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Students and Donors to Rotary Bursary Fund Luncheon

Posted on December 19, 2017 by Leave a comment

Bursary Recipients at Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund Luncheon

Rotary Donors and Student Bursary Recipients Lunch Gravenhurst Rotary celebrates students with bursaries, luncheon
Students thank Rotary donors
Community Dec 19, 2017 Gravenhurst Banner
Rotary bursary luncheon

Some recipeints of student Rotary bursaries attend a luncheon in Gravenhurst. In back, from left: Andrew Atkin, Ryan Godfrey, Nicholas Sluyk, In front, from left: Mary Vinson-Shea, Rachel Tilson, Nathan Delarosbil, Nicole Brandt, Lianna Brandt and Sarah Ratchford. – Rotary/photo

GRAVENHURST — The Rotary Club of Gravenhurst was graced by the presence of the town’s college and university students home for the holidays. Over 30 students received support from the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund for the 2017-2018 term.

Many college students could not attend due to the extension of their term, resulting from a strike affecting all colleges in Ontario.

This year the club provided $95,000 to students bringing the club’s total contributions to students from public or Catholic schools in search of a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate to over $310,000 in the past six years. The luncheon provided an opportunity for donors to the bursary fund to meet those student benefiting from their generosity and the opportunity for students to thank the donors for their gift.

Students in the photo above include Mary Vinson-Shea at Georgian College studying development services, Rachel Tilson at Lakehead University in applied life sciences, Nathanial Delarosbil at Georgian in nursing, Nicole Brandt at University of Ontario Institute of Technology in commerce, Lianne Brandt at Trent University in psychology and French, Sarah Ratchford at Trent-Queen’s University in education, Andrew Atken at Ontario College of Art in sculpture and installation, Ryan Godfrey at University of British Columbia in engineering and Nick Sluyk at the University of York in theatre arts.

Ken Little, chair of the fund, noted that all last-minute donations are eligible for a tax receipt for your 2017 income tax filing. Rotary Club of Gravenhurst, Box 888, Gravenhurst, Ont., P1P 1V2.

Local Cottager Helps Students In Gravenhurst

Posted on August 22, 2017 by Leave a comment

Gravenhurst cottager helps local students realize their educational dreams.
Tim Forwell donates $25,000 to Rotary Club of Gravenhurst.
Aug 22, 2017,  Gravenhurst Banner

Local resident Tim Forwell gave seven hard working students a little help in their endeavours to get a college or university education.

While in Florida, he had read about the dilemma many children in Gravenhurst had trying to save for a college or university education. Having a cottage on Lake Muskoka for many years, he understood summer jobs available to Muskoka students were limited and the pay lower than in the city. When he returned from Florida, Forwell contacted Ken Little of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst and inquired as to how he could help.

“I explained how the club was trying to change the expectations of students and their families by creating a fund to help their children and how much the community was helping by donating to Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund,” said Little. “After noting that 35 students applied for help this year, how difficult it was to help everyone sufficiently who needed help, Tim knew he had found his niche. He was very excited to offer his support and said his daughter Kim was also very supportive of the cause.”

Forwell and his daughter attended the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst’s luncheon recently with a cheque for $25,000 in hand. Students who had already been selected and sat with Tim and his daughter. “The students were so excited and so appreciative, and they didn’t know what to say other than thanks and that is all Tim and Kim needed to hear,” said Little.

If you are in a financial position to help local students, and if a simple “thank you” is all you expect from children so overwhelmed with your generosity they can hardly talk, then call Little with the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst at 705-687-7777 or invest a minute at their website They need your help.

‘Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund’ Grows Thanks to John Vail Family

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Leave a comment

John Vail Family Donates To Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund
The Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund is $25,000 richer
News Jun 12, 2017 Gravenhurst Banner

GRAVENHURST — At a very appropriate time the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund has received a sizeable donation from John Vail and family toward helping students planning to advance their education.

Vail donated $25,000 to a fund that has grown from seed money contributed by the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst in 2009 to a fund with investment returns of $55,000.00 for student bursaries this year.

