CITY NOTES: Holiday Events, New GYMC Head and Volunteering Issues

The City of Guelph, and it’s various partners and agencies, put out a lot of information on a weekly basis, and while it all ends up on the City’s website somewhere, wouldn’t it be easier to just scroll through it all on one easy-to-read article on Guelph Politico here…?

Cusimano Out at PIN; Zimmerman in at GYMC

In another changing of the guard locally, the People and Information Network (PIN) has announced that Kim Cusimano is stepping down as the executive director, which is a position she held since 2016. At the same time, Peter Hohenadel has been name interim executive director of PIN as a formal recruitment process for the next E.D. gets underway.

“As I reflect over my time with PIN, I am grateful to have met awe-inspiring volunteers, collaborative leaders, advocates, visionaries, passionate and compassionate individuals who make a difference every day in support of community,” said Cusimano in a statement. “Twenty years later, the need remains for the leadership, activation and advocacy of volunteerism that PIN provides, our communities need civic participation, volunteer contribution, and a robust community benefit sector.”

Meanwhile, up the road at the Guelph Youth Music Centre, the board of directors there has announced that Sarah Zimmerman will succeed Gabriella Currie-Ziegler as their executive director. Zimmerman’s background includes her time as Director of Finance and Administration with Opera Atelier and 11 years of work at Young Associates where she co-ordinated with more than 100 different non-profit and charitable organizations on a variety of services.

“We are thrilled to welcome Samantha to the GYMC community,” said Liz Sandals, GYMC Board Chair in a statement. “She has an extensive background in arts management, as well as a creative mind and infectious energy. We are confident she will be a wonderful addition to the team. We are looking forward to working with Samantha as we navigate the next steps in fulfilling GYMC’s mission of bringing music and arts education to Guelph’s young people.”

Rotary Collecting Winter Cloths

The Refugee Committee of Rotary Guelph Trillium Club is partnering with The Clothing Closet to collect winter clothing – coats, mittens and scarves and any warm winter wear – for newly arrived residents. If you have any gently used clothing, you can bring them to a collection box will be set up by Guest Services on the C floor of Stone Road Mall starting on December 1. Anything donated will then be offered free of charge at The Clothing Closet, which is located at 400 Victoria Street North and is open on Thursdays from 9.30 am – 12 pm and 5-7 pm.

U of G Coffee to Raise Funds for Campus Food Bank

Hospitality Services at the University of Guelph is teaming up with Baden Coffee Co. to sell Gryphon ’64, a new U of G brand for your morning brew. The dark roast coffee is certified fair trade, and it’s debut marks the 10th anniversary of the U of G being designated as a certified fair trade campus. Proceeds from the coffee will go to fill Hospitality Services’ needs on campus for the first six months, but the proceeds after that will go to the student food bank operated by the Central Student Association.

“Monetary donations like this one allow us to continue purchasing fruits and vegetables and other items that promote a well-balanced, nutritious diet, which is an important factor in creating a more food-secure campus,” said Alanna Wyllie, the co-ordinator of the food bank, in a statement.

Gryphon ’64 is available in-person and online at the University Bookstore as whole or ground bean packages.

Survey Says It’s Tough Times for Community Benefit Sector

Volunteerism is facing unprecedented change and challenge, nonprofits have faced decreased revenue and increased demand for service. Those were the insights from the People and Information Network’s (PIN) first Community Benefit Survey in 2020, and those are pretty much the same results in 2022.

More than half of the respondents reported that they’ve seen a decrease in the number of volunteers. At the same time, 35 per cent of respondents indicated that they needed to access their financial reserves since the beginning of the pandemic, and more than a quarter of respondents indicated that they don’t actually have any financial reserves. So revenues are down, volunteer availability is down, and at the same time, the need for programs and services is going up. In other words, it’s the perfect storm.

“You do not need to look far to see how the community benefit sector contributes to our towns and cities, and to our families, our children and ourselves.” said executive director Kim Cusimano in a statement. “Coaching your children’s sports team, your grandfather’s weekly friendly visitor, driving your Mom for her cancer appointments, supporting food insecurity, accessing health services and housing, engaging in faith, arts and culture and more; nonprofits and charities are intertwined into our lives.”

“Our communities need civic participation, volunteer contribution, and a robust community benefit sector. Our communities are calling upon all of us,” she added.

You can see the report based on the results of the survey here.


The Mayor’s annual Tree Lighting event will take place in Market Square on tonight at 5:45 pm.

Help City of Guelph staff stuff an emergency vehicle (with food)right now at the Zehrs on Paisley Road.

The Guelph Humane Society is hosting a Holiday Open House today from 11 am to 2 pm at their Hanlon Creek Boulevard office.

Additional Notes

Wellington County announced the new line-up for their various committees.

Vikki Dupuis has been re-elected chair of the Wellington Catholic District School Board with Sebastian Dal Bo coming back as vice-chair.

The City of Guelph wants some feedback about the design of new playgrounds for Dovercliffe Park, Howitt Park and University Village Park. Deadline for feedback is December 15.

The Boarding House’s new show, “Last Call” will have its opening reception on Thursday December 8 at 6 pm.

Guelph General Hospital will be hosting a job fair on Tuesday December 6 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington is looking for young people to volunteer with the Youth Leadership project.

The City of Guelph is once again one of Waterloo Region’s top employers.

New and Upcoming Construction

The City of Guelph is trying to wrap up work on Metcalfe Steet between Terry and Eramosa by mid-December. Work will resume sometime in Spring 2023.

The City is also trying to wrap up work on Speedvale Avenue between the Hanlon and Edinburgh Road. Work is expected to wrap up for the winter on December 16 before resuming in the spring.

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