Community Foundation offers help to keep Bervie campus open


By Barb McKay

There is a glimmer of hope for the future of the Bervie campus.


Officials with the Community Foundation Grey Bruce (CFGB) told Huron-Kinloss council last Monday that they would be open to sitting down with those involved with the alternative learning facility to see if there are avenues that could be pursued to keep it operating.


The conversation came about after CFGB outgoing executive director Roberta Brignell and incoming executive director Aly Boltman discussed funding opportunities through the foundation for initiatives by non-profit organizations and charities for youth, children, health, mental health and the arts.


Councillor Lillian Abbott pointed out that the Bervie campus of Kincardine and District Secondary School is scheduled to close next week and inquired if CFGB would have any funding available for it. The decision was made by the secondary school due to a lack of funding and declining enrollment. There are currently 18 students enrolled at the campus, which offers an alternative skills program to at-risk youth. The campus has operated successfully for 11 years.


Boltman said the foundation does not have enough capital funding to keep the campus open, but could work with philanthropists who may be able to help.


“It would have to be done very creatively,” she said, “where a not-for-profit could create a branch off of it to keep it alive.”


Boltman added that the foundation would look into the situation. She said CFGB had advocated for Keystone Child, Youth and Family Services and had found funding for it.


During the presentation to council, Brignell and Boltman explained that the foundation is trying to make itself more well-known in Huron-Kinloss so that residents, students and not-for-profit groups understand the endowment funds and scholarships that are available to them.


“We don’t get a lot of applications in this area,” Brignell said.


The two executives brought a CFGB banner and pamphlets to post at the township office to hand out to residents. Brignell said the foundation has $13 million assets and is now able to offer capital funding.


There is a fund that is geared specifically to Huron-Kinloss. The George Anderson Endowment Fund was established by Anderson’s nieces and nephews in his honour after he passed away suddenly at Christmas 2009. Anderson was born in Lucknow in 1935 and was very involved with the town. An award is presented each year to a high school student from Lucknow who is active in the community.


Boltman said the foundation is putting a greater emphasis on helping young people further their education. CFGB currently has $750,000 in education awards available and hopes to increase that to $1 million in the next five years. The foundation is also aiming to develop a website geared to youth to help them find scholarships and other sources of post secondary education funding more easily.