Events 2017

Oct 15th, 2017. From the Bradford Times by Miriam King

The Foundation giving $1000 to The Bradford Foodbank (Osborne and Wierenga)                                                  The foundation giving $500 to BDHS (recipient Principal Stone)

The Bradford West Gwillimbury & District Community Foundation launched its ‘Lessons in Giving’ during the 2016-2017 school year – challenging students to register and vote for the local charity that they would like to see receive a gift of $1000 from the Foundation.

The charity that got the most votes got the cash; the school that had the highest percentage of students voting also received a gift, of $500 for any school project. It was truly a “win-win.”

Lessons in Giving has returned for the new school year, and in October, 3 schools – Bradford District High School, St. Charles Catholic elementary school, and Holy Trinity Catholic High School – entered the competition.

Winning school was BDHS; winning charity was The Helping Hand Food Bank-Bradford.  Foundation members presented the $1000 to the Food Bank – and $500 to BDHS Principal Peter Stone.

BDHS was also the winner last year, when the funds were used to install additional bike racks for students. This time, the funds will go towards the new electronic sign being constructed outside the high school.

“It is a glorious give-away,” said Albert Wierenga, BWGDCF member, expressing a hope that even more schools will participate in the November and December competitions. Details are available online at

Oct 23rd, 2017.  From the Bradford Times by Miriam King

Careless police work and “tunnel vision,” focusing on a single suspect. Flawed forensics and errors in the pathologist’s report. Vulnerable individuals pushed to confess, or to accept a plea bargain, with the threat of a lengthy sentence held over their head.

James Lockyer has made it his mission to revisit the cases of the wrongfully convicted – those who, over their years behind bars, have never wavered in their protestations of innocence.

He uses the very materials collected through the original investigations, but this time, examined through the lens of objective analysis and new science.

Lockyer was guest speaker at the BWG & District Community Foundation’s “Rooted in Community” evening, held October 23 at the Green Valley Alliance Church in Bradford. In front of a full house, Lockyer described the careful analyses that cleared individuals like former Judge Jacques Delisle,  77, convicted of murdering his wife of 50 years, Nicole Rainville.

Delisle spent 5 years in prison before the expert witnesses, brought in by Lockyer to review the original x-rays, identified evidence that strongly supported a theory of suicide – a theory always maintained by the family of the victim.

“They never doubted that their grandmother had in fact committed suicide, and that their grandfather had nothing to do with it,” Lockyer said.

Delisle spent five years behind bars for a crime that never happened; William Mullins-Johnson spent nearly 11 years in jail, branded a murderer and child molester.

Mullins-Johnson had been  babysitting his 4 year old niece Valin and her little brother. At bedtime, he tucked the little girl in, and after checking on her once, went to sleep on a couch downstairs. In the morning, the parents discovered Valin dead, in a pool of vomit.

A pathologist claimed the little girl had been sexually molested and strangled; Mullins-Johnson was arrested.

Mullins-Johnson, testifying at his appeal, said he never doubted the pathologist’s report. “They’re supposed to be the protectors of society. Yeah, I believed she was (murdered), but it wasn’t me. When I was convicted, it destroyed me.”

It split apart his family; Mullins-Johnson ended up suspecting his brother of the crime. It shattered his life.

And it turned out  that the pathologist, now-discredited Dr. Charles Smith, was wrong. The report was based on misrepresentation and “flawed” pathological evidence. There was no  sexual assault. There was no murder; Valin died of natural causes.

Two years after Lockyer launched the appeal, William Mullins-Johnson was acquitted, his conviction quashed – but the case remains an example “of the harm the miscarriage of justice can cause not only to the individual, but the families,” Lockyer said.

Others  cleared through the efforts of Lockyer and his Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted include Guy Paul Morin, Stephen Truscott,  David Milgaard and Romeo Phillion – all convicted of murder, all innocent. Most of the cases he takes on are homicides, simply because of the workload, but he has also dealt with sexual assault convictions.

Like that of Anthony Hanemaayer, 19 at the time he was charged with the sexual assault of a 15 year old girl, in 1989. Although he told his lawyer that he was innocent, Hanemaayer was persuaded to accept a plea bargain – agreeing to plead guilty for a sentence of under 2 years, after the mother of the victim identified him as the suspect. He served 16 months in prison,including 8 months pre-trial custody. Convicted killer Paul Bernardo later confessed to the crime.

