A community where no one is left behind

2021 Annual Report

We are all Treaty People.

We acknowledge all our relations, we acknowledge the first relationship with Mother Earth, the original nations of the trees and plants, the original stewards of the four legged, the flyers, the swimmers, the crawlers. We acknowledge the waters as being life and sacred as we acknowledge the carriers of those teachings, the females. We acknowledge the grandfathers, as well as Father Sun, Grandmother Moon and our distant relations, the stars.

We acknowledge the Oakville Community Foundation is located on the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, as well as the Traditional Territory of the Haudenosaunee, and Huron-Wendat people. Further, we acknowledge the Town of Oakville is covered by Treaty No 14, the Head of the Lake Purchase (1806), and Treaty 22 (1820).

We live in a diverse community. In five prominent languages spoken in Oakville, we acknowledge the land we live on.

Our Indigenous Cultural Advisor: Elder Peter Schuler

Elder Peter Schuler is a grandfather and Elder of the Mississaugas of the Credit and a member of the Minweyweygaan Midewin Lodge in Manitoba. An amateur writer and artist, Peter tries to pass on traditional Ojibwe teachings through storytelling, art and craft making.

From our Board Chair and CEO

Thank you for supporting the Oakville Community Foundation.

We entered 2021 hopeful and optimistic after a year of so much uncertainty. We were ready to face new challenges, to support more solutions and begin facing our new normal. COVID-19 vaccinations were rolled out and we took slow but sure steps to reopening.

However, as the year progressed and new waves of different COVID-19 variants appeared in our community and in others coast-to-coast, we adjusted.

At The Foundation, we engaged in another year of remote work, remote programming and remote events but together with our volunteers, Fundholders and donors, we were able to accomplish a number of exciting initiatives and fund important solutions. If anything, the pandemic has shown us how important it is to continue to work together.

After a rollercoaster year in 2020, our investments closed at +14.3% in 2021 which helped our Fundholders meet their granting priorities and the charity agencies co-invested in our Investment Pool meet their budgets. The Foundation granted more than $4 million throughout the year. In addition to this granting, we also stewarded $1.8 million through two rounds of granting for the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative.

We are grateful to our staff, committee and board members, volunteers and Fundholders for their tireless work in making Oakville a community where no one is left behind.

Bindu Cudjoe,
Board Chair
Wendy Rinella,


The year in stories

Remembering Gerry Wilson

“We were all fortunate and better off for knowing her”

Lisa Helsdon recalls her mother with great fondness, love and wistfulness. There are both tears and laughter when she speaks about the woman who she describes as generous, fun loving and a great humanitarian as well as a beloved mother and grandmother.

Gerry Wilson passed away peacefully in the fall of 2021 and leaves behind an enduring legacy of love and care for her family and her community. She will be dearly missed.

Gerry met her future husband, Larry Wilson, in her hometown of Peterborough, Ontario.

Oakville-based Windmill Microlending recipient
shares her experience

Megan Badenhorst moved from South Africa to Oakville in January 2020 with her family and a plan; to get settled, to requalify in Ontario as a lawyer and to be back in legal practice within a year. What she didn’t account for was the global COVID-19 pandemic that locked down the province, delaying and cancelling the exams necessary for her requalification.

“It just slowed everything down,” she said. “It was emotionally tough and you just ask yourself: ‘Have I made the right decision? When are we going to get our lives back on track?’”

Why Blair and Sharon Richardson chose
to create a Bequest Fund with The Foundation

When Blair and Sharon Richardson were in the process of revising their Will, they sat down with their two kids to have a talk about what they were thinking of doing: creating a Bequest Fund with the Oakville Community Foundation. They wanted to leave their kids some money but also wanted to continue to give to the charitable organizations they had supported throughout their lives.

“They were both really supportive,” said Blair. “They were very enthusiastic about the whole idea.”

Community projects

Community Classroom

In 2021, Community Classroom Online presented 36 new videos to assist in virtual learning, with more than 6,700 classroom video views!

This Foundation initiative has been running since 2018, and provides publicly-funded elementary school students in Oakville, from kindergarten through Grade 8, the ability to participate in a free arts, culture, heritage or environmental program. For the 2021-22 school year, the Community Classroom online programming was extended to include Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation students at Lloyd S. King Elementary School as part of our commitment to reciprocity.

Read our three-year Community Classroom Program Success Report here


Awards Hub

With more than $330,000 available in scholarships, bursaries and educational awards, the Community Education Awards Hub is thriving! In 2021, usership increased by 37% as even more awards were added.

The Community Education Awards Hub is the one-stop, free, online source for students to access numerous community scholarships, bursaries and awards. Each participating organization has customized their award application with specific requirements including financial need, leadership activities, academic achievement and more. Award values range from $500 – $20,000 depending on the application.

We are grateful to our participating Award Partners for making this an inclusive source for students in our community. Thank you to: The May Court Club of Oakville, Halton Learning Foundation, The Halton Region Chinese Canadian Association, The Rotary Club of Oakville, The Oakville Lions Club, The University Women’s Club of Oakville.

