Securing status as a charitable organization is expected to help Sarnia’s Deker Bauer Foundation for Suicide Prevention attract the donations it’s seeking to open a drop-in crisis centre.
Named for 17-year-old Deker Bauer who died by suicide in 2014, the foundation was created by his family and friends with the aim of establishing a crisis centre and reaching out to those with mental illness, as well as those impacted by suicide.
Just recently, the foundation became a charity registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.
“It makes a big difference, having charitable status,” said Teresa Ingles, Bauer’s mother and the foundation’s chief executive officer.
“We’ll be able to access more funding, because having that ability to give that tax receipt makes such a big difference when people want to donate to us.”
Ingles added that official status can reassure individuals considering making a donation to the 19-month-old organization.
“It might solidify to people in the community that we’re here to stay,” she said.
Ingles said she knows members of the community believe what the foundation is proposing is needed, but donations were initially slow to come in.
“It’s understandable, because we are a grassroots organization,” she said.
Potential donors may have been looking for signs the foundation “is going to be here tomorrow and next week,” she said.
“With our charitable status, I think that kind of turns that around and makes a difference for people.”
Ingles said a great deal of effort went into the application for charitable status, adding the process took most of a year to complete.
“We are here to stay, and we are here to help the people within the community,” she said.
The foundation continues to hold fund-raising events, including a “quarter auction” at the Navy Club earlier this week and a skateboard competition July 16.
The foundation has also been selected to benefit from an August golf tournament in Mooretown, and plans to be involved in events at Ribfest, the power boat races and Captain Kidd Days.
“You’ll see us out and about all summer,” Ingles said.
“If we could get another $15,000 in the bank, we would be ecstatic.”
Ingles said the foundation is close to securing a location for the centre she hopes will open within the coming months.
“I feel this is very important because it is something that is needed within our community,” Ingles said.
The aim of the drop-in centre is to provide a place “to help anyone who needs to come and talk, any time of the day or night,” she said.