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Galt Family Foundation aims to reward local volunteer work

October 15, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Written By MARK PAVILONS

LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE EDITOR

When John and Sandra Galt first moved to King 20 years ago, they were immediately struck by the selflessness of the community’s volunteers.

Volunteers formed the backbone of their son’s baseball league and daughter’s Girl Guide troop, and were the driving force behind family events like the Schomberg Fair and Main Street Christmas. Charity auctions and dinners, hosted by the local Lions Clubs, were another source of entertainment for the couple.

“All the community events- the Lions’ pancake supper, the Schomberg Agricultural Society’s fair, the Parade of Lights, put on by King’s farmers- they all brought the area together and created a sense of belonging to something unique,” said John Galt. “You didn’t feel like just a name or a number, as we did in the city at times.”

Today, John, Sandra, daughter Julia, and son Thomas helm the Galt Family Foundation, a self-funded charity that aims to reward outstanding volunteer efforts in King Township and beyond. Founded in 2018, the foundation is a way for the family to give back to their community in a larger way than ever before.

“We’ve been fortunate in terms of our lives and some of the opportunities we’ve had,” said John. “We’d been giving back with smaller donations for years and wanted to do so in a more meaningful way. So we formalized that into a foundation.”

Galt, president and CEO of injection molding equipment manufacturer Husky Injection Molding Systems, has long been accustomed to the ins and outs of designating large-scale donations. Well before the formation of the Galt Family Foundation, he’d been annually involved in the selection of Husky’s corporate beneficiaries. It was a position that allowed him to become familiar with the causes and volunteer groups in the area, and one that led him to the Galt Family Foundation’s first charitable undertaking in 2019. 

“Husky had been a sponsor of the Schomberg Agricultural Spring Fair for several years, and because of that Sandra and I were invited to a sponsor appreciation dinner with the Schomberg Agricultural Society,” said Galt. “Over the course of the dinner, the Society kept mentioning something about a bridge. We enquired and it went from there.”

The bridge in question was the one connecting Schomberg’s Main Street to the fairgrounds –  historic, frequently used structure that had stood in place for over 80 years. Cracks had been spotted in the bridge’s foundation, and a survey of the structure had indicated it could not be repaired. With an estimated replacement cost in the hundreds of thousands, the society’s stress was running high.

“The Agricultural Society has been volunteering their time and resources into putting on the Schomberg Fair and Main Street Christmas for decades and decades. Our family has been enjoying both events for years, so it was fitting that funding the bridge would be our first act as a foundation.”

Though the process of replacing the bridge remains ongoing as of 2020, it was not the only cause the Galt Family Foundation supported that year. With a self-described ethos to reward volunteer-based activities that raise money for community charities and healthcare, it made sense to support Orangeville’s Headwaters Health Care Centre when the opportunity arose. To help raise money for urgently needed replacement medical equipment, the Galt Family Foundation committed itself to matching all donations received during the hospital’s holiday fundraiser. The campaign was a resounding and unprecedented success, raising over $374,000.

The Galt Family Foundation’s newest undertaking represents another first for the family. They’ve been working with Newmarket’s George Markow, a 99-year-old WW2 veteran who has, for the past several months, been circling the grounds of his retirement home in an effort to raise $100,000 for medical research. In an effort to help Markow surpass his goal, the Galt Family Foundation has pledged to match contributions to his GoFundMe (https://ca.gofundme.com/f/99-yr-old-walking-100-km-for-medical-research), dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000 – utting Markow’s current donations at an impressive $120,000. 

“George exemplifies everything our foundation values: perseverance, hard-work, selflessness.” Galt said. “Here’s a man who’s survived WW2, years imprisoned in concentration camps, health crises, and more, and is still, at 99 years old, finding a way to give back to the community.”

As the Galt Family Foundation continues to grow in the coming years, John and Sandra hope it will provide support to those who feel their volunteer work isn’t being recognized.

“We have people in our community who have spent their lives volunteering, and have never asked anything for it,” said Galt. “It’s these people that are the measure of a great community, and it’s these people we aim to thank.” 



         

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