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With what started as a $1,000 donation, the Morden Area Foundation (MAF) is now celebrating 25 years of giving back to the community. Their endowment has since grown exponentially to a total of $1,761,700.

The MAF held its annual general meeting Tuesday evening to look back on their success, award some grants, and look towards the Foundation's future.

The 24-Hour Giving Challenge is an example of the community's support and success as the initiative raised $24,345 in 2017, which was surpassed this year with $27,110 raised.

Of those funds, the Winnipeg Foundation, the province of Manitoba, and the Morden Access Credit Union matched funds at $2,000 each. "We want to thank all of them for helping us make the 24-Hour Giving Challenge so exciting and so successful," says Allison Braun, Board Chairperson.

While past success is exciting to celebrate, it is equally exciting to look at what the future may hold. The Manitoba Heritage Trust Program is new in 2018 and allows local museums to receive $25,000 if they raise $50,000 by 2021.

"The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, here in Morden . . . was the first museum to sign up for this new program. Plus, rather than starting their fund with the minimum $2,500, they opened their fund with a cheque for $20,000 that they received from their 2018 fundraising gala," says Braun.

According to Joel Enns, Treasurer with the CFDC, they are hoping to achieve a target fund of approximately $80,000 through the program. He says, "this kind of program offers huge benefits to us. It benefits museums and other heritage organizations, it benefits provincial foundations, and finally, it benefits other groups that foundations contribute towards."

The Foundation gave a taste of these generous contributions by awarding the Morden Activity Centre with $5,000. Board member, Merley Wiebe says the Centre is "such a great place and it is such a gift to our community as well." maf activity centreThe Morden Activity Centre serves 18,000 meals to the community each year.

The second grant of $17,040 was awarded to the Royal Canadian Legion Morden Branch #11 for the replacing of their elevator. President Bob Frost says he was rendered speechless when the MAF let him know how much money they were awarding the Legion.

"A project we were looking at to take place over possibly three years before it came to fruition, I made a phone call today, and it's going to start in April . . . From the bottom of my heart, on behalf of the executive, the members, and the veterans of Morden Branch #11, we'd like to thank the Morden Area Foundation for this huge donation," says Frost.

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