Ontario community programs get cash infusion from Bell

Web-hosting, database creation and management and Internet safety awareness programs are just some of the plans of several of the 13 lucky community-based organizations in Ontario notified Wednesday that they would be receiving grants from Bell Canada to help fund some of their IT projects.

The total cash infusion to these groups will amount to $292,000. It is the second instalment of a three-year – 2001 through 2003 – $1-million Community Development Fund program run by Bell, based in Toronto.

In southern Ontario, the Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce, based in Chatham, plans to use the grant money towards the development of a new Web site. Gail Antaya, its general manager, said the goal of the new site is enhance the global profile of businesses in the Chatham-Kent area, to aid it from an importing and exporting point of view.

“Bell Canada is greatly assisting us to launch that Web site,” she said. “This is really moving us many steps forward to reaching our global partners.”

Antaya said the Chamber of Commerce already had the project in mind before applying for the grant, however it knew that money would be an issue in regards to completing the project on time, so it approached Bell for funding. Bell suggested it apply for funding from the Community Development Fund program.

Not far from Chatham-Kent in London, Ont., the London Community Resource Centre plans to use its grant money to beef up its Web-hosting abilities. Ted Town, community development resource manager, said it plans to host sites for other community organizations such as the London Homeless Coalition and the Neighbourhood Food Security Project. The group had the project in mind before applying for the grant, according to Town, who added that had it not been chosen to receive the funding, it likely would not have been able to complete it.

In the same city, the London Public Library intends to use its grant money to fund its Safety Net program to help teach elementary school students Internet Safety

Other recipients include the Kunin-Lunenfield Applied Research Unit at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto. It was selected to receive a $30,000 grant, which will go towards developing a tele-health service to address the unique needs of at-home caregivers.

The Web-based service will provide information about the diseases affecting the caregivers’ family members and link them together with professional health care consultants and similarly afflicted patients.

Elsa Marziali, Schipper chair, gerontological social work research at the Baycrest Centre said in a statement that supporting home care is important because this eases the burden on the public health care system, and this funding will allow the Baycrest Centre to provide more support to these caregivers.

Another recipient, Volunteer Hamilton, based in Hamilton, Ont. will develop a Web-based network of resources for staff and volunteers in the volunteer sector by integrating its Web site portal with 33 other volunteer centres across Canada.

Other organizations of the chosen 13 are The City of Barrie, the Toronto-based Lakeshore Community Partnership, and the North Bay Economic Development Commission. In the Nation’s capital recipients were the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation’s Junior Achievement TITAN project and its Regional e-Learning Initiative. Finally, the rest of the recipients included Oakville Economic Development, the Town of Markham, and the West Parry Sound Health Centre.

The chosen 13 were selected from a total of 46 applicants.

For more information visit www.bell.ca/en/about/bic/community/default.asp.

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