For several years now there have been approaches made to the Band by various cottage owner associations with offers of financial assistance to address a number of issues like better signage or spraying invasive Phragmites reed grass. The Band has declined all offers, probably in the interest of keeping some separation between cottager interests and the Band’s operational imperatives.
Over a year ago the SCOI Directors set out to investigate other ways we could ‘give back’.
- Most cottage owners’ associations have surplus funds that could be invested to create a legacy gift for the Band, by investing the funds as an endowment.
- We wanted to find a project that addressed a pressing need in the community.
- We wanted the project to help build and add value to the community.
- But most importantly we wanted the project to invest in the people of the community.
- Only 2% of Saugeen First Nation students graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
- Almost half of the children graduating from public school do not make it to grade 12.
- Students are more likely to go to jail than to graduate from high school.
- By grade 10, at-risk students start to withdraw and eventually quit school altogether.
- This year (2015) 47 Saugeen First Nation students registered at Saugeen District High School in September.
- 26 remained enrolled by June. Nine of these are positioned to graduate with an OSSD (high school diploma).
- By the time they reach 25 to 30 years old there are a number who realize that they need more education if they are to improve their lives. Not having an OSSD shuts them out of all skilled trades and college.
The Barrier to Pursing a Trade
- Most apprenticeship and high-skilled trades require an academic Grade 12 or an Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) certificate with technical Math, English and Sciences.
- For those who did not complete their OSSD, there is a free ACE program for adult learners offered at Georgian College in Owen Sound. Students are required to purchase their own books, transportation and meals/accommodations if required. If they have no car, there is no public transit.
- In order to attend the ACE Program, a Saugeen First Nations student would first have to obtain a GED (Grade 10 diploma). Many students who attend GED and ACE can access general welfare assistance while taking GED and ACE. The maximum amount of living allowance under General Welfare is $676.00 per month for a single person, covering shelter, food and utilities.
- General welfare assistance will not pay for books, travel or parking. There is no program that will pay for those expenses.
- The Post-Secondary Assistance Program will not fund any program that is less than eight months in duration. Most ACE courses are less than eight months in duration.
There is considerable hope for these young adults who have matured to the point where they have become passionate about and committed to furthering their education, but unfortunately they continue to face what, for them, is a significant and frustrating barrier to achieving their goal. And there are no funds available to help them.
- The SCOI Directors are proposing to create an endowment with the Community Foundation Grey Bruce. Funds would be managed in-perpetuity by the Foundation.
- Annually, a small amount of the earnings from this investment would be returned to the endowment fund for inflation protection so that the relative value of the fund would remain the same over time.
- The remainder of the earnings would be made available annually as bursaries to assist Saugeen First Nation students attending the ACE program to cover expenses for books, meals, transportation and parking – expenses that cannot be recovered by other means.
The SCOI Directors have asked each cottage owners’ association to contribute to the fund. All 5 associations at their 2015 AGMs committed the following:
SCOI $30,000 Chief’s Point $4,000 South Sauble $15,000 French Bay $10,000
($5,000 plus $1,000/yr for 5 years)
Block B $5,000
($1,000/yr for 5 years)
The Community Foundation Grey Bruce has offered to match the Cottagers’ contributions with $30,000.
SCOI’s goal to esrablish the endowed fund with at least $100,00 in capiatal.
The Fund be called The Saugeen Cottagers’ Endowment Fund and the bursaries be known as The Saugeen Cottage Owners’ Bursaries.
Annually the Foundation will report to SCOI on how the endowed funds have performed in the previous year, how much is being reinvested to inflation protect the capital, and how much is available for disbursement as bursaries.
A Selection Committee comprised of the President of SCOI, The Saugeen First Nations Band Chief, The Band’s Director of Education, and a Band Elder will review applications annually.
Candidates must be:
- members of the Saugeen First Nation,
- residents of the Saugeen First Nation Reserve,
- accepted into or already enrolled in the ACE program
- demonstrate financial need to cover the cost of transportation, parking, and books plus accommodation/meals when required (ie when snow bound in Owen Sound).
- And must maintain a passing grade to continue to be eleigible.
Making a Gift
Individuals and families are also encouraged to contribute to the fund. Personal donations should be made directly to the Community Foundation Grey Bruce so a tax receipt can be issued.
On-line donations can be made by clicking here.
Cheques should made out and mailed to:
The Community Foundation Grey Bruce
P.O. Box 81 Owen Sound, ON N4K 5P1
Be sure to write ‘Saugeen Cottagers Endowment Fund’ on the memo line.
Gifts of securities, please click here.