Please contact Frances Pace,
Director – Fundholder & Community Engagement, at frances@theocf.org for more information on using The Awards Hub for your scholarship, bursary or award.

Photo by: Kevin Sousa

Oakville Healthy Community Initiative

The Oakville Healthy Community Initiative (OHCI) was inspired by our membership with Community Foundations of Canada and made possible with the generosity of our Fundholders as we directed $98,000 back into the community.

After stewarding dollars for the national initiative (pg. 23), we wanted to support local infrastructure projects that keep residents safe and healthy by creating a safer, more vibrant and inclusive Oakville.

These projects were designed to help respond to immediate needs caused by COVID-19, as well as to create long-term solutions for our community’s recovery and resiliency.

Giving Circle:

Four Years and Strong!

In the search for a way to give back inclusively while continuously growing and establishing funds for years to come, Oakville’s very own Women’s Giving Collective was established, bringing together like-minded women eager to make a difference now and in the future.

It was created as a space for women to come together and pool their resources, knowledge and desire to help their community, using the giving circle concept to embrace this social way of giving back.

Now in its fourth year, The Collective has granted $30,000 since inception, having just completed a three-year commitment to Heartache2Hope, a local suicide loss support charity. They are now embarking on a new three-year commitment to the Halton Youth Collective. The Collective is a Community Building Initiative and focuses on providing wraparound support for Youth, 18-24 years old who are leaving the support of the Children’s Aid Society of Halton. The Collective focuses on bringing services to support these youth so that they are able to excel in life, with opportunities for Education, Employment or Training.

For more information on the Women’s Giving Collective or to join, please contact Sarah McPherson – Director, Philanthropy & Communications at sarah@theocf.org

Giving Circle:

Doing Even More Good!

Oakville Dads originally started as a local support group for Dads living or working in Oakville. In the last two-and-a-half years, the group has grown to nearly 3,000 members and is now a major support network and fundraising group in the community.

The Oakville Dads Community Fund held at the Oakville Community Foundation helps the group expand their support in the community to continue to reach vulnerable individuals, couples and families and explore other charitable organizations to support.

“After throwing our Golf Tournament, we could immediately write cheques to Fare Share Food Bank and to Meals on Wheels through the Oakville Dads Fund at the Oakville Community Foundation.” -Jeremy Sims

They currently support Oakville Fareshare Food Bank and Oakville Meals on Wheels and in 2021 raised $18,000 in their inaugural Oakville Dads’ Golf Tournament. They’re long term goal is to create a Scholarship Fund, something that partnering with The Foundation, enables them use of The Foundation’s Community Education Awards Hub when they’re ready. And they’re close!

Supporting Older Adults Through Research and Grants

In June, The Foundation launched Living Your Best Life: A Report on the Vitality of Older Adults in Our Communities. This report examined what it is like to age in our communities and looked at the areas where we are excelling and the areas where there is room
to improve.

In order to address the sedentary lifestyle of older adults identified through the research, The Foundation supported the Rotary Oakville Trafalgar’s project which brought Adult and Senior Fitness Equipment to Memorial Park. The project involved the installation of fitness equipment, with some geared specifically to older adults and those with

The project was one of four projects funded by the Oakville Healthy Community Initiative (OHCI), The Foundation’s granting program exclusive to Fundholders. All projects were place-based, long-term solutions focused on natural and physical infrastructure bringing connectivity to Oakville.

Pass the Baton Canada

Over the spring and summer, The Foundation embarked on an exciting journey with Olympian Donovan Bailey as we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of his 100M Gold Medal and the Men’s 4 x 100M Relay Gold Medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Pass the Baton Canada raised $42,000 for youth race kits and charitable donations for youth charities. The race kits went to children and youth across
the country who wanted to participate in the virtual race and the donations supported Boys and Girls Club of Canada, Big Brother Big Sisters of Canada, the Special Olympics, the Andre DeGrasse Foundation and the Donovan Bailey Sports Excellence Award held at The Foundation.

Did you see the conversation we hosted between Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean and Donovan Bailey? It’s available to watch on our website through the Community Classroom Online programming.

In its inaugural year, 2020 Ontario Winter Games speed skating champion Kai Abdool and recent 2022 Beijing Olympian and figure skater Madeline Schizas were awarded $2,500 each in the pursuit of their Olympic dreams. Congratulations Kai and Madeline!

Community Foundations of Canada

As a member Community Foundations of Canada, community foundations coast-to-coast are given the opportunity to bring national granting programs down to the local level. These granting programs bring additional dollars into our community, most often funded by the Government
of Canada.

Canada Healthy Communities Initiative
The Golden Horseshoe Hub in Southern Ontario worked together to distribute $736,076 to transform public spaces in response to COVID-19 through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI). CHCI was a national initiative to create and adapt public spaces to respond to the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund for Gender Equality
The Foundation was proud to be one of 21 community foundations across Canada that took part in the The Equality Fund, granting $140,000
to seven local charities that support women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender diverse individuals working towards a future grounded in equity, inclusion and justice. At the same time The Foundation made a commitment to gender lens investing, with a $250,000 investment in the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund.

