$2-Million Invested For People With Intellectual Disabilities

People First of Ontario logo. Courtesy of the People First of Ontario website.

The WindsorEssex Community Foundation will invest $2-million on behalf of People First of Ontario to help people with intellectual disabilities.

People First of Ontario is a provincial organization, first formed in 1982, supports and advocates for the rights of people with these disabilities.

It is because of People First of Ontario that the Associations for the Mentally Retarded changed their name to Associations for Community Living in the 1980s and that all institutions for intellectually disabled persons in Ontario have since closed.

Executive Director Lisa Kolody of the WECF says Windsor is an area where funding for the intellectually disabled has been cut long-term. She says this is an opportunity for people to speak up and advocate for their rights, and to have an organization available that they can access if there are needs or issues in the community.

The WECF will invest the money, and People First of Ontario can draw the interest on it annually. Kolody says when a significant amount of money is invested this way, it is able to support the community long-term.

“So what happens is, in 20 years, they will have pulled the $2-million, but the capital is still invested,” says Kolody. “So that granting of pulling the interest off that money will be forever.”

According to the WECF website, it is a community trust that “exists to manage donors’ legacy funds and make grants to support local community programs.” Kolody says it has over $16-million invested independently with different agencies.

It will be up to People First of Ontario what projects they fund locally. She says they are looking at people with intellectual disabilities who need help with housing, equality in the workplace, and language rights.

For an organization to apply for this support, they can go to People First of Ontario’s website to contact them directly about any issues or concerns they have.

—Alyssa Leonard is a BlackburnNewsWindsor.com intern—