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Community Foundation gets huge boost! 0

Rob Swystun, The Daily Graphic
Staff photo by Angela Brown ......Estate executor Anne Barraclough, left, flew out from Toronto to present the donation to CFPD president Dale Lyle at the Founders and Friends Celebration at the Canad Inns Thursday.

Staff photo by Angela Brown ......Estate executor Anne Barraclough, left, flew out from Toronto to present the donation to CFPD president Dale Lyle at the Founders and Friends Celebration at the Canad Inns Thursday.

Posted at 8:50 p.m.

A local charity received an almost $2 million donation Thursday.

The Community Foundation of Portage and District (CFPD) received $1.9 million from the estate of late Portage la Prairie resident Avis Margaret Degruelle.

Estate executor Anne Barraclough flew out from Toronto to present the donation to CFPD president Dale Lyle at the Founders and Friends Celebration held at the Canad Inns Thursday.

This donation raises the CFPD's endowment fund to $4.4 million from $2.5 million.

Barraclough described her late friend as someone who wasn't one to seek attention.

"She was a very private person," Barraclough said in an interview prior to the dinner. "She had been living back here for the past 15 years or so and she was just interested in the welfare of the community. We tried to get her back to Toronto and Arizona and all places but we couldn't get her out of Portage."

Degruelle was born and raised in Portage and left at age 20 to join the Canadian Navy. She moved to Toronto where she and Barraclough met in 1952 and lived there until the end of that decade when she was married and moved to New York and later France.

In the 1980s, Degruelle split her time between Canada and France and in the 1990s she moved back to Portage full-time. She died May 6 at the age of 86.

Barrclough said Degruelle was a well-informed woman and likely did a lot of research before deciding what charity to donate to in her will but did not give specific reasons for choosing the CFPD.

The money from the donation is undesignated and will be added to the CFPD's permanent endowment fund, which will reach $4.4 million, the highest it's been and doubles the amount of money available for grants to be given to local charities.

This donation gives a kick-start to the CFPD 's new Drive for Five campaign, which was unveiled at the Founders and Friends Celebration.

Lyle said the campaign was a plan to try and increase the CFPD's endowment fund to $5 million within five years. With the donation from Degruelle's estate, that goal has almost been reached.

"This is absolutely unprecedented," Lyle said, "the magnitude of the donation that we are receiving. It's certainly going to have an incredible impact on what we can do in the community as far as funding worthwhile projects."

Now that the Drive for Five goal has almost been reached in one step, Lyle said, the CFPD will look at perhaps increasing the goal.

Monica Patten, president and CEO of Community Foundations of Canada, was the guest speaker at the dinner. She talked about the benefits of philanthropy to make communities stronger.

rswystun@cpheraldleader.com


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