Ontario Trillium Fund grant refreshes Volunteer Bureau building

Press release

(Fort Frances, Ont.) – On Thursday, March 2, 2023, the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau (FFVB) held an event recognizing a $45,000 Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) which was awarded in 2022 to support a refresh of its offices and common areas, along with electrical and digital services upgrades.

“Through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we are ensuring that volunteers across Northern communities have functional spaces that allow them to carry out their important work,” said Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament, Kenora-Rainy River. “I would like to thank the community members who make up the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau. Your tireless efforts to make your community better are appreciated and they contribute to creating a vibrant community for all to enjoy.”

The Resilient Communities Fund grant was used to help with the costs involved with renovations and upgrades to the offices, meeting room, main washroom and main entryway of the old CN train station. Now that the renovation is complete, the FFVB plans to rent the offices to charity-focused organizations and agencies starting this spring.

“Renting the offices will create a stable revenue stream that will be used to offset the operational costs of the building,” said Bill Michl, president, FFVB. “We are very appreciative of the OTF giving us the opportunity to get ourselves on a more stable financial footing. Additionally, the offices will provide the patrons of our Family Centre program easy access to social services provided by future FFVB tenants.”

The FFVB used this occasion to celebrate the five-year anniversary of their Family Centre program and to announce the start of the annual Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) that will operate Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. beginning March 2 and ending April 30.

The FFVB is a not-for-profit registered charity that promotes volunteerism through the recruitment, training and organization of volunteers and by providing a physical location from which volunteers, volunteer groups and social agencies can operate programs and charitable services. The FFVB is completely run by volunteers.

The Family Centre program is a drop-in centre and is the flagship program of the FFVB. It is all-inclusive and is open seven days per week and 365 days per year. The centre is used by 20 to 40 people daily, many of whom are homeless. The volunteers of the Family Centre have provided over 20,000 meals annually each of the past three years.

Volunteers of the FFVB also operate a food bank, a clothing bank and a bedding bank. All banks are stocked by donations from the public and utilized by hundreds of people in need every month. The Centre also provides shower and laundry facilities and everything is free to anyone in need regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year OTF invested nearly $209-million into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

For more information about the FFVB or any of its programs, contact them at 807-274-9555 or at fortfrancesvb@gmail.com.