Last year 24 Gravenhurst graduates were assisted and more than 30 local students may receive bursary awards this year.

Richard Augustine, treasurer of the fund said, ‘Through the generosity of the Rotary Club, Gravenhurst area residents and estates who have created their own Family Bursaries within the fund, it has grown more than 2,800 per cent since its inception.

The family bursaries vary in size and all qualifying students will receive a minimum of $1,000 and some considerably more.

A wine and cheese event will bring some of the students and the donors together at the Discovery Centre (formerly Grace and Spee.) on June 22 at 3 p.m. This will be the first time many of the donors meet each other in addition to learning how their investment in the students is paying dividends.

Ken Little, chairman of the fund, noted ‘Students from our community have been attending colleges and universities throughout the province and this year the fund expects students receiving help from the generous people of town to be attending every university and most colleges across Ontario. The community should feel proud of their involvement in the success of our children. We are slowly changing the perceptions of some lower income families and changing the educational expectations of their children by providing financial opportunities right here in town. We want children and families to know it takes a community to raise a child and this community is behind you.”

Bursaries are available to students going to school in Gravenhurst or who live in Gravenhurst and may be attending school elsewhere. Ken Little, chairman of the fund, noted “students or parents can see if they qualify by going to and then submit an application by June 30. We don’t ask for school marks, we only want to know they need financial help!”

Apply to Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund, Box 888, Gravenhurst, Ontario. P1P 1V2.
(Rotary Club note: John Vail donated $12,500.00 which was matched by an anonymous donor. John Vail also donated $12,500.00 the previous year and it too was matched.)

Globe and Mail – Businessman Fundraises for Student Scholarships

Posted on January 8, 2016 by

Link to Globe and Mail Article

Paul Waldie
Published January 8, 2016

Contributor: Ken Little

The gift: Helping to raise $1.3-million

The cause: Scholarships for students in Gravenhurst, Ont.

The Muskoka region of Ontario is known for its luxury resorts and expensive cottages. But many families living in communities such as Gravenhurst, one of the largest towns in the region, struggle to make ends meet.

A few years ago, local businessman Ken Little launched a fundraising drive to fill one important need: to help students from Gravenhurst High School pay for postsecondary education.

Joined by fellows members of the Rotary Club, Mr. Little took his idea to the community and the response has been overwhelming.

In just five years, Mr. Little and the club have raised $1.3-million and set up the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund.

Last year, 43 students received scholarships from the fund worth up to $4,000 apiece.

The group has set up a committee to help select students and the money can be used for any type of postsecondary program, from uni versity courses to apprenticeships.

“We want to help whatever kid we can reach their greatest potential,” said Mr. Little, who runs Muskoka Real Estate Services and has been a member of the Rotary Club for 30 years.

Anonymous Donor Gives $50,000.00 to Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Leave a comment

Anonymous Donor – Rotary Bursary Endowment FundNews Aug 13, 2015 by Brent Cooper Gravenhurst Banner

Ross Seimms of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst holds a large cheque for $50,000 while fund chair Ken Little talks about the anonymous donation the club received for its bursary fund. (Photo by Brent Cooper)

GRAVENHURST – Someone with deep pockets and a big heart has come to the aid of Gravenhurst students and their family.

Ken Little, chair of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst’s Bursary Endowment Fund, informed the members at an Aug. 10 meeting that an unknown source has given greatly to the group’s fund.

‘We have received an anonymous donation of 700 shares of Onex that we have now sold and netted out $53,500,” he told those gathered at the Opera House Monday morning.

Little went on to say that the Gravenhurst area has one of the lowest income areas in Ontario, under $29,000 a year. He added a statistic from the 1990s showed that following the loss of the Muskoka Centre, Rubberset and Oliver McLeod in that era, the number of those on seasonal employment was one of the highest in the province.

“With a large tourist-based economy those figures have likely not changed a great deal in the last 20 years,” he said. “The parents of many low-income families in our town often do not encourage their children to obtain an education and that is due, in part, to the inability of the parents to provide an opportunity for one child, let alone two or three to go beyond high school. It becomes a cycle, a cycle created by economic conditions, which affects attitudes and for children it affects their educational future.”

