Fort Frances should know next month whether it will be crowned one of Ontario’s most caring communities.
The town was one of 26 communities to make the short list for the Trillium Foundation’s "Caring Communities Awards"--and eligible for a $10,000 prize.
And now the "Tomorrow" strategic planning committee is gearing up for a visit from members of the Caring Communities Awards advisory board and Trillium Foundation staff Aug. 13.
"This is exciting," enthused Bob Jeffrey of the "Tomorrow" committee, noting the fact the community was even considered was quite significant.
Jim Cumming, who chairs the "Tomorrow" committee, agreed being short-listed meant the town was doing a great deal to maintain and improve the well-being of everyone here.
"Even if the town doesn’t get the award, the fact that we have been recognized . . . indicates that we are involved in each others’ lives," he said.
"And it’s healthy."
The "Tomorrow" committee first found out about the new award after Cumming heard a presentation during the annual Ontario Community Newspapers Association convention in April in Toronto.
He brought the application back to the "Tomorrow" committee, which circulated it among various local interest groups.
"So all those groups got to look at it and give their input," Jeffrey explained.
The third draft application was submitted to the Trillium Foundation for consideration in mid-June. But while the "Tomorrow" committee put forward the application, Jeffrey stressed it was the community’s achievements--not the committee’s--that were being recognized.
In total, 167 communities met the Trillium Foundation’s criteria, with more sending in applications. Of those, five will be bestowed with the title of "caring community."
"And all will be considered equal," Cumming noted.
The criteria included:
osignificant and specific community achievements, especially in the face of limited resources and difficult circumstances;
ocreative and long-term use of peoples’ energy and skills;
orecognition and involvement in diverse segments (ethnic, racial, socio-economic, age, educational level, gender, disabled, etc.) in community decision-making; and
opotential to teach and inspire others.
The five winning communities also will outline how they managed to make things happen without government involvement, and that information will be made available to other communities across the province.
If Fort Frances does win, Jeffrey noted the $10,000 would go into the "Tomorrow" committee fund to continue supporting activities associated with it.
Jeffrey also noted Ear Falls was another Northwestern Ontario community up for the award.
"They’ve done some really neat stuff as well," he said.