Welcome Liz Lessif, Our New Chair

We invite all of Oxford County to welcome our new chairperson, Liz Lessif.

liz-lessif3As a resident of the Town of Tillsonburg for 38 years, Liz and husband John, along with their two sons, have enjoyed the quality of life offered in Oxford County. Liz had an active role in the family business along with giving back to the community as a volunteer.

Liz has had leadership roles with the Tillsonburg Hospital Auxiliary Association, and has been a board member of the Children’s Aid Society of Oxford as well as the Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre.  She has serves as a past President for the Tillsonburg Curling Club, the Tillsonburg Kinettes, St Mary’s Catholic Women’s League and was a member of the Ontario Trillium Grant Review Team.  These are just some examples of Liz’s commitment to her community.

Liz and John have an Endowment Fund with the Oxford Community Foundation, which supports children and youth initiatives throughout Oxford.  Liz has been an active Board member of OCF for 8 years and is proud to lead the Board as Chairperson.


Welcome Our New Summer Students

The Oxford Community Foundation is pleased to welcome our new summer students, Megan and Samantha. Megan and Samantha will be with us until August 25th working on Policy and Procedures as well as our Marketing and Communications. We are excited to see how their journey with OCF will play out over the coming weeks.

Megan Elliott – Policy and Procedures Analyst

Megan is our policy and procedures analyst for the summer. Megan will be with us from Monday July 18th to August 25th. She will be assisting the foundation with the organization of files, developing updated grant policies and fund development policies and will create an updated set of procedures for the foundation to follow. Megan brings with her an immense amount of experience working with people and not for profit organizations. She is known for her positive attitude and desire to help others. Megan is a student at Western University who is close to completing her undergraduate degree in social science. In the future, Megan hopes to go to law school and become a family lawyer. Throughout the summer, Megan hopes to learn more about the legal processes the foundation must follow and is eager to help the foundation reach their full potential by updating their measures when it comes to grant receiving and grant giving. Megan is looking forward to spending the summer with the foundation and is excited to be a part it’s initiatives.


Samantha Arts – Marketing and Communications Analyst

Samantha is our new Marketing and Communications Analyst. She is a recent graduate of the Business-Marketing program at Fanshawe College, and is excited to begin the Business Administrative Marketing program in September. She is looking to apply what she has learned at Fanshawe into a successful marketing plan and raise awareness of OCF and everything they do for the community in Oxford County. She will also help create a bi annual newsletter and develop a random acts of kindness event for later this year.

Introducing OCF’s New Executive Director!

Louise Wardrop, Executive DirectorThe Board of Directors of Oxford Community Foundation is pleased to announce that Louise Wardrop has accepted the position of Executive Director effectively immediately.

Louise has over 30 years’ experience in increasing senior roles in payments and banking.  Her career includes 14 years at MasterCard Canada, where most recently she worked as Vice-President of Account Management.

A life long volunteer, Louise’s current associations include the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Oxford, the Women & Wellness Committee supporting Walk-In Counselling Clinic Oxford and the Ingersoll & District Curling Club.

Louise grew up on a dairy farm in Oxford County and now makes her home in Woodstock with her husband Rick.

Board Chair Donald Woolcott says “Louise’s passion and proven background on non-profit boards and in business strategy planning and execution as well as relationship management will be a tremendous asset to the Oxford Community Foundation.”

The Oxford Community Foundation is part of a world-wide network of foundations whose objective is to help build stronger and more vibrant communities. We oversee endowment funds and based on our in-depth knowledge of Oxford communities and organization, distribute grants locally for most impact to specific fields of interest including arts and culture, children and youth, education, environment, health and wellness, recreation, seniors and social services.

Community Fund for Canada’s 150th

Canada’s sesquicentennial is an historic moment with the power to bring people and places together as we dream big about our communities and our country. In the spirit of this moment, the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th will activate a breathtaking array of ideas and activities that will bring out the best that Canada has to offer, now and for future generations.

The Community Fund for Canada’s 150th is a small grants program that will support community initiatives from coast to coast to coast. The Fund is a collaboration between Canada’s community foundations, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast.

The Fund is based on grassroots leadership, and will take on a local focus and timeline in each community. For more information on the involvement of Oxford Community Foundation in the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, contact Louise Wardrop, Executive Director at 519.539.7447 ext 229.


The Community Fund for Canada’s 150th is a collaborative effort, seeded by the Government of Canada and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast, and matched and delivered locally by Canada’s 191 community foundations.


Who can apply?

The Community Fund for Canada’s 150th is available to qualified donees operating within Canada, with the exception of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments; the United Nations, and the Crown.

Community groups and other actors are welcome to work with a qualified donee to make an application to the Fund. In the case of such a collaboration, the qualified donee would submit the application and act as a fiscal agent on behalf of the collaborating parties.

What kinds of projects are eligible for funding?

In collaboration with the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, Oxford Community Foundation will consider applications for grants of up to $2,000 from projects that meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Eligible projects must be based in Canada, and must work towards the Fund’s objectives, to:
    ENCOURAGE participation in community activities and events to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation;
    INSPIRE a deeper understanding about the people, places and events that shape our country and our communities; or
    BUILD vibrant and healthy communities with the broadest possible engagement of all Canadians, including indigenous peoples; groups that reflect our cultural diversity; youth; and official language minorities.
  2. Eligible projects are required to match the grant requested, through in-kind or cash contributions equal to the value of the grant.
    For example, an applicant that requests a $2,000 grant for a project would be required to come to the table with $2,000 worth of cash or in-kind support for their own project. Cash contributions may come from other funding sources; in-kind contributions may include volunteer hours or other resources that are not covered by the requested grant.
  3. Eligible projects must commit to performing funded activities and expenditures between the date that the grant is approved and before January 31,2018.

