On Friday last, local MPPs Steve Clark and John Jordan met with members of the Rural FASD Support Network at South Gower Park to hear more about the impact that a $500,000 Youth Opportunities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) has had. The four-year long grant was awarded in 2022 and is designed to help the organization and its organizational mentor group – the Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth – to expand on their work with individuals with FASD and their caregivers.
“Individuals diagnosed with FASD experience unique and complex challenges in all stages of life,” said Steve Clark, MPP for LeedsGrenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. “It is critical that people with FASD can access the resources and supports they need. I was pleased to support the Rural FASD Support Network in their Family Innovations Scale Grant application through the Ontarian Trillium Foundation. This investment will go a long way in our community to provide the appropriate support for individuals with FASD and their caregivers,” he added.
Rural FASD Support Network is using the $500,000 Family Innovations Scale Grant to hire two employees and lease office space to provide additional support to individuals with FASD and their caregivers. It’s also helping with key administrative and rental space costs, as well as purchasing program supplies and technical equipment, as well as communications costs too. The project will be completed in March, 2026, and will give people in the community improved access to programs and training. “I was pleased to hear that the Rural FASD Support Network was successful in their Family Innovations Scale Grant application through the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” said John Jordan, MPP for Lanark— Frontenac—Kingston. “It has been my privilege to witness the dedication and commitment of this Network to support people with FASD and to each other. People with FASD experience many challenges in everyday life and a strong support network is critical to their well-being and quality of life.”
In addition to improved access to programs and training, the Rural FASD Support Network will be able to expand upon its peer-facilitated support and fellowship and provide additional forums for people with FASD to share their voice and lived experiences. The Network connects individuals with FASD and their caregivers from across Ontario with local FASD-informed service providers and provides evidence-based researched training. And thanks to the grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, people with FASD will be able to access those needed supports to achieve their full life potential.
“The impact of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant cannot be underestimated,” said Shelley More, Chair of the Rural FASD Support Network. “This grant will allow people impacted by FASD and their caregivers to connect with each other, learn from each other and share their stories within their communities in new and unique ways. Through these connections, we expect to see more positive life outcomes for both people impacted by disabilities including FASD and their caregivers.”
The Rural FASD Support Network is a grassroots organization formed in 2019 consisting solely of people with lived FASD experience and whose mission is to help others navigate the complex challenges related to living with FASD. Utilizing the lived experiences and expertise of peers, families, and professionals, we focus on helping those affected by FASD access resources, services, and information that can best support them. If you wish to enquire about accessing our programming, or receiving training, please visit our website at www.ruralfasd.ca.
The Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation on behalf of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. YOF provides grants and capacity-building support to grassroots groups and community collaboratives to improve the wellbeing of children, youth and families facing systemic barriers with a focus on Indigenous and Black communities. OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. www.otf.ca.