In first year, DDSB's new foundation helped 122 students with essentials from food to hearing aids

Posted On Tuesday May 24, 2022


In first year, DDSB's new foundation helped 122 students with essentials from food to hearing aids

Principal says help from Ignite Durham Learning Foundation had 'tremendous' impact on students
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Durham District School Board’s new foundation helped 122 students in its first year as an official charity.

The Ignite Durham Learning Foundation received charitable status in May 2021 with a goal of helping DDSB students and families impacted by poverty.

The foundation’s 2021 Annual Impact Report says $103,189 has been raised to date, which has been used to purchase essentials like glasses, hearing aids, transportation passes, school supplies, food, clothing and footwear.


“Our work has just started, we still consider ourselves to be in our infancy as a newly formed charitable organization,” said foundation chair Neil Joshi.

Schools can apply for funding without providing identifying information about the student or family in need, to maintain privacy.


“Schools are very often the point of contact for many families in need who may not know where else to turn for support,” said Waverly Public School principal Amanda Chapman, one of several DDSB principals who shared feedback for the 2021 Impact Report. She says foundation funding allowed families in need to access groceries.

Tracey Running, principal at O'Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute, said the school reached out for help with transportation, clothing and food and that “the positive impact on our students and families has been tremendous and has really made a huge difference in their lives.”

Trustees praised the foundation's work at the DDSB's May 16 board meeting.


“I think this is a remarkable thing that is happening,” said Whitby trustee Niki Lundquist. “I think it’s particularly remarkable because it’s very hard to build in a time of economic insecurity — and yet, it’s happening.”

Looking ahead, the foundation's board of directors will finalize a strategic plan for 2022-23 with a focus on fundraising.



Jillian Follert has been telling Durham's stories for more than 18 years. She currently writes about education, food and business for Metroland's community newspapers in Durham.