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Grief and bereavement non-profits headline recipients of pandemic recovery funding

Since its inception in 2015, the Near North Palliative Care Network has seen its yearly client list grow from 250 to 5,000
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The Serenity Hospice and the Near North Palliative Care Network were among 11 organizations to receive Resilient Communities Fund grants.

Two local organizations that have spent the past two years overcoming various obstacles as they continue to support their clients and families as they say their final goodbyes are among 11 organizations sharing nearly $1 million in Resilient Communities Fund grants from the provincial government as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Executive Director of the Near North Palliative Care Network, Monica Do Coutto Monni thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for the $132,500 grant that will allow the organization to hire three additional staff for one year. As baby boomers are growing older and living longer in numbers not seen in human history, palliative care agencies like the Near North Palliative Care Network are seeing dramatic increases in their client lists. According to Do Coutto Monni, since its inception in 2015, the organization has seen its yearly client list grow from 250 to 5,000 with the same staffing level of two.

"We received a flood of referrals, people asking for our help," in recent years says Do Coutto Monni, adding the organization is offering free training to community members to help ease the case load, even with the funding for additional staff. "We did what we could for two years of the pandemic but we need the support of the whole population to help us go to your home and give respite to the caregiver that is exhausted so they can go sleep and rest for a little while. We stay, as a peaceful presence to give safety and support to the client that is dying and when the [time] comes, we are here to give individual or group grief sessions," by any means of communication available.

Thanks to the funding, the Near North Palliative Care Network will be able to "sustain the same number of clients served in 2022-23. This translates into around 5,000 individuals in Northern Ontario who will have an end of life or grief journey completely changed for the better, with the support of our volunteers and increased staff," she says.

Another local organization supporting community members and families in their final days receives $109,800 to develop and implement a "robust and comprehensive grief and bereavement support program to assist our residents and their loved ones through their end-of-life journeys and beyond," according to Serenity Hospice Executive Director Gil Pharand.

"On behalf of our Board of Directors, our staff, our volunteers and the communities that we serve, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Government for the funding provided through the Resilient Communities Fund. Nipissing Serenity Hospice opened its doors in January 2020, just before a worldwide pandemic was declared," observes Pharand. "Many of our plans were slowed or halted due to COVID-19. Grief and bereavement supports are just one of these areas. The very generous funding provided will allow us to bring these plans to life and support the Nipissing and East Parry Sound districts."

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli made the funding announcement, designed to help non-profits deliver vital services to create a stronger Ontario, Wednesday.

"Non-profit organizations are a crucial and valued part of any community, especially here in Nipissing. Countless people rely on their services every
day, and even facing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, they still deliver. This funding will help them offset those impacts and continue supporting those who need it most."

The 11 local organizations listed below are sharing $921,300 from the Resilient Communities Fund to help them offset the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic so they can deliver the best service possible for the people of Nipissing and create a stronger Ontario:

  • $150,000 for Hands the Family Help Network
  • $132,500 for the Near North Palliative Care Network
  • $117,300 for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 455 Callander
  • $109,800 for Serenity Hospice
  • $91,900 for the Elite Alpine Ski Cross
  • $90,900 for the Northern Ontario Curling Association
  • $79,000 for the Municipality of East Ferris
  • $72,300 for Laurentian Ski Hill
  • $57,000 for the Near North Trails Association
  • $13,900 for the Discovery Routes Trails Organization
  • $6,700 for the Municipality of Powassan CEO Andrea Roberts also expresses gratitude for the $150,000 grant. "At Hands, we take our role as an essential service provider very seriously, and the needs of our clients and families are at the core of everything we do. With this funding, Hands will ensure we are able to maintain in-person service that is effective and safe for our clients and employees, and we will strengthen and enhance our IT strategies to continue to provide highly effective virtual service for our clients."

The Resilient Communities Fund provides grants of up to $150,000 to eligible non-profit organizations to cover a broad and flexible range of needs, such as:

  • Mental and physical health and well-being supports for staff or volunteers.
  • Support to adapt or re-imagine program delivery and services to meet the needs of communities, employees and volunteers, incorporate new health and safety processes, or purchase new technology and personal protective equipment.
  • Renovations and facility updates to meet the changing needs of the communities they serve.

“We are so thankful for receiving the Trillium grant, says the President of the Royal Canadian Legion in Callander, Marc Picard. This grant will assist the Callander Legion in continuing to support our veterans and their families with significant repairs and renovations of our kitchen and banquet facilities. It will also assist us in supplying new first aid kits and sporting equipment."

The Resilient Communities Fund is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation — an agency of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries — and has supported 2,191 projects across Ontario since it was announced in August 2020.