Lockyer  and his organization are credited with 25 exonerations of the wrongly-convicted. It is, he told the audience, a  “very time-consuming process.” It took “ten years and one week”  to clear Stephen Truscott, wrongfully convicted of rape and murder of a classmate at the age of only 14, and originally sentenced to death. Truscott’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison, and he was paroled in 1969.

In 1997, Lockyer began the effort to clear his name, using documents suppressed by the prosecution at the time, and new scientific evidence. The conviction was overturned in 2007. “That’s a long case, a long haul, but at the end it was worth every minute of it,” Lockyer said, noting that the struggle is with the system; the government “is fighting you all the way.”

He was asked about accountability, for the wrongful convictions. “In terms of criminal responsibility? Not at all,” Lockyer said, noting that there have been apologies, public inquiries, lawsuits, and the discrediting of some of the prosecutors and pathologists,  like Dr. Smith. But even when review has found that “it’s not mistakes, it’s misconduct ” – recruiting of untruthful witnesses, cajoling of witnesses to change their testimony, withholding of evidence from the defence – “there’s a significant lack of accountability for prosecutors and police.”

As for how many people are currently sitting in jail for crimes they did not commit? “I have no idea,” Lockyer said, suggesting a “very conservative” estimate is 3%.

He supported the creation of a publicly-funded independent tribunal, to look into claims of wrongful conviction. He also supported a suggestion from one of a number of high school students in the audience,  that there should be a statue erected to the ‘wrongfully convicted.”

“Put it right outside a courthouse,” Lockyer said.

Sept. 9th from the Bradford Times by Miriam King.

The Bradford Arts Centre received a huge boost, from local philanthropist Doug Osborne and the Bradford West Gwillimbury & District Community Foundation.                                                                          Osborne, a regular supporter of school scholarships, Global Giving and local charities, made a $15,000 contribution to the Centre, through the Community Foundation.                                                                The funding will be used to further the vision of a Bradford Arts Centre, providing a venue at 66 Barrie St. in Bradford to showcase top-notch established artists and musicians, as well as emerging local artists, providing training, workshops and performance space.  “There are some renovations needed to make it appropriate,” says Jim Keenan. Already completed are the professional sound system, and a 17′ by 20′ stage within the 200 seat venue.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       “The next renovation is to make this facility year-round, with air conditioning,” Keenan says. Other plans include the installation of an electronic sign, to promote upcoming events; modifications to the 1200 sq. ft. space at the rear of the church, to make it more suitable for art exhibits, workshops and public meetings; and installation of a lift, to make the downstairs fully accessible.                                               Keenan was delighted with the donation from Osborne and the Community Foundation. “Doug has been a patron of many of our events, and a patron of the arts in general,” he said, praising the Foundation’s role in giving back to the community.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Bradford Arts Centre is also pursuing other funding opportunities and grants, including funding through the Town’s Downtown Community Improvement Plan Area incentive program.                      Deputy Mayor James Leduc, chair of the Arts & Culture Advisory Committee, praised the Centre, and the work of the volunteers who have made it all possible. “We’re looking forward to seeing the CIP application, to help build on this wonderful Arts Centre.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Community Foundation is looking for more ‘angels’ like Doug Osborne, and for individuals who want to get involved in building a strong foundation for community organizations, charities and activities. To learn more about the BWG & District Community Foundation, see:  bwgdcf on   or

“It’s just like a hobby,” says Osborne of his philanthropy. “The more you do it, the more you want to do it.”

From left, BWG & District Community Foundation members Gary Baynes, Bob Evans, Hernan Burgos, with donor Doug Osborne – presenting cheque to Jim Keenan for the Bradford Arts Centre, as BWG Deputy Mayor James Leduc and Bill Jermyn, Bradford Fine Artists treasurer, look on, at the Centre in Bradford, Ont. on Saturday September 9, 2017. Miriam King/Bradford Times

July 1st, 2017

Our Community Foundation participated in today’s Canada’s Day parade in Bradford.

From left to right: Burgos, Evans, Langford and Wierenga.

Let our name ring brightly.

James Lockyer – Rooted in the Community event October 23 2017 – Get Tickets here

June 16th , 2017

Bradford Minor Baseball was chosen by Bradford students to receive the $1000 donation for the month of June in the Community Foundation’s

“Lesson in Giving”.

 from left to right: Gary Baynes, Daryl Pickard (President BMBA), Hernan Burgos, Bob Evans, Albert Wierenga (photos Bradford Times)

June 12, 2017  (as reported by the Bradford Times)

The BWG & District Community Foundation launched their “Lessons in Giving” campaign this spring – asking school children in Bradford West Gwillimbury, “If you had $1,000 to give away, which local charity would you give it to?”

