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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.


Rotary Opens 2013 with New Challenge

Posted on January 9, 2013 by

Neil Etienne

via Cottage Country Now

The Gravenhurst Rotary Club has been given a new fundraising challenge to kick off 2013, with a $200,000 anonymous matching donation to the club’s bursary endowment fund. Club treasurer Dick Augustine hoisted the cheque during Rotary’s first meeting of the New Year Jan. 7 to show his fellow members the generosity while to his right bursary fund chair Ken Little made the announcement. Photo by Neil Etienne

The Gravenhurst Rotary Club has been given a new fundraising challenge to kick off 2013, with a $200,000 anonymous matching donation to the club’s bursary endowment fund. Club treasurer Dick Augustine hoisted the cheque during Rotary’s first meeting of the New Year Jan. 7 to show his fellow members the generosity while to his right bursary fund chair Ken Little made the announcement. Photo by Neil Etienne

Gravenhurst’s largest charitable fund is quickly churning toward its first million dollars.

This past Monday, Jan. 7, Gravenhurst Rotary’s Bursary Endowment Fund committee chair Ken Little announced through gentle tears another anonymous $200,000 donation to the fund has been received and if matched by Dec. 31, 2013, it means that $1 million mark will be left well in the dust.

It’s a similar challenge the club faced in 2012 when given the same amount by another anonymous donor, who stipulated the $200,000 had to be matched in community donations or the remainder had to be returned. With a deadline of April 2013, the club handily met their goal by mid-December for that challenge, but there’s no rest for the weary and the next is now before them.
Little explained the new $200,000 donation doesn’t have the catch the funds must be matched or the residuals returned, but any donations made up to Dec. 31 will be matched by the $200,000 until it is all spent. If successful, Little said that will push the bursary fund up from its current $850,000 to more than $1.25 million.

“It is my opinion that there is no greater expression of charity than a donation made by an individual or couple who do not seek any attention for their gift, (but) rather they find it important to support children in need and take great satisfaction in that alone,” Little said in praise of the anonymous donors.

Little said since its beginnings in 2009 when the Rotary club committed $50,000 to kick start the fund, it has grown in leaps and bounds to its current sum.

“In the beginning it was agonizing to have 11 deserving students apply for support and were only able to provide five bursaries,” he explained.

“From good, solid investments last year, we provided bursaries to 23 children and the equity in the fund is still greater than the donations received.

“But if we supported 20 students last year and another 20 graduating students this year need help, we may need to support as many as 60 to 80 students with a bursary during their studies,” he added, saying the average bursary granted thus far has been between $1,000 and $2,400.

The bursary provides financial support to local prospective post-secondary education students who otherwise would not be able to afford the education. Little said he has been thrilled with the success of the fund, particularly in the last two years when it has ballooned significantly thanks to the anonymous matching donations.

“We asked those in the community who are financially able to help change the perceptions, the expectations and the opportunities of a student in our community; the community has responded and continues to respond overwhelmingly to the need they have recognized in our town for years,” Little added.


Isabel Heels Memorial Bursary and Hospital Foundation Commitment Completed

Posted on December 19, 2012 by

Neil Etienne

via Cottage Country Now

Rotary Completes 50k Pledge

The estate of the late Gravenhurst resident Isabel Heels handed over $25,000 to the Rotary Club’s bursary endowment fund, bringing the estate’s contribution to the local club’s efforts over $80,000. From left to right at the presentation Dec. 17 are former co-employees of Heels, Paula Wilford and Pat Grisdale along with fund committee chair Ken Little. (Photo by Neil Etienne)

It’s a little bit of give and take that makes the world go around.

Accepting one generous donation for $25,000 with their right hand and passing out another $10,000 with the left, the Gravenhurst Rotary Club bolstered two community funds Dec. 17, just in time for Christmas.

With this past Monday their last business meeting of the year, members of the Rotary Club completed a five-year fundraising pledge to the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation two years early by handing over $10,000, while another bequeath to the club has their bursary endowment fund now over $900,000 and headed to its first million.

“The support is very much appreciated,” said the foundation’s executive director Colin Miller, asking the Rotary members to give themselves a round of applause for their commitment.

In 2009 the club pledged $50,000 to the foundation and with a $10,000 cheque handed over on Monday, the campaign concluded two years early.
The five-year pledge to the hospital foundation is the second fundraising campaign the Rotary club has completed early. The first was the final $10,000.00 installment of a five-year, $50,000 pledge to the Rotary’s Bursary Endowment Fund.

Club president Steve Hayhurst said the organization was able to pay off the pledge to the foundation early, thanks in large part to a bequeath to the club for its endowment fund that freed up other monies.

“It’s just fantastic,” he said, adding with that bequeath, the club now has over $900,000 in its endowment fund. “We could very well hit a million (dollars) by this spring.”

Bursary fund committee chair Ken Little explained the $25,000 gift to the fund came from the estate of the late Isabel Heels and a memorial bursary will now live on in her name. Isabel Heels estate contributed over $80,000 to the Rotary Club’s efforts.

