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Making Awesome Happen, $1,000 At A Time    

How do we ensure Newmarket continues to be the best place to live and work in Canada? It starts with Awesome ideas. Enter the Awesome Foundation Newmarket, a group that provides monthly hassle-free micro grants to help bring those ideas to life.

Rather than a charity, the Awesome Foundation is like a giving circle. Ten trustees give $100 of their own money each month to help an individual or group implement a great idea that helps people locally. At the Awesome Foundation Newmarket, we focus on ideas that benefit youth in Newmarket.

We accept idea submissions from people of any age and with a variety of ideas. No idea is too small, and those that promote fun are as important as those with more serious focus. APPLY NOW


See our Latest Awesome Foundation Newmarket Grant Recipients!



It’s summer camp season! Our latest grant recipient—Girls Inc. York Region—helps girls get the most out of their camp experiences. Created with the same goals as its regular programs, Girls Inc. camp strives to enhance confidence and self-esteem while giving campers the skills and tools they need to reach their full potential. Did we mention it's also a blast?! Campers get to enjoy plenty of activities like arts and crafts, nature-based programs and day trips to outings like the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Ontario Science Centre.


Seen here: Awesome Trustee Jackie Playter, with Jessica Gomez of Girls Inc. and Trustees Diane Farmer and Juliane Goyette.



Congratulations to the Peace Club—our 100th Awesome grant recipient!

Recently launched at Dr. J.M. Denison Secondary School, the club was created to engage and support students, says Positive Pathways Coach, Rita Goverde. “[My] position was created to support students who have become disengaged with their school experience—academically, but more importantly, socially and emotionally as well,” she says, adding the pandemic has magnified many issues for youth. Intentional practices such as daily mindfulness are being introduced for both students and staff, and Peace Club will play a role in this through positive and supportive messaging. “We also wish to grow the Peace Club to encompass supporting our local community with food insecurity,” says Rita. “Our amazing hospitality class is willing to cook for a local school that provides daily meals to students in need. We are hoping the Peace Club will grow in performing acts of kindness and addressing social injustices because we know that in order to heal our own hearts, we must do for others.”

Pictured here: Awesome Trustees Wasim Jarrah, Juliane Goyette and Jackie Playter with Rita Goverde and Trustees Diane Farmer, Darryl Gray and Chris Emanuel.




Congratulations to Youth Assisting Youth—one of our latest grant recipients! Youth Assisting Youth (YAY) pairs volunteer young adult mentors aged 16-29 with at-risk and newcomer youth aged 6-15. The microgrant awarded by the Awesome Foundation Newmarket will enable our team at Youth Assisting Youth to elevate our peer mentoring outreach efforts in the Newmarket area, says Andrew Hunter, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator. “Youth Assisting Youth's no-cost mentorship opportunities are transformative experiences for at-risk kids and their families. As well, volunteer mentors learn leadership skills, collect community service hours, work alongside experienced social workers and, ultimately, support young people reach their full potential!”

Pictured here: Andrew Hunter (middle) with Awesomes trustees Diane Farmer and Chris Emanuel



What's Awesome? Helping to supply students with healthy snacks and lunches while at school.

Food is critical for learning but not everyone has access to what they need. The Food for Learning program at Dr. Denison Secondary School aims to help with that. “We work to raise money to be able to provide students with proper nutrition in order to focus and be successful in their classes,” says Jackie Zicaro, who runs the program. All students have access to the food, helping to reduce stigma, and Jackie says there are some youths who make use of the program frequently. “For some of our students, the food they receive at school could be their only meal of the day.”

Seen here: Trustees Chris Emanuel, Jackie Playter and Diane Farmer with grant recipient Jackie Zicaro and trustees Juliane Goyette, and Wasim Jarrah of Wasim Jarrah Real Estate Team.


The desire to help others doesn’t have an age limit and our latest grant recipients are proof of that. We’re thrilled to award an Awesome Foundation Newmarket grant to Lil Big Kid Squad. Led by sisters, Stella, Portia and Violet, this volunteer organization uses “kid power” to make some pretty special stuff happen. With a core of about 20 local kids on the organization’s planning committee (and hundreds of others participating from as far away as England), each month they tackle a new volunteer project. Previous challenges include Food 4 Families where they filled 278 bags with non-perishable food items for the Newmarket Food Pantry, Jars of Joy which saw volunteers deliver more than 400 messages of kindness to hope to friends and family, and Mail-a-Hug which brought 340 handmade “hug” crafts to seniors and health-care workers. Follow them on their socials to see what they’re up to next.

As always, a huge thank you to our trustees for making these grants available.

Pictured here: Trustee Tracy Walter, grant recipients Stella, Violet and Portia with Trustees (in back) Jackie Playter, Darryl Gray (welcome Darryl!) and Diane Farmer and Juliane Goyette in front. Missing: Giancarlo Trimarchi, Wasim Jarrah, Hollie Hoadley and Kevin Murdoch.


June 2021

A huge congratulations to Doane House Hospice (DHH), recipient of our latest Awesome Foundation Newmarket grant.