Kids could research and vote for their local charity of choice –  including the Helping Hand Food Bank, BWG Community Meal, Friends of the Library, Southlake Regional Health Centre’s POGO pediatric cancer clinic, minor sports,  or others on a long, long list.

Not only could the students decide where the Community Foundation would donate the funds with their votes, they could win $500 for their own school, awarded to the school with the most students casting a ballot (as a percentage of the student population).

On June 12, the BWG & District Community Foundation announced its first winners. Students at Bradford District High School successfully nominated the Bradford Minor Baseball Association to receive a $1,000 gift – and won $500 for their high school.

“We’ll use it to make us more ‘student-friendly’,” said Principal Peter Stone, by adding more picnic tables or bike racks, “or to get more involved in the community,” helping to fund a new digital sign to publicize both school and community events.

“We certainly appreciate it. We’ll put it to good use,” Stone told representatives of the Foundation.

Lessons in Giving will resume in September, once students return from summer break. The Community Foundation is hoping for more engagement from local elementary schools, in both the public and Catholic school boards, to spread the “lessons in giving” message.

Left to right: Gary Baynes, Hernan Burgos, Peter Stone (Principal BDHS), Bob Evans, Albert Wierenga.

The   Bradford Community Foundation presents

JAMES LOCKYER on Monday, OCTOBER 23rd, at 7 pm,

Alliance Church Building, 758 Simcoe Rd., Bradford.

James will speak about: the Law, his Cases, his Career.  The speech will be approx. 30-40 minutes after which there is a 30-40 minute Q and A.

For a brief bio for James, see the insert. For more details, see:

 James Lockyer is a founding director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, an organization that advocates for the wrongly convicted. He has been involved in exposing several wrongful convictions in Canada, including three homicide cases in which post-conviction DNA testing resulted in exonerations. One of these cases, the exoneration of Guy Paul Morin in 1995, led to a Public Inquiry in Ontario in 1997. The Report of Mr. Justice Kaufman made numerous recommendations for avoiding wrongful convictions in the future, and exposing wrongful convictions of the past. Since 1992, Mr. Lockyer’s practice has been primarily in the field of wrongful convictions.

Please come out and support this instructive event.

Tickets for adults = $20 and for students = $10. Ticket limit = 150

Tickets can be ordered by or by phoning: 905 775 6460, or retrieving the tickets in person from Evans de Vries Higgins at 21 Holland St W, Bradford.

From left BWG & District Community Foundation volunteers Doug Osborne and Albert Wierenga present $1000 to Bradford Soccer Club President Daniela Bucciol, as Hernan Burgos looks on, in Bradford, Ont. on Thursday April 27, 2017. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

The BWG & District Community Foundation was established to provide a sustainable source of grant funding for community charities and organizations.

There are Community Foundations all across the country – volunteer, not-for-profit organizations that are building endowments to generate the funds to support the arts, minor sports and recreation, local hospitals and other causes – and providing an opportunity for generous donors to leave a lasting legacy in their community.

The BWGDCF was founding in 2007, and has been providing gifts to organizations in Bradford West Gwillimbury ever since.

On April 27, BWGDCF members Albert Wierenga, Hernan Burgos and Doug Osborne presented a gift of $1000 to the Bradford Soccer Club, which provides soccer programs for over 1200 kids, in House, Rep and Competitive divisions.

Wierenga, a former phys. ed. Teacher and soccer fan explained, “We want to help this group of people because they are very hard-working,” and the programs provided not only meet the needs of residents at a reasonable cost, they promote fitness.

The $1000 gift could grow. The Bradford Soccer Club can apply to Ottawa for matching funds – and could win another $1000, through the BWGDCF’s new “Lesson in Giving” competition in the schools.

The idea is that over the course of a month, school kids will be challenged to think of a cause that deserves the $1000 gift. They will be asked to vote online, at www  – choosing a favourite  charity or organization from the list provided by the Foundation, or suggesting an organization not on the list.

Organizations like The Helping Hand Food Bank, BWG Community Meal, The Hub youth centre, Arts groups, Wishing Well animal sanctuary – and the Bradford Soccer Club.

