Children’s Foundation Community Raises $150,000 to Empower Local Children

October 18, 2017

 CFGW Gala 2017 logo


The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington held its 12th annual Around the World Gala on Saturday, October 14th at the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre. The gala is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser and attracts over 300 community supporters and guests. This year, guests, donors and sponsors together raised $150,000 to support the work of the Foundation to empower children and youth with opportunities to build hope for lifelong change and break the cycle of poverty.

“Poverty comes in many forms,” says Glenna Banda, Executive Director of the Children’s Foundation. “One of the repeated sentiments we hear from our donors as to why they give is the understanding that a simple turn of luck can drastically change someone’s circumstances.” With this understanding and with the desire to strengthen local communities, the Foundation’s supporters give what they can, whether in the form of fundraising or volunteer hours, to ensure that a safety net is there for those who need one.

This year’s Gala attendees heard the story of a young man, now in his first year at university, who was able to fulfill his lifelong goal of studying to become a doctor because of the support of this safety net. “Had it not been for the Children’s Foundation Scholarship,” he addressed the room, “I would not have been able to go to university.”

“We’re so happy and grateful to celebrate these successes,” says Banda, “we literally couldn’t do this without the financial support of our donors. However, we still cannot help everyone and find ourselves turning many kids away, because there is simply not enough funding.” As the reach of the Children’s Foundation grows, more and more families in need come forward, and it is a constant struggle for the Foundation to balance its four core programs, striving to help as many kids as it can. “Our hope is that new Gala guests will be moved by the stories we share and join us to help in any way they can.”

Presented by Burnham Insurance & Financial Services Ltd. and The Co-operators, the gala presents a different theme each year and this year drew inspiration from Canada, including a Welcome Song from the local women’s drumming circle, “We Sing In Unity,” and featured musical entertainment from Canadian folk band, Chesterfield and the Sofa Kings.

Click here to view event photos of the evening.


 We Are Honouring Some of Guelph’s Finest

October 6, 2017

We will be recognizing some of our strongest community champions at the annual Around the World Gala next Saturday, loyally presented by Dan Burnham and The Co-operators Insurance. Dan’s agency is one of these champions: Dan Burnham and the Co-operators Insurance was the recipient of the Sponsor of the Year Award at the Gala in 2012.

The Children’s Foundation relies heavily on the strength and support of its community: “We’ve had tremendous growth in our programs over the last several years,” says Glenna Banda, Executive Director of the Children’s Foundation. “As we grow and are able to reach more children and families in need, we find even more families turning to us. We literally could not continue to have this impact without the dedication and support of our donors, volunteers and community members.”

The annual Around the World Gala features three recognition awards to thank and honour individuals who have made a particular contribution supporting the work of the Children’s Foundation, empowering children and youth to reach their full potential. 


Sandra Weafer Community Champion of the Year – Nellie & Lennie Diakiw

Nellie and Lennie Diakiw organize the annual Diakiw Invitation Golf Tournament in support of the Children’s Foundation Adopt-A-Family Program. The event brings friends together for a fun day of golf and over the past six years, the tournament has raised more than $40,000 for Adopt-A-Family, making the wishes of more than 200 local kids come true. Adopt-A-Family holds a special place in the Diakiws’ hearts: they strongly believe in the spirit of the season and want to help bring joy to those that need it.


Lennie and Nellie 


Sponsor of the Year – Cargill 

Cargill is a strong supporter of many of the Children’s Foundation programs: they have been a consistent supporter of Food & Friends, helping provide healthy nutrition to hungry kids through student nutrition programs; their employees loyally support Adopt-A-Family; and two years ago, Cargill established the $2,500 Cargill Scholarship to support youth entering trades or agriculture. 

Through Cargill Cares, an employee committee dedicated to making a difference in local lives, Cargill has had an incredible impact. “What we really want to do is to give back to the community,” says Craig Thomson, a Cargill Cares committee member.




Mary Carlin Volunteer of the Year – Michael Douglas

This year, the Volunteer of the Year Award is renamed to honour beloved longtime volunteer, Mary Carlin. Mary was instrumental in the establishment of the Children’s Foundation Adopt-A-Family Program and in many of its milestones since. Mary was a dedicated volunteer and an Honourary Member of the Board of Directors. Thousands of children have been touched by Mary’s caring heart and volunteerism. The Children’s Foundation is honoured to rename the award in thanks and recognition.