Please note that the following projects will be ineligible for funding:

  • Projects related to political activities or lobbying
  • Projects that are designed for fundraising  purposes
  • Projects deemed controversial, dismissive, or offensive
  • Ongoing activities, such as the publication of regular issues of newsletters, magazines and periodicals
  • Any activity taking place outside Canada
  • Projects that are funded in whole or in part by the Government of Canada

How do I apply?

Apply to the Community Foundation by clicking through the link below:


The information gathered through the application process will not be made public, and will be shared with community foundations and the Government of Canada exclusively for purposes related to the Fund.

For more information, please click here or contact Louise Wardrop, Executive Director at 519.539.7447 ext 229.






Happy Retirement!


As of our 13th Annual General Meeting on April 26 2016, we say goodbye to several members of the OCF Board of Directors as they complete their three year tenure with the foundation. OCF is lucky to have benefit from the wisdom, skills, networking, and passion of these individuals.

Rosemary George
Rosemary George

Rosemary George is one of the founding members of OCF, and helped to steer the course back in its humble beginnings over a decade ago. She has chaired the Fund Development Committee, provided some of the founding endowment funds and established the Brian & Rosemary George Cultural Fund along with her husband. A positive and active member of the community and philanthropist, OCF will sincerely miss her contribution to our monthly meetings.  We wish you the best, Rosemary, and hope to see you back at our table in the future.

Bill Semeniuk
Bill Semeniuk

Bill Semeniuk has been a prominent member of local politics for some time, having previously served as the Mayor of Zorra Township.  He was supportive of OCF from the outset, seeing the wisdom of a local community foundation and how it would serve the County’s interests.  Bill has served as the Chair of the Board of Directors, and was instrumental in ensuring that the Beaty Foundation funds (Cold Springs Farm), held in London, would be distributed amongst Oxford County, where W. Harvey Beaty resided.  Bill has always had a finger on the pulse of what his community needs, and we are sure that he will continue to advocate for Oxford County in the future.

Jim Pickard 2
Jim Pickard

Jim Pickard boasts an impressive resume including South-West Oxford Ward 5 councillor, director of the Rural Oxford Economic Development committee, and Chair of the Energy Conservation committee.  He also received the 2014 ERTH award for energy conservation, and the 2013 OPA Community Conservation award.  Jim has made time in his busy schedule, not only to serve on the OCF Board of Directors, but to Chair the Investment Committee and has overseen the annual Wardens Golf Fundraiser for the last few years.  With his keen understanding of numbers, he has helped to ensure that OCF has seen growth that has allowed us to benefit our community with grants and scholarships.  We are grateful to Jim for sharing his knowledge and expertise over the years.

Tanya Murray

Tanya Murray is currently self-employed as a licensed paralegal, and also boasts an extensive background in marketing, communications, and management.  She previously served as Chair of Oxford Community Foundation, elected in 2009, and has chaired the Media and Marketing Committee.  In her roles, Tanya helped to get a website off the ground and to grow our visibility in the community.  Tanya has also volunteered her time serving on additional community boards, such as the Oxford Provincial PC Association and Oxford Creative Connections.  Thank you for your service, Tanya!

Mary Anne Silverthorn

Mary Anne Silverthorn is a retired elementary teacher who has not slowed down in retirement.  She has served on the Oxford Community Police Services Board, the Woodstock Police Services Board, the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, and the Board of local women’s crisis centre, just to name a few. She is an executive member of the Retired Teachers of Ontario, has completed two terms as a City appointee to the local Art Gallery Advisory committee, and is active with the United Church of Canada. A philanthropist through and through, she also supports many local charities, and has been a true asset as a board member of OCF, chairing the Grants Committee.  Mary Anne was the 2012 recipient of the Wes Magill award, and the 2014 recipient of the AppreSHEation Award given on International Women’s Day.  OCF has been lucky to have had her serve with us!

Oxford Community Foundation would not be what it is today without the generous gift of time and energy from volunteer board members.  We have benefit directly from the unique gifts and skills of each of our members, and we are thankful for their service.

New Executive Director

1863f65The Oxford Community Foundation is pleased to announce that Ron Cougler has been hired as the new Executive Director of the Oxford Community Foundation. Ron and his family have lived and worked in Oxford County for 40 years and he has family roots on his wife Elaine’s side that go back generations. Ron’s varied background include an HBA degree from the Ivey at Western University, a CMA degree, a 30-year career teaching high school students, as well as a 10-year career as a software consultant and documentation specialist.  He has served on many community boards, and has been active in several local organizations–the Southwest Ontario Tourism Board, the Lions Club, the Cancer Society, the United Church of Canada, CCAC and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation.

Ron is looking forward to working with the committed, volunteer OCF Board, helping to increase the visibility of the Oxford Community Foundation, to maintain its operational sustainability, to encourage endowment programs, and to increase the grant and leadership activities.

Habitat for Humanity Ingersoll Build Complete

The ribbon was officially cut for the Habitat for Humanity Ingersoll Build on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.  The Sweeney family received the keys to their new home and will move in tomorrow.

Read more HERE.

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