Town donates endowment funds to Rotary bursary. ETCHED. The first funds given out from the Terence Haight bequest to the Town of Gravenhurst were passed on to the Rotary Club’s Community Bursary Endowment Fund July 30. From left to right at the presentation were council members Lola Bratty, Joe Donoghue, Rosemary King, Jeff Watson, Mayor Paisley Donaldson, endowment fund chair Ken Little and Rotary Club president Steve Hayhurst. (Photo by Neil Etienne) Neil Etienne
GRAVENHURST – The late Terence Haight would likely be proud.
The first of the late resident’s $1-million-plus donation to the Town of Gravenhurst is in the recipient’s hands, as council members joined with local Rotary members at the Opera House July 30.
Mayor Paisley Donaldson, surrounded by fellow members of council handed $100,000 to the Rotary Club and more specifically, the club’s Community Bursary Endowment Fund, representing the first of the approximately $1.4 million gift to be doled out.
“We were all very blessed to have this money left to us and we (council) wanted to make sure we use the money in good ways for the community,” Mayor Donaldson said to a gleeful Rotary membership.
“This is one way we wanted to do that and keep in mind, it (the donation) is on behalf of the Town of Gravenhurst to the very citizens of Gravenhurst.”
She added with the Rotary Club’s cooperation, Haight’s name shall live on through this one donation alone, as a separate fund will be created in his name.
“This was something we felt would help Mr. Haight’s legacy live on,” Donaldson said.
Ken Little, the endowment fund committee’s chair, said he was incredibly pleased the Rotary’s community project, started only a little less than two years ago, had captured the town’s eye.
“We feel that this (donation) is certainly in keeping with his intentions and it will be a lasting legacy in perpetuity in his name,” Little said. “I just can’t tell you how important things like this are and I can’t tell you how much this means to the community structure itself.”
The endowment fund helps local prospective students achieve their academic dreams by supporting tuition payments. When the bursary began, the club dedicated $50,000 to its establishment, and since then it has grown in leaps and bounds. A second donation revealed that day by Little for $10,000 (please see story below) was yet another boost.
In April of this year an anonymous donor handed the club a $200,000 endowment, with the catch that is must be matched by the community. Any funds not matched would have to be given back. The town’s injection of $100,000 takes a massive hunk out of that goal, leaving approximately $54,000-$55,000 left to amass before the start of April 2013.
The town’s donation to the project comes from residual Terence Haight funds above the $1 million mark. The injection was approved by council in mid-June and will be covered by interest gained on the funds over the past year, the approximately $35,000 above the million-dollar mark of the bequest and additional funds that are expected to come to the town coffers once Haight’s estate is settled.
Council is leaving its debate about how the bulk of the $1 million will be used for a later date this fall