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Charitable status boosts group’s efforts

Mehreen Shahid

By Mehreen Shahid, Special to the Packet & Times

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES
The Huronia Cultural Campus Foundation (HCCF) has achieved charitable status and is now able to give tax receipts to donors. Fred Larsen, chair of HCCF, is pictured in front of part of the 175-acre open land designated as surplus by the province.

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES The Huronia Cultural Campus Foundation (HCCF) has achieved charitable status and is now able to give tax receipts to donors. Fred Larsen, chair of HCCF, is pictured in front of part of the 175-acre open land designated as surplus by the province.

The Huronia Cultural Campus Foundation (HCCF) hopes to move forward with fundraising, having now attained charitable status.

“As a result of this application having won approval, we can set up donation processes whereby people can make contributions to the effort we’re putting into it,” said HCCF chair Fred Larsen.

“We’ve been delighted by the support we’ve had from the community and, in particular, from the city,” he said. “We would like to have that support materialize to some financial support from people who want to see us move forward.”

Larsen said the board is exploring ways of making available a variety of options for people who want to donate – for example, property purchase, festival preparations or setting up educational facilities.

The charitable status allows the HCCF to issue tax receipts, probably in the neighbourhood of 30% of a donation, added Larsen.

“I think that will encourage people to come forward just as we go forward and clearly identify what those donations will be used for,” he said, referring to the upcoming business plan the city has been asking to see since last year.

“We are working on putting together the business plan the city has asked us,” said Larsen. “We’re all waiting, to some degree, on the consultation the province began around the property.”

He hopes the online survey by the province on the consultation on the future of the Huronia Regional Campus Land and will be available by the end of this month, following which public consultations can begin. More information on that can be obtained at ontario.ca/page/consultation-future-huronia-regional-campus-land.

The city has already given the HCCF $50,000, over two years. No money has been allocated for 2017, said Coun. Sarah Valiquette-Thompson.

“I think it’s a huge step in the right direction for that group,” she said. “I’m happy to hear that they can now issue tax receipts. I think that’s huge for getting donors and sponsors to give them funding for their project.”

The Ward 1 councillor said she will be seeking an update from staff on the latest correspondence between the city and the HCCF and if they are lined up to appear at a council meeting in the coming months.

Like the HCCF, council is also awaiting a move by the province, which, according to Larsen, has already designated 175 acres of vacant land on the property as surplus.

“It’s a pretty big swath of property, and we would be delighted to, probably in partnership with the city, move forward to develop that land,” he said.

In efforts to bring the project to the public’s attention, Larsen said, the organization will now be planning another cultural festival, following the pattern of the one held last year at Lakehead University.

With 100 artists and 500 participants in attendance, he dubbed it a success.

“We ended up making a bit of money on it, covering all our costs,” Larsen said. “That was a concern as it was a first-time festival for us. We were (also) able to realize a small profit and were able to use that to maintain our ongoing operations and afford the cost of the legal advice on the charitable status application.”

The HCCF looks forward to the development of cultural activities that would enrich the community, as well as increase tourism in this area, Larsen said, adding updates will be provided at huroniaculturalcampus.ca.

mshahid@postmedia.com

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