After nearly three years at the helm of the Community Foundation for Lennox and Addington, executive director Tom Derreck has resigned to pursue other opportunities.
The retired city manager and advisor to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing came to the organization with a simple mandate to the get word out and grow the foundation’s assets. In his time, Derreck saw the foundation’s endowed portfolio grow from $3.4 million to close to $4 million.
“I’ve accomplished what I came to the foundation to do. The job has suited me well. Great enjoyment. New learnings. Personal satisfaction. A quick and deep immersion into Napanee-area living and needs,” Derreck said in a release. “But, new opportunities have beckoned my interest and energies, one of them being a run at the council seat for Ward 4.”
The foundation’s board chair Tom Da Silva said Derreck “has left a hole in the organization and we wish him all the best.” According to Da Silva, Derreck contributed what the board was hoping he would in the way he steered promotions and increased the endowment funds.
“In Oct. 2016, we had an event out at Selby where we invited business leaders, politicians, community leaders and donors to give their opinion on how we get things going better. Tom was a driving force of that,” Da Silva recalled. He added one of the main developments arising from that process was name change and a move from Napanee-centric branding to a county-wide approach.
“It definitely is an advantage for us. There was a perception that we were just for the town of Napanee. We’ve given grants on Amherst Island and one of the funds is the Mazinaw Fund, up north. It more truly represents our territory that we’re trying to influence. The name change was critical.”
Da Silva added, on Derreck’s watch, the foundation opened four or five new funds adding to a base that started in 1987 with a $100,000 donation from the estate of Edgar Creighton Hogarth. The 31 funds are pooled and invested, generating interest to support grants, scholarships, and bursaries. Last year alone, the foundation distributed $127,700 in awards through its various funds.
According to Da Silva, the foundation is looking to hire a new executive director whose primary objective will be growing those funds. That person may also be involved in a new Vital Signs report — a process driven through the Community Foundations of Canada that would leverage local knowledge to guide collective action in a way that best addresses need.
The local foundation last participated in the initiative in 2015 with a report that focused on Greater Napanee. Da Silva said there have been preliminary talks about creating a report in 2019 that encompasses the entire county, but further discussion is expected at the board level.
Da Silva says the board is in the process of finalizing a job description and, given the foundation only has two employees, it is hoping to hire as soon as possible.
“If it’s by Christmas it would be ideal, but we’re looking for the right person,” he said.