Gaineys give back


Foundation announces special projects for Peterborough

The fruits of the Gainey Foundation’s labour are beginning to blossom.

Hockey Hall of Famer and Peterborough native Bob Gainey and his daughter Anna unveiled the Foundation’s first major project for Peterborough during a press conference last night at The Dobro to announce the second Gainey Family and Friends Concert at Showplace Peterborough March 15.

The foundation has raised $1 million since its inception last year to honour the Montreal Canadiens general manager’s late wife, Cathy, and daughter, Laura.

Cathy died of a brain tumour in 1995 at age 39. Laura was swept overboard from the tall ship Picton Castle during a storm south of Cape Cod in December 2006.

Anna Gainey, director of the foundation, announced proceeds of the next concert will benefit Camp Kawartha’s ambitious environmental education facility.

The sustainable building, still in the planning phase, will operate completely off the electrical grid using green technology. It will be built by students in Fleming College’s sustainable building program. It will provide education programs for children from kindergarten to Grade 4 and high school students.

Bob Gainey said this year’s successful St. Patrick’s Day concert kick-started the foundation’s efforts and the family wanted to make sure Peterborough was repaid for its efforts.

“The very rewarding part is we get to see the full cycle of a year of working to raise funds with different communities,” Gainey said, “and then to review the applications of where those funds can be streamed back out into the community. We send it back to the community from where it came.

“It puts a stake right in the area that sort of established, a year ago and earlier this year in March, that we could raise funds.”

His daughter Anna said the project is a fitting tribute to her mother and sister.

“The mission of the Gainey Foundation,” she said, “is to reflect Laura and my mother’s commitment to children and love of children with particular focus on the arts and environment. Those are areas Laura had a real passion and fondness for so we’re very happy to give back in those areas.”

This year’s concert will feature new acts including Greg Keelor, singer and guitarist for Blue Rodeo, fiddler Donnell Leahy and his sister Erin, a one-night reunion by Jackson Delta and return engagements by John McDermott, Murray McLauchlan and others.

General Electric is providing a $25,000 donation as the main sponsor of the concert.

Camp Kawartha’s executive director Jacob Rodenburg said a location for the $180,000 project is being negotiated.

“Without the support of the Gainey Foundation we couldn’t do this project,” Rodenburg said.

“It will help us construct a one of a kind sustainable building in the Peterborough area that will help teach kids and adults how to live more responsibly.”

Anna Gainey said the foundation issued its first grants to various projects in the last month in communities from B. C. to Cape Breton.

The foundation also donated to an ongoing bursary at the Peterborough Arts School to help low-income children take advantage of their programs.

“I know Laura spent quite a few hours there, particularly one summer,” she said. “We’re happy to invest in what they’re doing and make sure their programs are available to kids in the community who may not have otherwise been able to take advantage of what they offer.”

Other grants were presented to a sustainable living leadership program for teens in B. C.; educational signage at an environmental park in Cape Breton; a media arts program connected to the Montreal-based Leave Out Violence program for youth; help for an arts outreach program for underprivileged children run by the Ottawa School of Arts and a Quebec-based organic farm which teaches skills to children at risk of dropping out of school.

“We’re really happy with the response we’ve had to the foundation,” Anna said, “and the support we’ve had from across the country. We’re very grateful.”

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