London, Ontario is my hometown and I’ve committed $130,000 to do something big for the city where I grew up. I’ve asked Londoners to submit ideas on how we can best spend the money to benefit the London community and someone will soon be chosen as a London hometown hero. Check in here for updates…
UPDATE: Oct. 1st
Congratulations to Shelah Brook, my final choice for London Hometown Hero! I just called to give her the news that her winning idea of a new, state-of-the-art playground in Springbank Park had been chosen and she was so excited… but then I am too. (click here for more)
UPDATE: Sept. 24th
I’m getting ready to announce the winner in one week! It’s going to happen on October 1st. That’s earlier than expected but why wait? Submissions started coming in more than five weeks ago and have been narrowed down and narrowed down and now it’s finally just a handful that are being considered.
I’m so excited I can hardly sleep! One more week!
UPDATE: Sept. 19th
There are a lot of good, caring people in London. Hundreds of people submitted so many great ideas and showed that they want to help their community in a big way. As excited as I am to be able to choose and provide something great for the city, I will also be sad that I can’t do more. I hope everyone understands that this will not be an easy choice and if your idea is not selected I hope you will all continue to look for ways to help others.
For anyone interested, here is some information about the submissions:
- The age range of those applying was from teens to 90s.
- The occupations ranged from retired, stay-at-home mom, teacher, student, homeless, business owner, professor, health care worker, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, optometrist, scientist, psychologist, bus driver, volunteer, even a sewer inspector.
- Below were some of the most common requests in order of popularity:
Playgrounds in parks and schools
Help for the homeless
Help for seniors
Upgrade Storybook Gardens
Healthy food for the underprivileged
Thames River projects
…and many, many more…
Please check back for updates as the process of selection is underway.
UPDATE: Sept. 15th (5:00 pm PST)
The application process is officially closed. Stay tuned…
UPDATE: Sept. 15th (10:00 am PST)
Today is the last day for any ideas on how to spend a bunch of money in London. We will be closing down the suggestion form at 5:00 pm today California time (8:00 pm in London). Please keep in mind that I will not be writing a check. The ideas need to be for tangible things that can be purchased. In my next update I will share some details about the ideas that have been submitted.
UPDATE: Sept. 8th
There is one week left for any suggestions out there. Hundreds have come in so far and although it’s great to see all the ideas that will benefit London, only one will be chosen and I hope the people whose ideas are not chosen will understand and not feel slighted. This will not be an easy decision but I can hardly wait to move forward. The deadline for suggestions is September 15th!
UPDATE: Aug. 25th
Well this is embarrassing. When asked last week if my gift was in Canadian funds I had to think for a second and thought, “well of course it’s Canadian funds – it’s being spent in Canada.” I had no idea that the exchange rate was historically low. In fact the last time I remember, the U.S. dollar was worth more in Canada. Maybe if I kept up with financial news I would have known that but not me… I’m too busy baking cookies!
So I humbly announced today that the gift was calculated in my mind in U.S. funds and wow! $100 grand U.S. is worth $130 grand in Canada! Not a problem. But the headline in the local paper gave me pause (“Jones adjusts hero award to loonie rate”) until I remembered that a loony is a Canadian dollar. Whew!
UPDATE: Aug. 18th – 9:00 p.m.
It’s 9:00 p.m. and I’m exhausted. Getting the word out took most of the day and so far it seems to be working. Ideas have been coming in all day. It’s times like this that social media is at its finest. I was interviewed by the London Free Press for a story to run tomorrow, and about 30 minutes later, the story was online. Back in the day, we had to wait until the next morning to read the paper.
Thank you for all your suggestions so far and it’s so good to see how many people are passionate about helping others. A reminder that my foundation will not make cash donations. This project needs to be something tangible so we can all see exactly where the money is being spent. I know no greater joy than giving to others and because this is my hometown, I am that much more joyful and waiting for each idea with great anticipation.