With an initial grant of $10,000, the Edith H Turner Foundation Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation helped cover transportation costs for a few Hamilton schools in low-income neighbourhoods. Those schools, which once represented just a small percentage of program attendees, account for over half of this year’s classes so far.
While $5 for a school bus trip may not seem like much to most of our readers, for many Hamilton families, there just isn’t room in the budget. This simple problem meant many of Hamilton’s public schools simply couldn’t afford the cost of a school bus to get to the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Education programs. While schools have their environmental field trip costs covered by the school board’s budget and donations to the Foundation, just getting enough money to book a school bus was a huge barrier.
In order to help solve this problem, the Foundation put a proposal together for the Edith H. Turner Foundation Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation. The Community Foundation was immediately receptive and provided an initial grant of $10,000 for the Foundation to reimburse schools with financial barriers for their transportation costs.
Five years later, the reimbursement program continues to receive funding from the Edith. H. Turner Foundation Fund. To date it has helped to connect over 10,000 students who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to spend a day in the Dundas Valley. For many of these students, this is their first real taste of the great outdoors.
Teachers clearly see the value in the reimbursement program too. Our 2017 program budget had already been spent by September. Donations are being put to work to bridge the gap and ensure every class who wants to visit the Dundas Valley gets a chance to do so.
The program is now such a success that so far this year, over 50% of kids taking part came from schools participating in the reimbursement program.