friends of dufferin grove park
The G. H. Wood Foundation

Our new Zamboni Kitchen

Thanks to the G. H. Wood Foundation for contributing $8,000 to make this happen.

On this page:

Some History

The Geoffrey H.Wood Foundation was started by the late Geoffrey and Edith Wood in 1987. In January 2004 the foundation published new funding guidelines (which will apply for the next 5 years): they intend to use at least 55% of their annual grant budget on the elderly, single mothers, and disadvantaged children and youth. This part of the funding is by invitation only and it will be multi-year grants totalling up to $1 million. Up to another 10% will go to students from several Toronto high schools for post-secondary eduation scholarships. Up to another 10% will go to hospitals, again by invitation only. The balance will go to smaller community projects, like ours.

Their application deadline is April 1 for board consideration in May, and October 1 for board consideration in December. Their phone number is 416 234-0240, and their address is:

300 The East Mall, Suite 301, Etobicoke ON M9B 6B7.

The foundation's executive director, John Broley, has visited Dufferin Grove Park two or three times. He has a hands-on style that is much more personal than the bigger foundations -- he wants to come out to see things for himself, not just read an application, and he encourages you to say what you're actually doing (rather than asking you to twist yourself into a pretzel to describe the 57 elements that fit what the foundation guidelines say you're supposed to be doing). He seems to like "priming the pump" -- for instance, on one of his walks around the park he talked to some city workers who were willing to build an overhang for the field house, to extend the sheltered space where park arts activities could take place. The workers said they could do the construction but that there was no money for materials. Mr.Broley said: "We'll give you $750 for materials if the city will let you go ahead and build the shelter."

This shelter had been talked about for 5 years, but there was never anything to show for the talk. The offer of materials money tipped the balance -- the city manager agreed to let the city carpenters do the labour, and within a few weeks the new shelter was real. (Once the overhang was there to offer protection from the weather, it was an artists' workshop by day, a sun-or-rain shelter for soccer parents in the evening, a place for youth to socialize until the wee hours, and a roof for the odd homeless person for the balance of the night -- troublesome sometimes, but a great resource for many different people.)

The most recent "priming of the pump" was the foundation's $8000 donation toward our kitchen -- conditional on the city pitching in with the balance through their food and hunger action grants. Again, it worked.

Excerpts about the GH Wood Foundation from Dufferin Grove park newsletters
[April-May 2003] GRANTS FOR THE PARK:

A book grant: A few years back, Jutta Mason decided to retire from applying for any grants for park activities, because she didn't want to twist what happens here in the park into a pretzel for the funding applications anymore. However this is the year of exceptions. A visit last fall from Sandy Houston of the Metcalf Foundation resulted in a conversation about writing a book, about this park and about parks in general. The conversation was brokered by John Broley of the G.H.Wood Foundation (remember the roller towel dispensers in public washrooms that had the slogan: "G.H.Wood, Sanitation for the Nation"?). John Broley has been a steadfast friend to the park for a number of years, and he thought the Metcalf Foundation might be interested in what goes on here. He was right: they have just given us a grant to research and write our book. This means that most of the laid-off rink staff from the winter are now busy researching the history of Toronto parks, at the city archives. They're coming up with lots of good stories and pictures. (The point of the book is not just a good-old-days story-telling, but also an inquiry into what our parks were meant to be, and what can be done to keep them being that way).

[More material pending]