Stratford Perth Community Foundation wants to share your passion for community


By Bruce Urquhart, Woodstock Sentinel-Review and Stratford Beacon Herald

July 22, 2013

The Stratford Perth Community Foundation is looking for people who want to share their love for our community.

And by share, the Stratford Perth Community Foundation means, potentially, with the entire country.

In late June, Canada’s 191 community foundations launched an online talent search for people to star in a national television and radio advertising campaign that promotes the message of “community.”

“We’ll be looking for people who embody the spirit of their community, as well as the campaign’s tagline: ‘Your Community Makes You. You Make Your Community,’” Ted Nation, the president of Yield Branding, the award-winning agency that’s producing the campaign, said at the time.

Given how passionately community-minded the residents of Stratford and Perth are — and the simplicity of “auditioning” for this talent search — the folk at the local community foundation are hoping for more than a few “Community Idol” participants.

“It’s exciting,” said Heidi Spannbauer, the executive director of the Stratford Perth Community Foundation. “We’re really putting our energy behind this.”

The audition itself is simple. The tryout involves downloading and recording a sample spoken-word audition poem that’s then uploaded to YouTube by “responding” to the Community Foundations of Canada’s own video. The actual details – and the poem – are available at

“(The audition) doesn’t have to be perfect,” Spannbauer said. “It’s just, ‘I love my community.’ It’s literally two minutes in length.”

To be eligible for this talent search, an entrant must be 18 years or older, involved in the local community, able to travel to Toronto, have access to a YouTube account and, in a stipulation more applicable to Stratford and Perth than other regions, not a professional actor.

The video submission can be as creative as the entrant likes but needs to include:

• The entrant’s first name;

• A short description of the entrant’s community involvement, and

• A performance of the audition poem, which is similar in style to the campaign anthem the winner will perform. Entrants are free to replace the middle verse with their own stanza about their community.

“You visit the Community Foundation website, and it shows you how to put the video up,” Spannbauer said.

The Community Foundations of Canada, who will be notifying the winners via YouTube message, will evaluate every submitted video after the Aug. 30 entry deadline. The talent search winners will be flown to Toronto, with all accommodations and transport paid, where they will star in the Community Foundations of Canada’s first television and radio advertisements, which feature a “powerful anthem about community.”

The Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations, which help Canadians invest in building “strong and resilient” places to live. The Stratford Perth Community Foundation engages local individuals and businesses as community builders by “matching their specific philanthropic interests with community needs.” Currently, the local foundations cares for about $1.5 million in endowments and, through this community philanthropy, has awarded more than $220,000 to local charities and not-for-profit organizations.

“We love the concept of community engagement and ownership of the foundation,” Spannbauer said. We hold assets for the community and we’re owned by the community.

“It just keeps growing.”

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