Michael Douglas is the definition of dedication. Michael first volunteered with the Children’s Foundation at Trees for Tots 2015 and was quickly drawn in and decided to become more involved. He says volunteering is a highlight in his life, “Each time I see a child, youth or family benefitting, I am filled with a sense of pride and satisfaction.” With Trees for Tots 2016, Michael became a tour de force, putting in countless hours to help prepare for the annual Christmas tree pick-up. An exemplary volunteer, Michael is also a strong advocate for the Foundation, finding new relationships among community members.



Thank you to these and other supporters who have remained committed to empowering local children.



Tickets are on sale for the 2017 Around the World Gala!

September 27, 2017

The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington’s (CFGW) biggest annual celebration, the Around the World Gala, honours loyal supporters and highlights the impact the community has made in changing the lives and brightening the futures of local children. “We are so privileged and so grateful for the support of our community; we know we could not do this without them,” says Glenna Banda, CFGW Executive Director.

Every year, as awareness of the Foundation’s programs grows, more and more families turn to the organization for help. “I dread the day I have to start turning families down,” says Karyn Kirkwood, Free to Play Program Director, as annual funds for the program begin to run out. Free to Play provides opportunities for children in financial need to take part in sports and arts activities, allowing them access to vital social development skills and helping build their self-esteem and a network of friends for children and parents alike. Free to Play, one of four core programs run by CFGW, inherently strengthens the community by building relationships. “We’ve seen an incredible, widespread impact in the community,” says Kirkwood, who is also the director of the Adopt-A-Family Program, “particularly when families who were once in need return to our programs as donor families. It’s amazing.”

All funds raised at Around the World go to work immediately, bettering the lives of local children in an effort to build a brighter, stronger future for all families in Guelph and Wellington. Presented by Dan Burnham and The Co-operators Insurance, the Gala is sponsored by local businesses and includes a sit-down dinner, live entertainment, and fantastic items in the live and silent auctions.

Each year, the event takes its theme inspiration from a different location. This year, in honour of the country’s anniversary, Around the World stays close to home and celebrates “A Walk Through Canada” with a fun, Children’s Foundation twist. “This event is a great reflection of what we try to provide for local children at an adult level,” says Banda, “A strong sense of community, a great sense of fun, fantastic food and all done with a playful spirit.”

This year’s Gala takes place at the Delta Guelph Hotel on Saturday, October 14. Tickets for the event are $130 and available on the Children’s Foundation website along with further event information. For more information about the event and to buy tickets, go to our Gala event page.



 2017 Around the World Gala takes "A Walk Through Canada"

April 18, 2017

The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington’s largest annual fundraiser, the Around the World Gala, is a spirited celebration and a call to action. Through the invaluable support of honoured corporate sponsors and dedicated, loyal donors, the event celebrates the Foundation’s vision that all children and youth have equal opportunity to learn, grow and participate in their community.

The Around the World Gala takes its annual theme inspiration from a different country or culture each year, celebrating the community that supports its children and youth through an aptly colourful, lively lens.This year, the Gala stays close to home to celebrate what makes Canada unique with “A Walk Through Canada” on October 14, 2017.

“Each year, the Gala Committee gets excited planning our next thematic excursion,” says Angela Crawford, Committee Chair. “This year, as we celebrate Canada’s anniversary, it seemed fitting to celebrate our own culture and what makes Canada so unique.”

The Children’s Foundation welcomes back Dan Burnham and The Co-operators Insurance as the proud Presenting Sponsor of Around the World 2017. Burnham and The Co-operators are loyal supporters of the Gala and encourage Guelph community partners and businesses to join them in casting a vote for the future of the community.

“When you invest in the children of the community, you invest in the community’s future,” says Burnham. “We are proud to once again be the Presenting Sponsor of this exciting event. The Children’s Foundation Gala, in addition to being a necessary fundraiser, is a fun and impactful event. Each year, you can feel the impact in the ballroom, and we’re thrilled to be able to help make that happen.”

The Around the World Gala raises vital funds to support the Children’s Foundation’s four programs. Last year, the demand on those programs was higher than ever before. With this rising demand, the Foundation works hard to make every dollar count and in 2016, through the support of donors and corporate sponsors like Burnham, the Children’s Foundation invested $1.94 million dollars in bettering the lives of over 20,000 local children living in low-income households. In December 2016, the Foundation was named one of 23 Top Children’s Charities Worth Your Money by Financial Post Magazine based on financial transparency, putting fundraised dollars to work quickly and  keeping overhead costs below 35%. It is only through corporate and donor support that the Children’s Foundation can continue having such an incredible impact on the lives of local children, and on the future of the community.