London Community Foundation Announces Community Vitality Grant Winners

(London, ON) - The London Community Foundation (LCF) is pleased to announce the recipients of its Community Vitality Grant for 2023, with a total grant amount of over $1.1 million awarded to five deserving organizations. The Community Vitality Grant is a key initiative of LCF that reflects its commitment to addressing the diverse needs of [LCF's] community. By supporting initiatives that tackle key issues identified in the Foundation’s Vital Signs report, the grant program plays a crucial role in creating a more equitable and thriving London.

This year, LCF received an overwhelming number of applications from local organizations and community groups, highlighting the significant demand for support in [LCF's] community. After a rigorous evaluation process conducted by a panel of dedicated community volunteers, five exceptional initiatives were selected for funding.

"These projects exemplify our shared vision of building a community that values diversity, ensures equal opportunities, and empowers all individuals," said Lori Runciman, LCF’s Grants Director. "We believe in the power of collective action to create lasting change, and these initiatives demonstrate the incredible work being done in our community." 

The Community Vitality Grant is funded by LCF’s Community Fund, one of the largest unrestricted funds among Canadian Community Foundations thanks to generous unrestricted gifts and donations. This fund provides LCF with the flexibility to respond to the priority and emerging community needs identified in the Foundation's Vital Signs report.

"We are grateful for the generosity and trust of our donors, whose unrestricted donations have been instrumental in providing a stable and sustainable source of community capital for London and Middlesex County, allowing us to create lasting positive change in our community." said Diane Silva, Director of Philanthropy at LCF.

In 2022, LCF disbursed a combined $7.9 million in grants and social finance loans to organizations doing good in London and Middlesex County, of which over $1 million came from the Community Vitality program. As Community Vitality is such a large portion of LCF's granting, LCF is pleased to see the amount granted by the program increase again this year.

With the Community Vitality Grant and other impactful initiatives, LCF continues to demonstrate its commitment to equity in [LCF's] community, working towards a society where no one is left behind and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

2023 Community Vitality Grant Recipients

Thames Talbot Land Trust
Community-led Land Protection for a Sustainable Future
$325,000, over three years

The grant will support TTLT and its partners in identifying a target of 5,000 local landowners to engage in the project which hopes to establish 18 new Conservation Easement Agreements (CEAS), a legally binding agreement placed onto the title of a property that a landowner voluntarily enters into to protect natural environments and agricultural lands under The Ontario Conservation Land Act. This will result in the protection of over 1,000 acres. The grant will be funding a new part-time staff position and covering the survey and legal costs associated with the CEAs.

Unity Project
Transforming Unity Project
$270,000, over three years

Unity Project has witnessed a substantial increase in demand for its services during the pandemic. The grant will support Unity Project’s indoor and outdoor Housing First emergency shelter program as they transition to new facilities. The funding will enable them to maximize their emergency shelter's capacity by creating an all-gender inclusive shelter with exterior pallet shelter cabins and interior retrofits. Additionally, the grant will support an evaluation that aims to assess the effectiveness of the pallet cabins as a solution for rapid, safe, and accessible emergency shelter. The findings from this evaluation will have significant implications for the development of homeless prevention systems and services, both locally and internationally.

Strong Start
Redesign and Production of Letters, Sounds and Words program materials
$65,000, over two years

Strong Start provides programs and services aimed at helping children learn to read and acquire essential early literacy skills. One of their notable initiatives, the Letters, Sounds, and Words program, supports one-on-one instruction for children who require additional practice with reading fundamentals. The grant will enable Strong Start to make necessary changes to ensure that the program materials are more inclusive and representative of the diverse children, volunteers, and school communities served by Strong Start.

London Environmental Network
Nonprofit Resiliency Retrofits
$200,000, over two years

In 2022, LEN launched the Nonprofit Resiliency Project (NRP) to support low-income nonprofit organizations in London and Middlesex that provide housing for vulnerable populations. While the project is currently able to offer their services for free, the grant will allow LEN to propel its projects and maximize their environmental, social and economic impact. The grant will enable building walkthroughs, data collection on key environmental categories, the creation of customized sustainability reports, and the implementation of retrofit projects. Additionally, it will provide financial support, training, and workshops to the participating organizations.

Sakeenah London & Middlesex Area Shelter and Remote Services Program
$245,593, over two years

In London, Sakeenah has provided shelter along with essential support and services to women and children since it opened in February 2021.The grant provides Sakeenah with avaluable runway to establish sustainable long-term funding for its operations in London. It will support Sakeenah in providing sheltering in its London home and remote casework services for women from diverse cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds who require safety and support.

About London Community Foundation:
London Community Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to improving communities across London and Middlesex County through collaboration, strategic leadership, and innovative solutions to charitable giving. By investing gifts in perpetuity, the Foundation ensures the long-term vitality of [LCF's] community. Belonging to a network of over191 Community Foundations across Canada and over 1800 community foundations around the world, LCF's movement works to make an impact – locally, nationally, and globally.

Media Contact:
Matthew Brewer
Communications Manager
London Community Foundation
t: 519-667-1600 ext.111
c: (media use only) 226-503-7911
e: [email protected]