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First Ever RACF Grant/Fundraising Gala

Pictured in the main photo (left) is Kim McConnell, our guest speaker. On the right is Susan Citulsky accepting a grant for the Rivers Train Station Restoration Committee from RACF Director, Ian Dyer.

Rivers and Area Community Foundation (RACF) held its first-ever Gala/Granting Fundraising evening on Friday, November 17, 20167. The Rivers Legion Hall was given an elegant makeover by Jena Ratz and her company Black Tie Events, as well as Aaron Tycoles of the Clarion Hotel of Brandon. Shelley Mom’s catered the event, with decadent desserts provided by Alice Fast. Rivers Train Station Restoration Committee’s Chocolate trains (handmade by Morden’s Chocolates of Winnipeg) adorned each of the place settings. The evening began with chair Donna Morken and co-chair Ian Dyer speaking to the approximately 145 people in attendance about the event and why it was being held this evening. The event was held in conjunction with Endow Manitoba Day on November 18, 2017, where The Winnipeg Foundation stretches every $5.00 raised by providing another $1.00 dollar and the Province of Manitoba matches the $1.00 provided by The Winnipeg Foundation.

They spoke of how tonight many “stories” would be told about Community Philanthropy and how Manitobans care for each other and their communities.

The three levels of Government were then recognized as MP Larry Maguire, MLA Greg Nesbitt and Mayor Todd Gill were in attendance.

Past and present directors were recognized, as well as the students of the newly formed Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) Initiative started by Directors Michelle McFadden and Donna Falkevitch, with teacher Mrs. Michelle Maxwell at Rivers Collegiate. With initial funding of $2500 provided by the Thomas Sill Foundation, the students will research and decide which group(s) will receive a grant(s) from the money they have been allocated. They will be holding their own grant presentations in March 2018. A follow-up will be provide in a future article.

Director Craig Allison designed a Powerpoint presentation regarding what a community foundation is and what the RACF has been working on since its inception in 2009.

Three items that were donated were raffled and were won by: Clarion Inn and Suites Brandon – Wheat King Hockey tickets and a night’s stay for either a family or a couple – Stan Cochrane; Morden’s Chocolates – Basket of Chocolate – Jack Boyd; Metcalfe’s Garage Treherne – Ford Gift Card – Doug Dickenson.

Director Peter Mellings provided the grace and then a delicious meal was served by Rivers Volunteer Fire Department members. Once the meal was concluded, the co-MCs continued with the RACF story of Bernard & Iola Goekoop, a local farm couple who, when they passed away, left over $400,000 to the community to establish a Rivers and Area Community Foundation. From there the Foundation was founded and it is comprised of volunteers who are community-minded people. Under their guidance, the income earned from invested funds is used to provide grants in the areas of health, culture & heritage, community service, recreation, education, youth and seniors, environment & conservation, and agriculture.

Donations have been made by a variety of people either in memoriam of loved ones, birthday gifts, thinking of friends or because they wanted to make a gift to help the community grow. Donations to the Foundation or the other funds are made in several forms, from bequests, in memory of loved ones, donations to specific areas, scholarships and more. The money is held in perpetuity with the interest from the investments forming the basis for the grant allocations. Charitable tax receipts are provided.


Attendees at the Rivers & Area Community Foundation Grant/Fundraising Gala 2017

L-R: Mayvis White, Donna Morken, Helen Sibbald, Donna Falkevitch, Margaret Skinner and Pat Hillier.



Community Foundations of Canada

Endow Manitoba logo and link

Canada Helps Dot Org logo and link

The Winnipeg Foundation