He went on to say the cost of a year of study at college or university varies from $5,000 to $20,000 in Ontario, depending upon the course of study, the cost of books, food and accommodation, something he called “a challenge for many families and students.”

“We are instructed to use this money specifically for matching donations of $12,500 to create more family bursaries. I would like to thank this donor for the generosity shown by making an anonymous donation that garners no recognition or applause for himself, but only for the pure joy of giving to an important cause we all believe in, a commitment to children in need of an education and the families of those students who are struggling to make it happen here in Gravenhurst,” he said.

Applications for a bursary from the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund are available online at The applicant must either live in Gravenhurst or be going to school in Gravenhurst; taking a course leading to a degree, diploma or certificate; and demonstrate they are in need of financial help.

It is also available to those adults wishing to upgrade their skills. All studies must lead to a diploma, degree or certificate to qualify.

For more information on the endowment fund, visit or the club’s website at

Rotary Bursaries Bring Christmas Joy to Students

Posted on December 14, 2014 by Leave a comment

Link to Gravenhurst Banner Article
News Dec 14, 2014 Gravenhurst Banner

GRAVENHURST — This year the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund awarded a total of $44,000 to 37 students. The students, who either live in Gravenhurst or attended school in Gravenhurst, will find a portion of their tuition has been paid by the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund before Christmas.

The bursary fund sends money awarded to students directly to the registrar of the schools the students are attending. The students are attending universities or colleges from New Brunswick to Ontario. They are at Nipissing University, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, Trent University, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, University of Windsor, University of Western Ontario, Sir Wilfred Laurier University, York University, Cambrian College, Canador College, Conestoga College Institute of Technology, Fanshawe College, Centennial College, Durham College, and Georgian College, New Brunswick Bible Institute, University of New Brunswick and Mount Allison University.

“There is no restriction on where they go to school or what they study, providing their studies lead to a degree, diploma or certificate,” said Ken Little, chairman of the endowment fund. “This is reflected in this year’s recipients who are studying a wide range of subjects.”

Those areas of study include: educational studies, bachelor of science-biology, general bachelor of arts, honours computer science, business management, honours psychology, business administration, concurrent education/honours arts, honours sociology, drama and communication in media and film, medical sciences, philosophy and women’s studies, business economics, theatre arts – technical production, sport, recreation and leisure services, automotive service technology, occupational physiotherapy assistant, electrical technology, architectural technology,

“The generosity of the community has been fantastic and we are encouraged that we will be able to continue to support more students, thus fulfilling the purpose the community expects,” said Little. “They have entrusted us with significant contributions and we have engaged RBC Dominion Securities to make sure it is managed in a professional manner. Every dollar the public has contributed is still in the fund and the interest and dividends from those investments have allowed us to support those 37 students.”

Every student received between $1,000 and $2,000. With continued support they hope to provide larger and more substantial bursaries to those students and families needing financial help.

The fund is overseen by the Rotary Club, “which is a big advantage because there are no administration fees being deducted from the donations and I send out tax receipts to donors for their 2014 tax returns right away,” said Dick Augustine the treasurer of the fund.

To donate call 705-687-7777, go to or mail a cheque to Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund, Box 888, Gravenhurst, ON, P1P 1V2.

Thanks to Tanner family for bursary

Posted on August 10, 2014 by


From left, Ken Little, Gord Tanner, Doug Tanner, Ann Tanner. Thanks for helping us acknowledge this substantial donation.

From left, Ken Little, Gord Tanner, Doug Tanner, Ann Tanner. Thanks for helping us acknowledge this substantial donation.

DEAR EDITOR — We should be pleased that after living or working in such places as Orillia, Elmira, Wellesley Township, Orangeville, Port Elgin, Waterloo, Walkerton, Manitoulin, Darnock and Toronto this lovely couple has chosen to live in Gravenhurst.

We are very fortunate to have people moving to the community who have adopted it as their own. Two such people are Doug and Ann Tanner.