Isabel Heels passed away in early December of 2011 in Midland and left money to several local organizations including the Rotary club, Trinity United Church, South Muskoka Hospital, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the cancer and diabetes associations and the local Lions Club. Little explained she had been employed with the Gravenhurst branch of the Dominion Bank, later the Toronto Dominion Bank, for more than 44 years while also being a stalwart volunteer for several local organizations.

“Her friends and neighbours all agreed you could count on Isabel to lend a helping hand whether it was preparing for a social event at the church, the curling club or volunteering,” he said.

The financial injection takes the club’s endowment fund to a little more than $900,000 to end the year and will be used to help fund living and tuition expenses for local people heading on to further education.


Bill and Dora Rathbun Issue Challenge

Posted on September 20, 2012 by

Bill and Dora Rathbun Issue Challenge

Bill and Dora Rathbun Issue Challenge

Bill and Dora Rathbun have challenged other members of the community to donate to the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund. With his donation he sent the following message: ‘Several months ago you announced the exciting news that an anonymous resident had challenged the Rotarians to match his/her donation towards the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund. I wish to accept that challenge, and extend the challenge onwards to other members of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst and hope it will spur others to do likewise.

As I have told you on several occasions, I consider the Bursary Endowment Fund to be the most important initiative on ouf Club during my 15 years as a member. I am delighted on behalf of Dora and myself to enclose this cheque for $12,500.00 to initiate a Rathbun Family Bursary within the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund. We are confident it will provide a needed leg up to several young people in South Muskoka To achieve a higher education.

Bill and Dora’s donation was matched by an anonymous donor and with previous committments their ‘Stand-Alone Bursary’ within the fund is now $35,000.00. Chairman, Ken Little, noted the generousity of Bill and Dora Rathbun and wished them well in their new surroundings in Oak Ridges. He encouraged the entire community to be grateful for their generousity and encouraged the community to consider the significance and intent of their donation.


Major Donation Rolls Rotary Fund Over

Posted on September 17, 2012 by

Neil Etienne
via – Cottage Country Now

Rotary Bursary Fund Donation September 10, 2012

The Gravenhurst Rotary Club’s challenge to match $200,000 in donations to the Community Bursary Endowment Fund ended this week with a $100,000 donation from the Williams family. From left to right at the announcement Sept. 10 are fund chair Ken Little, Phyllis and daughter Lynda Williams and Rotary Club president Stephen Hayhurst. Photo by Neil Etienne

It’s no small victory for Rotary, for the local impoverished and certainly not for Little.

Biting back his tears of joy this past Monday, Sept. 10 during the Rotary Club’s lunchtime meeting, Rotary member Ken Little, chair of the club’s Community Bursary Endowment Fund, announced that thanks to another major generous donation, his challenge is complete.

In April of this year, the chair received an anonymous $200,000 donation with a caveat that the funds must be matched by another $200,000 or the difference must be returned. Little had one year to complete his task and as of this week, it is complete.

Local longtime resident Phyllis Williams and her family donated $100,000 to the bursary program, putting the club well over its challenge goal and meaning some $833,000 is now in the fund’s coffers to support local people trying to move onto a post-secondary education achieve their goals.

“The impoverished have such a difficult time overcoming that,” Williams said.

Mrs. Williams’ late husband Glen was a clerk and treasurer for the Town of Gravenhurst for several decades, starting in the later 1940s. He also became the secretary for the local water and light commission before becoming the first clerk and administrator for the District of Muskoka in 1970. He was also a lake-front lot developer and helped with the creation of Bracebridge’s Pines senior residence.

She said through Glen’s work in public service, he grew very sensitive to the community around him.

“He was always concerned about the taxpayer; they bore the cost of the town,” Williams said. “He always felt the best thing to help the taxpayer was to educate them.”

And that is why she chose to support the Rotary’s endeavours.

“After reading the newspaper articles about it (the fund challenge), I felt that’s what I should do,” she added. “I think that’s what he (Glen) would have wanted, too.”

Although modest about her own generosity Mrs. Williams earned great praise from the committee chair who had to pause to compose himself when speaking about what the donation means to the Rotary Club and its efforts to support local education and growth for those who otherwise would not be able to afford it.

“She understands how she and Glen and her family have been blessed during their lives with good fortune, as a result of hard work and dedication,” Little said in praise.

“I get a little teary to think about it, but it’s so wonderful the (Williams) family saw fit to support us,” Little added. “It was such a surprise.”

He added that the whole experience of his “challenge” was touching.

“The community is really embracing this program and sees the value of helping those in need, from Gravenhurst, get the education they deserve,” he said.

When Rotary kick-started the bursary fund three years ago with $50,000, he hoped it would find success, added Little. “I have some pretty wild dreams, but not like this.”

In 2011 bursaries were handed out to local students; this year has seen about 13 given out and Little said with the ballooning of the fund to more than $830,000 now “at least twice as many youth will be helped next year.”

A specific bursary will be named in honour of the donors, known as the “Glen and Phyllis Williams Family Bursary.”