DHH provides “full circle” palliative care supports to more than 1,000 individuals each year, with programs designed to meet emotional, spiritual and physical needs. This includes the Doane House Hospice Children’s Grief Workshop Series. This specialized art therapy workshop will be offered for three days with six children per day during August 2021. The workshop will give kid, aged 6 to 12 the opportunity to learn about, express, and understand their current grief. Each workshop in the series will be free of charge and will feature a three-hour session of art therapy-based activities that are age appropriate and interesting to the age ranges in attendance.

Pictured here: Awesome trustees Diane Farmer and Juliane McTavish-Goyette with Jennifer Adams from Doane House Hospice and trustee Tracy Walter.


April 2021











Awesome Foundation Newmarket is all about making a positive difference in our community. Our latest Awesome grant recipient is definitely doing that. Congratulations, Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association!

The pandemic has had a devastating financial effect on so many families. The Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA) works to alleviate some of that stress through its Food Security Initiative. Every two weeks, the organization delivers $100 grocery gift cards (as well as fresh produce thanks to support from the York Region Food Network) to 35 African, Black and Caribbean families in Newmarket, Aurora and East Gwillimbury.

“We want to prioritize access, equity and community wellness through food. This is one critical way that NACCA shows up for the population we serve,” says Jerisha Grant-Hall, Chair of NACCA (pictured here).

As always, a sincere thank you to our Awesome trustees: Jackie Playter, Wasim Jarrah, Hollie Hoadley, Juliane McTavish-Goyette, Giancarlo Trimarchi, Kevin Murdoch, David Faingold, Tracy Walter and Diane Farmer.

March 2021

School may currently be taking place at kitchen tables and home spaces across Ontario, but when face to face resumes the Breakfast program at Sir William Mulock Secondary School will be there to help provide a healthy meal to students in need. The program is one of the latest recipients of an Awesome Foundation Newmarket grant.

The program provides three basic food groups to over 100 students every day, says Cynthia Crone, Subject Head of Personalized Alternative Education (pictured here). “We have created an environment where any student receives grab-n-go healthy snacks from our snack cart to fuel their brains and bodies.” Going this route, she says, helps avoid stigmatizing disadvantaged students and encourages healthy eating options for all Mulock students. Congratulations!

THANK YOU to our trustees for making these grants possible: Jackie Playter, Wasim Jarrah, Hollie Hoadley, Juliane McTavish-Goyette, Giancarlo Trimarchi, Kevin Murdoch, David Faingold, Tracy Macgregor and Diane Farmer.

February 2021


Vixon, Cedar Centre's Service Dog (seen here at Pride) has a whole lot to smile about—the Centre has been awarded an Awesome Foundation Newmarket grant.

Cedar Centre is currently working with a number of its community partners to develop the first Child/Youth Advocacy Centre for York Region. This exciting project will see all of the organizations that traditionally respond to a child in need of protection integrated into a single service model and co-located in a shared space in York Region, says Alison Peck, Executive Director of Cedar Centre. The grant funds she says, will be used to engage an artist to produce a graphic that the Centre will own for its exclusive use both during and beyond the activities of an upcoming capital campaign. "This campaign will provide a new home for the Centre’s expanding programs and services.”


THANK YOU to our trustees for making these grants possible: Jackie Playter, Wasim Jarrah, Hollie Hoadley, Juliane McTavish-Goyette, Giancarlo Trimarchi, Kevin Murdoch, David Faingold, Tracy Macgregor and Diane Farmer.


January 2021

Big shout out to Blue Door—our latest Awesome grant recipient. Blue Door provides safe and supportive emergency housing, and housing services and supports for people (including families) who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The not-for-profit is a recipient of the Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) tournament in York Region which could potentially generate thousands of dollars to help them achieve their goal of providing affordable housing for hundreds of people in need.

All partners in the HHTH initiative are expected to raise anywhere from $4,000 and up so the grant goes a long way, says Michael Braithwaite, CEO of Blue Door (pictured here). And the more money they raise, the more comes back to Blue Door from Hockey Helps the Homeless.

THANK YOU to our trustees for making these grants possible: Jackie Playter, Wasim Jarrah, Hollie Hoadley, Juliane McTavish-Goyette, Giancarlo Trimarchi, Kevin Murdoch, David Faingold, Tracy Macgregor and Diane Farmer.

August 2020

Girls Inc. of York Region has made a move! Previously located at Main and Davis, the organization has relocated to a great space at 482 Queen St.

The two-level space offers ample room to grow with multiple offices on the main floor along with a board room, and a large room for in-house programming. In the basement, there is a craft room with three walls of storage for craft supplies, additional storage for event supplies and a kitchen suited to grow the organization’s healthy body and food programs. “Although the new space is better suited to Girls Inc.’s needs, the building, and more specifically, the basement will need some renovations,” says Barb Wallace, Executive Director. The grant, she says, will be put toward those changes.

Girls Inc.’s programming focuses on the development of the whole girl, supporting, mentoring, and guiding girls in an affirming, pro-girl environment. Program areas and activities include Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM), building social media awareness, economic literacy, developing leadership skills through mentoring, anti-bullying, healthy eating and more.



See More Recipients


09 Aug, 2021

Must-Have Monday: Savoury & Sweet 

By Claire Chappell 

There are so many delicious treats available locally we couldn’t cram it all into one post! Here’s part two of our look at savoury and sweet delights from some of our members.  


Order tests through the Stay Safe Portal and pick them up at the Chamber!

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