AMHERSTBURG — The Amherstburg Community Foundation has a completely new board of directors, an ambitious leader in Richard Peddie and a bold vision for the town’s future.
The official launch of the revamped ACF Wednesday at the Libro Centre will be more like a rocket takeoff than a slow-departing steamship.
Peddie, the retired president of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, has assembled a nine-member board of local business leaders who have kickstarted the group’s fundraising efforts by collectively committing $150,000 to community initiatives over the next three years.
In addition, the ACF will actively seek out another $211,000 to support four initiatives to be unveiled at the 6:30 p.m. launch.
The ACF is seeking $39,000 to allow the Amherstburg Freedom Museum to establish a youth mentorship program and a speaker series. The foundation will look to raise $40,000 for an Amherstburg Carnegie Library upgrade that would include murals, comfortable seating, new books and an expanded computer area.
The foundation is aiming for $75,000 to help the Essex Region Conservation Authority build a four-kilometre walking trail at Holiday Beach and they’ve targeted $55,000 for amenities for both seniors and children at Beaudoin Park.
“This is a great community but, boy, is there so much upside,” said Peddie, who serves as the ACF president.
The foundation’s mission statement is to “help make Amherstburg the best small town in Ontario to live, to visit and to enjoy, as judged by its economy, quality of life, environment and inclusiveness.”
Peddie said the board considered eight potential initiatives before selecting the four inaugural projects.
“We want to do things that are healthy,” Peddie said. “We want to do things that are inspiring and inclusive.”
Peddie said he was approached by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo in the winter to take the lead in revamping a foundation that had basically fallen dormant.
“When Richard Peddie calls you, your ears perk up,” said local insurance broker Chris Gibb, who serves as the board’s vice-president. “He’s definitely got star power and he’s a guy that’s used to getting things done. As a business owner and a homeowner, I’m invested in this community and I want to do what I can to make it a better place.”
Updated: July 2, 2019