Peterborough, ON – The Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough is announcing Vital Community Grants totalling $90,000 to nine local organizations whose work focuses on supporting equity-deserving people who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After eighteen months, we know that some people have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 relative to others. Indigenous people, women, youth, people with disabilities and others facing systemic inequality have experienced a heightened chance of exposure to the virus, social isolation, lack of access to food, services and education, worse health outcomes, and adverse financial repercussions. To support these people, this year’s Vital Community Grants theme was an “Equitable COVID-19 Recovery”.

Equity is about fairness and justice. A focus on equity is about removing systemic barriers so that everyone in our community can have a fair chance of living a healthy, happy life. Peterborough is fortunate to be served by many organizations who work hard not just to meet essential needs, but also to improve the lives of others by addressing systemic inequality.

Nine local charities led by, serving and focused on equity deserving groups were invited to a participatory granting circle to discuss their applications and allocate the available funds. Participatory grantmaking is a decision-making process that invites those who are most knowledgeable about an issue to identify priorities and direct the available funds. For the Community Foundation, participatory granting is an expression of our values of trust, inclusivity, collaboration, and vitality, and is based on the principle of “nothing about us without us”.

Donations to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund are still being accepted by the Community Foundation and will continue to be used to support charities with their pandemic recovery work: https://cfgp.ca/project/covid/.

The recipients of 2021 Vital Community Grants are:

Heads Up for Inclusion
– To support the Community Amigos Program by providing space for connection to reduce social isolation for people living with disabilities

Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Foundation
– To support programs for in-care youth transitioning to independent living

Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle
– To reverse the damage that was caused by residential schools and the pandemic by bringing in Elders and Traditional Knowledge Holders as well as language speakers

Peterborough AIDS Resource Network (PARN)
– To assist in the reduction of financial and socio-economic barriers to people needing to engage in PARN’s programs and services

The Council for Persons with Disabilities
– To engage more young people living with disabilities

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough
– To launch and support a group counselling program that supports mothers and birthing parents who have lost custody of their children

TRACKS Youth Program (Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science)
– To provide resources, workshops and activities to Indigenous youth living in the seven Williams Treaties First Nations in Ontario at no cost

YES Shelter for Youth and Families
– To support the RISE Youth Housing program that helps youth between 16 and 24 resolve homelessness and find stability

YWCA Peterborough Haliburton – Nourish Project
– To support its civic literacy work including programs like Hungry for Income, a food insecurity training series