The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is revamping its charitable foundation in the hopes of drumming up more donations to pay for graduation awards, bursaries and programs to give all students an equal chance to succeed.
Trustees last week approved a staff proposal to hire a full-time fundraiser and half-time administrative assistant as part of a plan to partner with the Hamilton Community Foundation.
The latter will provide advice and manage endowments on behalf of the board for a fee.
Judith Bishop, trustee for wards 1 and 2, said changes, which also include an expanded board of directors, will allow for better marketing of the charity, which had $450,000 in revenues last year but received no new endowments.
Endowments are donations whose principal amounts are invested to generate interest or revenue to pay for awards, bursaries and the like.
“I think that this is a plan that will take us in new directions and ones that we actually want to go,” said Bishop, who pushed for a staff report on ways to revitalize the charity, which had an asset base of just over $1.5 million in 2012.
“We don’t really have a functioning board of directors at the moment and I think we also get using the expertise in an appropriate way of the community foundation.”
The plan is based on the charity increasing revenues to cover the cost of the full-time fundraiser.
The board will initially foot the bill for the half-time administrative assistant.
West Mountain trustee Wes Hicks said the changes will help ensure the board doesn’t miss out on donations that are going elsewhere.
“Over the years I’ve noticed a lot of our graduates have contributed to other educational institutions and I’ve wondered why this board was not involved in some of those contributions,” he said.
“I think this is totally in the right direction and the sooner the better to get on with this.”