June 7, 2017

Sister of Charity Foundation of Canton highlights accomplishments in 2016 annual report

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton marked its 20th anniversary in 2016 and celebrated 20 years of focused, intentional giving. Its 2016 annual report, with a theme of “Together we can do great things,” highlights accomplishments in 2016 and over the past 20 years.

The annual report has updates on investments made in 2016, which totaled $2.7 million. These investments were through foundation-led initiatives (early childhood, health care access and homelessness), strategic collaborations (to join with others to launch programs that enhance efficiency in community services) and responsive efforts (to address short-term human needs in the community).

The annual report also showcases multiple stories that demonstrate the impact the foundation is having across its focus areas and that demonstrate its core values of compassion, courage, collaboration and justice. A couple of those stories appear below.

Ready Schools: Engaging the Community
McGregor Elementary—Readiness in Action

Outreach activities are a little different at each Ready School. At McGregor Elementary in Canton, Principal Annie Arvidson lives and breathes her Ready School philosophy, eagerly reaching out to families every chance she gets. She considers the school and the parents to be one big team.

Principal Arvidson says, “We try to welcome in the entire community and have had father's walks, a Veteran's Day celebration (where we invited family members who have served into the school), celebrations of the children, and events that create bridges between reading skills and home.”

She sees great attendance by parents at school events, which alternate between celebrating the achievements of the children and equipping parents with ways to keep the learning going at home. One such event focused on inexpensive learning games parents could make as holiday gifts for their children. 

She also works to ensure that the school meets the needs of individual families, such as using smartphone technology to help a parent through the long, complicated process of creating an individualized education plan for a child with special needs.

Is the effort worth it? According to Principal Arvidson, absolutely. Getting the parents involved “changes your world.”

Food Security: Pegasus Farms Garden Expansion
In 1985, three special education teachers established Pegasus Farm to provide equine therapy for individuals with disabilities.

During any given week, more than 200 clients participate in therapeutic equine programming. Equine therapy helps both physically and psychologically by reducing stress; improving balance, coordination, and muscle strength; increasing self-confidence, self-esteem, and coping strategies; and improving interpersonal and social skills.

Support from multiple funders has allowed Pegasus Farm to branch out beyond its original mission, creating jobs for people with disabilities, increasing community access to healthy food, and educating the public.

Located in Hartville, the farm’s 120 acres include a large indoor arena and gardens. As part of a larger food security initiative, the Sisters of Charity and Stark Community foundations jointly funded a grant to expand the gardens and adjoining Country Store, increase composting operations, and add a community education element. The expansion allows the store to offer a wider variety of gluten-free and organic food options, along with fresh produce grown in the Farm's gardens. The community education program piggybacks on that to offer community classes on nutrition, cooking, and growing.

Over more than three decades, Pegasus Farm has become a dynamic community resource and an example of the power of mission, determination, and collaboration.

To learn more about the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and all of its accomplishments in 2016, download the complete annual report here. The foundation is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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