EMSF provides various groups with $35K from this year’s festival

Last updated on Jun 22, 23

Posted on Jun 22, 23

3 min read

Twenty-two community groups shared in $35,000 last week when the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival committee doled out the proceeds from this year’s event.

The presentations to diverse organizations, the likes of Elmira District Community Living and Woolwich Community Services, took place June 14 at St. James Lutheran Church in Elmira.

After a post-pandemic return to in-person activities, dispersing the proceeds was another sign the festival is “back,” said EMSF committee chair Matt Jessop.

Chair Matt Jessop at EMSF event June 14. Bill Atwood

“We’re very proud of [the donations] considering that after our hiatus we’ve been able to come back. [Not to mention] we did disburse funds every year even when we didn’t have the festival,” Jessop said, noting that the majority of recipients are groups the committee has supported for many years.

Because the festival was not held in 2020 and changes were made to the event over the next two years, the committee had to dip into reserve funds to continue to make donations over that time.

“This year was a strong year And we were not only able to refill some of our reserves, which was great, but we were also able to have a fairly strong dispersal here,” Jessop added.

Although the committee has made larger contributions in past years, they are very proud of what they were able to accomplish given all the external factors, Jessop said.

Sponsorship committee member Sandi Hutchinson highlighted that a wide range of groups received grants.

“It’s such a diverse community,” she said. “It’s just a nice avenue for us to be able to provide for such diversity.”

Hutchinson added that it was very satisfying to host the sponsorship night in person.

“After all that hard work that we’ve done, to actually put a face to the people because it’s easy just to read and say, ‘Oh, these people want this money for whatever,’ but when they show up and they show their passion too…that’s amazing . That so many little pockets in our community are thriving, and they want to do this kind of thing too, we were grateful to be able to help them,” she said.

Under the EMSF committee’s bylaw, 40 per cent of the money it donates each year goes to Elmira District Community Living, which supports residents with intellectual disabilities. Their executive director, Cheryl Peterson, said that the funds it receives from EMSF are a key part of their operations as it is one of three funds they rely on.

“We may get support from the provincial government to build a group home, but then the repairs and maintenance, the wheelchair-accessible van at $100,000 to purchase to take people out in their community, are not funded by the government. So we rely heavily on the maple syrup festival grant funds, donations and funds from our other fundraisers to pay for those,” she explained.

“We’re just very thankful and grateful to the festival and all the hard work of the committee members and vendors and everybody that makes it such a successful event that benefits our community,” she said.

Since its inception, the EMSF has provided more than $1.7 million in grants to different community groups.

“We’re definitely here to support the community. And this is how it comes to fruition after we close the festival and all that hard work is done,” Jessop said.

The committee now turns its attention to next year for the 60th anniversary of the event.

2023 grant recipients

1st Elmira Scout Group

822 Tutor Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets

Child Witness Centre

Community Care Concepts

Elmira Community Nursery School

Elmira District Community Living

Elmira Theatre Company

John Mahood Public School parent council

Kiwanis Transit

Pride Stables - CODRP

Region of Waterloo Library

Robin in the Hood Medieval Festival

Street Ministering “Hotdog People”

Strong Start Charitable Organization

Transition Guelph - Urban Sugaring Project

Woman’s Crisis Services Waterloo Region

Woolwich Community Services

Woolwich Counselling Services

Woolwich Gymnastics Club

Woolwich Seniors Association

Woolwich Sledge Hockey

YW Kitchener-Waterloo

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