Since coming to Gravenhurst they have participated in and serviced the community in a variety of ways. Doug and Ann are very involved as members of Trinity United Church and participate in many of their charitable activities. They have helped out with volunteer work, in the earlier days of Grace and Speed. They have enjoyed the fellowship of Probus and their lungs have been exercised weekly as members of the Elderberry Choir.

As we all know Doug has been an active member of our Rotary Club and does it all with a smile.

Ann received her degree in 1963, from the University of Toronto’s Macdonald Institute which was the forerunner of Guelph University. After graduation she taught family studies in the Catholic school system full time and part time. She took a break to have their four children Cathy, Bridget, Gord and Doug and then went back to teaching at Manitoulin Secondary School and later in Walkerton at the Sacred Heart High School. Ann is quick to say “I have always been very grateful for my education and parents and community for encouraging it.”

Doug has also been in education all of his life. Growing up in the Bruce Peninsula he was also encouraged to get a good education and graduated in economics from the University of Waterloo and then obtained his Masters of Education in curriculum studies from the University of Western Ontario. Doug worked for most his career in administration for the school system.

With two teachers for parents the children saw firsthand the advantages of an education.

Doug Jr. has two daughters, Nicole and Hilary. He also received a degree from the University of Western Ontario and went on to obtain his executive MBA at the University of Toronto. He is now an investment adviser with World Markets at CIBC.

Gord is married to Robin and they have three sons Sam, Ryan and Ben.

He also received a business degree from Sir Wilfred Laurier and has a very successful career as regional sales manager for the S.E Johnson a division of Sealed Air. … Pledge, Draino, Mr. Muscle and two of Muskoka’s favorites … Raid and Off.

Working in the school system’s of Walkerton or Manitoulin Doug and Ann knew the importance of kids at risk to get encouragement and financial help to get an education.

Their family has chosen to make a contribution to the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund and those funds were matched and there will a bursary given in the Tanner Family name this year and every year from day on.

Ken Little,

Rotary Club, Gravenhurst


Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund continues to grow

Posted on June 11, 2014 by


Submitted photo

Submitted photo

GRAVENHURST — The Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund was pleasantly surprised to receive a $10,000 donation from the John and Terri Vellinga to help provide bursaries to students in need of financial assistance for their upcoming years at college or university.

Ken Little, chairman of the fund, noted on acceptance of the cheque that the Vellinga family liked the concept of creating an opportunity for children in the Gravenhurst community and with their $10,000 donation and a matching anonymous donation, there’s enough funds to create a stand-alone bursary to be given to a needy student each year.

The Vellingas have seen how important an education has been to their family.

While John was building houses for a living, his wife Terri went back to university and graduated at the age of 40. That set the stage for the rest of the family.

Both daughters, Christy and Leslie attended university; one went to Queen’s University in Kingston and the other to the University of Western Ontario in London. They both got jobs and they both had two children while pursuing their careers. They both returned to university to complete graduate studies, Christy with a masters in education and Leslie with a masters of law in alternate dispute resolution. John and Terri have seen the important role an education can take in their career developments.

“We knew firsthand how powerful an education can be to the success of children,” said Terri. “As a former teacher I know it can light a child’s fire, it teaches them how to think and solve problems, it creates a future for them and their families. Yes, it can change the world.”

John and Terri know an education is something that cannot be taken away and they believe everyone should have access to an education. They had two daughters at university at the same time and they know how important financial help is to some families.

Little noted, “Last year, about $25,000 was available from the bursaries investment portfolio, but with the generous support of the community this past year the fund has grown to over $1.25 million. As a result, the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund will provide about $45,000 this year to students studying to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate.”

Applications for a bursary from the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund are available now at the high school in Gravenhurst or available online at Applications must be submitted by June 30. The criteria for obtaining a bursary is simple: a) you must either live in Gravenhurst or be going to school in Gravenhurst; b) taking a course leading to a degree, diploma or certificate; and c) show you are in need of financial help. A bursary is not a scholarship and the application does not ask about your marks.


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