Not only will the kids choose which not-for-profit gets the $1000, through their votes, the school that has the highest percentage turnout in its voting will receive $500 from the BWGDCF for their own projects.

For more information on future event,
please click here to e-mail us or call 905-775-6460
Call it a “lesson in giving…” Photo by By Bradford Times photo by By Bradford Times Staff

March 22, 2017 BWG & District Community Foundation wants to give away $1000 – clockwise from lower right, Bob Evans, Doug Osborne, Councillor Gary Baynes, Hernan Burgos, Jim MacGregor, and Albert Wierenga – in Bradford. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

The BWGDCF is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization that has one goal: to build a foundation, through donations, gifts and bequests, that will provide a sustainable source of grants to the community – to charities, sports groups, school projects, and other activities in BWG.

Now it’s planning to reach out to schools, in both the Public and Catholic School system, and ask the kids: Who would you give $1000?

The idea is that over the course of a month, school kids will be asked to vote online, at – choosing a favourite deserving charity or organization from the list provided by the Foundation, or suggesting a charity not on the list.

The Helping Hand Food Bank. The Community Meal. Community Gardens. The Hub youth centre. Sports groups. Arts groups. The Wishing Well animal sanctuary. Southlake Regional Health Centre. Anywhere that the money could be used to build a better, more vibrant community.

“Instead of us thinking who we should give the money to, we get the schools involved,” says Hernan Burgos. “The idea is to get the children talking to their parents about this. It’s a lesson in giving.”

It’s also a competition. Not only will the kids select which not-for-profit gets the $1000, the school that has the highest percentage turnout in its voting will receive $500 for their own projects.

Right now, the Community Foundation is contacting the School Boards for permission to bring the “lesson in giving” to the schools. The hope is to hold the first competition in May.

Events in 2016
Recently the Community Foundation of Bradford West Gwillimbury and District made a $1000 donation to enhance the education provided by EPIC (Enterprise Promotion & Investment Centre) in Bond Head. The monies donated by the Community Foundation was originally made available by Mr. Doug Osborne, a local philanthropist and a Director at the Community Foundation.

For further information about EPIC let me quote the Bradford Times from August 2016: “The former Bond Head public school at 4208 County Rd. 88 has been leased from the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury by Human Endeavour for its new Hub, to provide a venue for hands-on training in the Trades, Soft Skills and Computers, as well as an introduction to social entrepreneurship, student placements, Community Building, and access to community services (computers, printers, fax)”.

The Community Foundation elicits and raises monies from donations, endowments, life insurance, stocks, bonds, etc. (for a tax receipt) to reinvest said monies into our local community as the donors direct. We can be reached at 905 775 6460 or via Email at

We are looking forward to a very constructive 2017 in our community of Bradford West Gwillimbury.

Rooted in the Community – Awareness of Fraud and Fraudulent Practices
Monday May 30, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Bradford Public Library in the Zima Room
Speakers: Detective Constable Ivan Coulter, South-Simcoe Police Cindy Lindsay, Director, Community Foundations Canada

Come and Enjoy: Art, Music, Refreshments, Silent Auction, Door Prizes, Friends and Neighbours

Events in 2014

Rooted in Community – ANATOMY OF LIFE PLANNING”
By Miriam King, Bradford Times
Thursday, April 10, 2014 9:35:27 EDT AM – Photo: Painting donated by artist Pauline Holancin
The Bradford West Gwillimbury & District Community Foundation is building an endowment – a foundational pool of money, gathered through bequests, donations and fundraising – that will be available in the long term, to support community projects and charities.

The Rooted in Community event, Anatomy of Life Planning, held at the Bradford Public Library on March 31, was a fundraiser for the Community Foundation – and much more.

It was an opportunity to learn more about retirement and life planning from three. qualified guest speakers – Tami Kitay, Senior Planner with the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury; Kevin Shackleton, author and investment advisor with RBC Dominion Securities; and Lawyer Roy Gordon – win door prizes, enjoy live music and refreshments, and bid on wonderful works of art, donated by local artists.

Mikki Nanowski, who organized the Silent Auction of artworks, was also one of the artists who donated a painting. She noted that retirement is “not just financial. There’s another part of retirement. Like, what are we going to do with our time?”

Nanowski encouraged those nearing retirement age to take up art, or at least art collecting. “I encourage you to support artists, and buy art. You will have a sense of accomplishment.”