Town Directs Portion of Terrance Haight’s Gift to Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund

Posted on August 1, 2012 by Leave a comment

Terrance Haight in the dark suit gifted over $1,000,000. to the Town of Gravenhurst

Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund Donation August 1, 2012

The first funds given out from the Terence Haight bequest to the Town of Gravenhurst were passed on to the Rotary Club’s Community Bursary Endowment Fund July 30. From left to right at the presentation were council members Lola Bratty, Joe Donoghue, Rosemary King, Jeff Watson, Mayor Paisley Donaldson, endowment fund chair Ken Little and Rotary Club president Steve Hayhurst. (Photo by Neil Etienne)

The late Terence Haight would likely be proud.

The first of the late resident’s $1-million-plus donation to the Town of Gravenhurst is in the recipient’s hands, as council members joined with local Rotary members at the Opera House July 30.
Mayor Paisley Donaldson, surrounded by fellow members of council handed $100,000 to the Rotary Club and more specifically, the club’s Community Bursary Endowment Fund, representing the first of the approximately $1.4 million gift to be doled out.

“We were all very blessed to have this money left to us and we (council) wanted to make sure we use the money in good ways for the community,” Mayor Donaldson said to a gleeful Rotary membership.
“This is one way we wanted to do that and keep in mind, it (the donation) is on behalf of the Town of Gravenhurst to the very citizens of Gravenhurst.”

She added with the Rotary Club’s cooperation, Haight’s name shall live on through this one donation alone, as a separate fund will be created in his name.
“This was something we felt would help Mr. Haight’s legacy live on,” Donaldson said.

Ken Little, the endowment fund committee’s chair, said he was incredibly pleased the Rotary’s community project, started only a little less than two years ago, had captured the town’s eye.
“We feel that this (donation) is certainly in keeping with his intentions and it will be a lasting legacy in perpetuity in his name,” Little said. “I just can’t tell you how important things like this are and I can’t tell you how much this means to the community structure itself.”

The endowment fund helps local prospective students achieve their academic dreams by supporting tuition payments. When the bursary began, the club dedicated $50,000 to its establishment, and since then it has grown in leaps and bounds. A second donation revealed that day by Little for $10,000 (please see story below) was yet another boost.

In April of this year an anonymous donor handed the club a $200,000 endowment, with the catch that is must be matched by the community. Any funds not matched would have to be given back. The town’s injection of $100,000 takes a massive hunk out of that goal, leaving approximately $54,000-$55,000 left to amass before the start of April 2013.

The town’s donation to the project comes from residual Terence Haight funds above the $1 million mark. The injection was approved by council in mid-June and will be covered by interest gained on the funds over the past year, the approximately $35,000 above the million-dollar mark of the bequest and additional funds that are expected to come to the town coffers once Haight’s estate is settled.

Council is leaving its debate about how the bulk of the $1 million will be used for a later date this fall.


Donors hope one good turn will earn another

Posted on May 10, 2012 by Leave a comment

Neil Etienne
via – Cottage Country Now

Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund Donation May 10, 2012

The Gravenhurst Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund was given a $200,000 anonymous donation in the hopes it will be matched by the community in the next year. Marking the donation are (from left) Ken Little, chair of the fund, local Rotary treasurer Dick Augustine and secretary Brian Ferguson.

The Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund has been given the most generous of gifts, and also a challenge for the community for the next year.

Members of the local Rotary club’s endowment fund were thrilled to receive a $200,000 anonymous donation with a catch that will hopefully further boost the program that gave out its first bursaries in 2011.

“The task for the citizens of the town is now to find $200,000 in donations to match this amount before April 1st of 2013,” explained the fund’s chair, Ken Little. “This is another anonymous couple who share the vision of helping underprivileged children in our community who want a college or university education.”

The anonymous donors hope the community will match their donation within the next year, but have left no other caveats, making it possible for any local or out-of-town person, business, industry or government to support the fund-matching effort.

It is already the second major anonymous donation to the fund this year, with Little receiving a $100,000 private injection in late February.

He said in the little more than two years the fund has existed, started with a $50,000 commitment from the Gravenhurst Rotary Club, some $330,000 has been realized.

He pointed out if the club is able to generate the $200,000 in matching funds before next spring, that would represent three-quarters of a million dollars raised in that short time. Any funds not matched for the $200,000 donation will be returned, so Little said he hopes people will be equally generous.

“If our town’s endowment fund continues to grow at the present rate we will give families in Gravenhurst a higher expectation of their child, and every child hope for a better education,” Little said. “It takes a community to raise a child; for Gravenhurst, as a community, to abandon children who need help when their families cannot help them is just being irresponsible. It is doubly irresponsible if our residents have the means to help and still turn our backs.”

Bursaries are awarded for a variety of reasons, all based on need, and not at all on a youth’s grades. Only the investment income in interest or dividends is given out from an endowment fund to retain a growing principal base.

“If the town’s endowment fund can leverage the matching donations to its full benefit, in 2013 our graduating children will have bursaries between $20,000 and $40,000; every year thereafter our town’s needy families and their children will benefit more and more substantially,” Little said. “With each passing year we hope our town can eventually provide an opportunity for every child with his or her post-secondary education.”


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