$300,000 In Community Grants Awarded To Support Learning


Community groups across Ontario are benefiting from a fresh new approach to philanthropy. L.E.A.F. (Learning Engagement & Accelerator Fund) is providing Ontario communities throughout ‘Commonwell Country’ (the smaller places and wide-open spaces of Eastern, Central and Western Ontario that The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group serves) – with a total of $300,000 in grants to help fund community-led projects that foster local learning and long-term resilience.

Just one example? Gathering in the kitchen to make delicious food is a great way to bring people together. Imagine taking that idea to the next level. That’s the concept behind Kids Feeding Kids in Collingwood where professional chefs share their culinary skills and creativity with young people and together, they serve up nutritious meals for kids in need in their community.

This is just one of 10 community organizations across Ontario that are benefiting from these grants given by The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Company. A step beyond typical funding, The Commonwell’s L.E.A.F. (Learning & Engagement Accelerator Fund) is supporting community projects that focus on learning new skills and building resiliency and capacity for the long-term health of the communities.

“We had almost 100 applications and they were all worthy of support. Making the selection was difficult, but we feel the 2022 L.E.A.F. grant recipients represent a very impressive range of community causes that will result in a long-term community investment by funding the sharing of knowledge,”  said Tim Shauf, President and CEO of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group. “We are excited to see these programs and initiatives across Commonwell Country come to life and serve the people and communities for years to come.”

The initiative is designed to create strong community engagement and The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group invited community groups to apply for a grant of up to $50,000 in September. L.E.A.F. is part of The Commonwell’s CARE to Grow philanthropy program which has provided $1.3 million to local communities over the past 18 months. The Commonwell’s philanthropic donations are well above the industry rate and focus on building long-term, sustainable resilience across Commonwell Country.

The Commonwell’s 2022 L.E.A.F. Grant recipients are:

City Project Grant
Campbellford, ON Reigniting the community through a revitalization of The West Schoolhouse.
Revitalization and capital upgrades to the West Schoolhouse, used for year-round learning programming.
Collingwood, ON Kids Feeding Kids
Led by local Chefs, Kids Feeding Kids teaches youth to create healthy nutritious meals which aid in their food education journey. Kids Feeding Kids involves meal planning, sourcing nutritional ingredients, prepping, and preparing food.
Cornwall, ON Wellness Workshop Series
This project will help support the children and youth within Cornwall and District who are participating in Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentoring programs and services through a Wellness workshop series dedicated to assisting in Cooking/ budgeting a meal, Meditation, Yoga, Cyber Safety and Consent program.
Deseronto, ON FLEXspace for the Deseronto Public Library
The Deseronto Public Library’s FLEXspace would create a programming space that could grow and develop along with the needs of the community featuring a maker-space with STEAM technology.
Eganville, ON Bonnechere Union Public Library Post-Pandemic Technology Revitalization
Technology upgrade to Public access computers and makerspace in the Bonnechere Union Public Library.
Innisfil, ON A Community capacity building for food security in Innisfil
The project will create a food security coalition, provide an 8-month-long community learning program, and host a food security forum.


Kearney, ON Kearney & Area Public Library’s new computers project
Updated library computer lab serving the rural community of Kearney.
Kingston, ON Loving Spoonful’s Community Harvest Food Forest
A food forest (orchard and plants) in Kingston with open education days
Milverton, ON Milverton All Wheels Park
All wheels park creates a learning and teaching environment for physical activity where older/more experienced users mentor and celebrate the achievements of younger/less experienced users of cycles, skateboards and scooters.
Stirling, ON Stirling-Rawdon Public Library Makerspace
The Library will establish a ‘Makerspace’ passive programming area within the library to provide resources to patrons looking to learn in new and creative ways.


What projects were eligible?

Local community-led initiatives in the areas that The Commonwell operates across Ontario that support learning programming or the places where communities gather to learn. Such as libraries, schools, and community centres.

What specific towns were eligible?

Alexandria, Arnprior, Barrie, Belleville, Bracebridge, Brighton, Brockville, Calabogie, Carlton Place, Coburg, Collingwood, Cornwall, Gravenhurst, Hawkesbury, Huntsville, Innisfil, Kemptville, Kingston, Kincardine, Lindsay, Midland, Minden, Nappanee, Orangeville, Orillia, Ottawa, Owen Sound, Parry Sound, Pembroke, Perth, Peterborough, Prince Edward County, Renfrew, Smiths Falls, Wasaga Beach and all of the other smaller places and wide-open spaces in between.

What’s next?

Applications for the 2023 Commonwell L.E.A.F. fund will open in September 2023 on the Commonwell site.


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