Events in 2013

Rooted in Community – “Heart Beat – Let’s Talk Heart to Heart”
The Bradford West Gwillimbury Community Foundation would to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make the “Rooted in Community” fundraising event entitled “Heart Beat – Let’s Talk Heart to Heart” a resounding success.
As guests arrived, their hearts were warmed with music played by Hannah Jackson on cello, and Elisabeth Jackson on flute. We appreciate your talents. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to Dr. Remo Zadra, who has just been named Chief of Staff in the Cardiology Department at Southlake Health Centre, for sharing his in-depth knowledge about the human heart, and to Dr. Allan Foster for enlightening us about folklore heart stories dating back to Egyptian times.

The Silent Auction featured Georgian College Art Students, who generously donated works of art from their year-end scholarship exhibition. Heartfelt thanks to Karen Dobbs, Ashley Garcia, Joanne Lomas, and Libby Mourant. Ted Fullerton, Director of Georgian College’s School of Design and Visual Arts, has a heart of gold, and transported the art pieces to us in Bradford. Thank you, Ted. Our own local artists also big-heartedly donated pieces of their works. Thank you to Richardis Bianchi, Meade Helman, George Holancin, Ingrid Schienke, and Stella Wadsworth. Linda’s Flowers won our hearts with a donation of a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers.
Out of the goodness of her heart, Miriam King donated a gift basket to the auction, and publicized our event in the “Bradford Times”. We enjoyed refreshments provided by Rosa’s Culinary Delights and Tim Horton’s.

We thank everyone who supported our event, and purchased a piece of local art. Keep your heart strong, until we meet again. Thank you for being Rooted in Community

The Bradford West Gwillimbury & District Community Foundation found a special way to say “Thank you” to both the Town and developer Brookfield Homes, for their ongoing support. The Foundation purchased a 12’-14’ tall red maple form Beveridge Tree Farm, that was planted in Kuzmich Memorial Park beside the new splashpad play area Since coming to Bradford in 2005-2006, Brookfield and its Grand Central subdivision have been building a new community, and have supported the Foundation, its legacy-building and endowments. The BWFDCF was established to provide ongoing financial support to projects and organizations within the municipality.
Bradford Times –Miriam King May 9, 2013 PHOTO: Painting donated by artist Libby Mourant
Events in 2011

Our first event in 2011 ‘Rooted in Community’, featured Ron Ellis Sharing stories his experiences in this area, as well as his adventures as a well-known hockey player. He talked on his experience on Team Canada in 1972 and that famous Canadian-Russian series. Ellis also answered questions from the audience and signed autographs to support the Bradford West Gwillimbury and District Community Foundation. George Holancin, and his sisters, Johanna (Holancin) Meharg and Pauline Holancin, donated original artwork to the silent auction. George’s heron sculpture, his sisters’ paintings, and other items such as a hockey jersey autographed by Brendan Shanahan made this a successful fundraising evening. Click to view article, Rooted in the Community

Our second event, Rooted in Community” Health Care Support – Are you Ready? Was equally successful. We had representatives from South Lake Regional Health Center, Community Care Access Center, St. Elizabeth Health Care, Community & Home Assistance to Seniors, and Specialty Care – Bradford Valley who presented information on providing and receiving health care support in our community. Local artists of the BWG Studio Tour donated their artwork for the silent action. Click to view article, Health and Art, in the Community

In June the Bradford West Gwillimbury and District Community Foundation and Benjamin Moore & Co. announced $3,000 in cash grants and $750 in donated Benjamin Moore paint for the project to restore the Scanlon House in the Scanlon Creek Conservation area.

Click to view article, Scanlon House being restored

The Community Foundations of Simcoe County announced exciting news this year. They sponsored a video contest entitled: “What does a strong community mean to you?” Residents throughout Simcoe County were asked to create a 60 second video in response to the question. A video from each of the four community foundation areas (Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Huronia, and Orillia) was chosen. The winner from our area chose the Helping Hand Food Bank as the charity to receive the prize money of $500. He also received the opportunity to create a promotional video. Click to view article, Bradford winner of ‘Strong Communities, Strong Future’

Events in 2010

Professional Advisors’ Seminar – May 19, 2010

This seminar is designed to help professional advisors assist their clients with charitable giving. Sweeping changes are affecting the world of philanthropy. The dramatic growth of new wealth, the desire of individuals to be more involved with their charitable giving, the increasing diversity of potential donors and the intergenerational transfer of wealth are just a few factors influencing this change