Investment Readiness Program
As the lead partner in the Brant | Halton | Peel partnership, we helped distribute 709,168 to 19 social purpose organizations (SPOs) in the second round of the Investment Readiness Program (IRP). This national initiative provided time-limited investments to support a broad range of SPOs that include charities, non-profits, co-operatives, hybrid social enterprises, and mission-focused for-profits who are advancing a social, cultural, or environmental mission.

Granting, investing and reporting

Impact Investing

Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund

To meet our gender lens investing commitment to the Equality Fund, in 2021, The Foundation added a new Impact Investment to its portfolio with the purchase
of $250,000 in bonds in a Canadian investment fund.

The Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund is focused on fixed-income investments in Latin America and the Caribbean, in companies with missions to promote women in leadership and governance, products and services that meet the needs of women and girls, gender-sensitive value chains, and workplace equity.


The Foundation offers donors a powerful and diverse range of opportunities to drive positive change. We enable donors to grant to CRA designated charitable organizations and initiatives. Together with our Fundholders, our community granting is a focused, collaborative effort to build back better.

The 2021 GIVEOakville campaign, combined with The Foundation’s Top-Up Funds, granted $575,062 for local charities in the Oakville and Halton areas. The campaign supported grant requests from 55 local charities working within six different causes including: Arts, Culture & Heritage; Children, Youth & Families; Community; Education & Employment; Environment & Animal Rights and Health & Wellness.

Funds By Balance Type

Investment Returns

Board of Directors - 2021

Bindu Cudjoe (Chair), Brian Hanna (Past-Chair), Mike Miller (Vice-Chair), Vik Sachdev (Treasurer), Ameeta Vijay (Secretary) Mira Backo-Shannon**, Rob Budhwa, Daniela Hampton-Davies, Chuck Havill*, Sam Greiss*, Bonnie Jackson, Frank Lochan, Mary Lui, Fred Pinto, Kevin Tremblay**, Andrew Tyrrell**, Tim Zahavich*

* represents those serving until the May 2021 AGM
** represents those whose service began at the May 2021 AGM

We are honoured to work with the following volunteer committee members who supported The Foundation. Through their knowledge, due diligence and guidance, The Foundation is able to ensure we are building community through philanthropy.

Audit Committee
Vik Sachdev** (Chair), Sam Greiss* (Chair), Kirby Alguire, Rashpal Brar-Grewal, Chuck Havill*, Christine Langevin,  Frank Lochan, Mark Lukowski, Mike Miller, Tom Rothfisher, Kevin Tremblay (Vice Chair)

Finance & Risk Committee
Vik Sachdev (Chair), Kirby Alguire, Rashpal Brar-Grewal, Sam Greiss*, Chuck Havill*, Christine Langevin, Frank Lochan, Mark Lukowski, Mike Miller, Kevin Tremblay (Vice Chair)

Investment Committee
Mike Miller (Chair), Rob Budhwa, Paul Fahey*, Natalie Jamison, Gary Love, John Lydall, Fred Pinto (Vice Chair), Lindsay Patrick

Community Legacy Building Committee
Daniela Hampton-Davies (Chair), Bindu Cudjoe, Binu Dhas, Brian Hanna, Michael Gesualdi, Martha Hill, Bonnie Jackson (Vice Chair), Mary Lui, Susan Mollenhauer, Les Ross, Marc Tremblay, Andrew Tyrrell

Governance and Nominations Committee
Bindu Cudjoe* (Chair), Rob Budhwa** (Chair), Mira Backo-Shannon, Brian Hanna, Mike Miller **, Ameeta Vijay (Vice Chair), Tim Zahavich

Program-related Investment/Impact Investment
Ameeta Vijay (Chair), Mira Backo-Shannon, Rob Budwha, Mike Miller (Vice Chair), Anusha Shanmugarajah

Review Committees

Alexander and Bernice DeMaio Education Award

Binu Dhas, Daniela Hampton-Davies, Joanne Peters

Canada Healthy Communities Initiative – Regional Hub

Wendy Rinella (Oakville Community Foundation) Chair, Anne Marie Peirce (Mississauga Community Foundation), Lois Thomas (Six Nations of the Grand River), Gilmar Militar (Ontario Trillium Foundation), Terry Cooke (Hamilton Community Foundation), Mira Backo-Shannon (Oakville Community Foundation Board Member)

Staff - 2021

Dan Ierullo, Accountant, Courtney Waddell – Social Media & Communications Specialist, Michael Salem, Senior Manager – Communications & Creative Services, Lori Armitage, Director – Finance, Michelle Collins, Fundholder & Community Engagement Administrator, Frances Pace, Director – Fundholder & Community Engagement, Jeff Robertson, Data Management Assistant, Gillian McLaren, Office Manager & Board Liaison, Wendy Rinella, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alison Moeller, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Sarah McPherson, Director – Philanthropy & Communications, Taline McPhedran – Communications & Events Manager

A special thank you to the following students and interns who have worked with us throughout the year.
Interns: Charlotte Bright, Jawaria Khalid.
Sense of Belonging Report: Danesh Sheikh, Ifunanyachukwuka Udezue, Victory Eragbon


Cover image by Rene Empalmado