 2014. This is the most prominent award given to a member of our Community for one who has: