A FOUNDATION BIG IDEAS
The Foundation of Greater Montreal is committed
Right from the start, Yvan Gauthier, President and CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montreal (FGM) says what he’s all about: “We want to engage the community in various issues that concern Greater Montreal, whether financially or through neighbourhood action.” A man of conviction and commitment, he began leading the FGM, a charitable organization dedicated to numerous innovative projects in the greater metropolitan area, back in 2013. Since its founding in 1999, the FGM has created and managed endowment funds. These funds are directly financed by private investors in order to redistribute revenue in a manner that supports charitable work. These are projects that have a real impact on the social and economic vitality of the metropolitan area. An ardent supporter of philanthropic efforts, which are “a real boon to societal well-being,” Gauthier underlines that “it’s the community who invests 100% in the challenges that it faces. At the Foundation, we are the mediator between philanthropy and society’s needs.” To this day, FGM has distributed more than $28 million in grants to more than 1,000 charitable organizations in Greater Montreal, working in various domains such as health, the environment, social development, education, and arts and culture. “We are not only a platform for managing funds, we are also involved in the community and we want to have a social impact,” he asserts.
Challenges for 2017
Under the auspices of Community Foundations of Canada, the FGM publishes Vital Signs each year, a summary of the health and vitality of communities within Greater Montreal, examining various demographic, social and economic indicators, to name a few. The publication allows the FGM to point out some of the most important issues and challenges to address, which has led them to see what’s at stake in 2017. “We want to really push the cause of children in Greater Montreal,” says Gauthier. “Scholarly achievement is something we are particularly drawn to. Our upcoming efforts will also be in the areas of homelessness, poverty, mental health and domestic violence. We want to support neighbourhood projects and help increase the desire of our donors to instigate change. We want to take stock, of course, but we also want to be a part of the solution!”
Big social projects
In 2017, the FGM plans to invest $1.6 million to support 71 inspiring projects in 20 target areas within Greater Montreal. Several of these initiatives will also be supported thanks to a $350,000 contribution from the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, in collaboration with Community Foundations of Canada. Here are several of them:
• Le Vélo Paradiso — With the support of Wapikoni and Musique Nomade, Vélo Paradiso is a cultural and musical project that joins together rising First Nations artists who come from a diverse, urban background. Five duos formed by indigenous artists from Montreal will create five musical works and also make video clips inspired by their neighbourhoods. Young ambassadors will promote their work by riding the streets on ingenious delivery tricycles that are equipped with everything necessary for a pop-up dance party!
• Fab Lab mobile — Created at MIT in the early 2000s, Fab Lab aims to promote science and stimulate adolescents’ interest in emerging technologies. Available in seven of the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys's schools, it is made up of more than twenty programmable machine tools that allow students to create various entertaining or scientific objects, from iPhone holders to architectural structures.
• Mémoires vives — The Health Arts Society is offering a project inspired by the situation of older people deprived of their autonomy. It aims to gather memories from the residents of convalescent homes, as well as long-term and palliative care facilities, in order to create a piece of contemporary music that will be featured next year as part of the 375th anniversary of Montreal!
• Opéra de rue — Sponsored by Le Sac à dos and Opéra de Montréal, this project invites people in precarious living situations to participate in beginning-level opera workshops. They will be supported through each stage of creating a work to be presented at the Cinquième Salle at the Place des Arts on May 15, 2017. Soprano Marie- Josée Lord is supporting the project and will participate in the final event: a spectacle in which participants can take part through working on the scenery, as extras, chorus members... or perhaps even soloists
Text: Dominique Paupardin