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Mississippi Mills Resident Collaborates with C4K Foundation with Projected $1 Million Donation
Mississippi Mills Resident Collaborates with C4K Foundation with Projected $1 Million Donation
Posted on 08/19/2021
Al Potvin

August 19, 2021 (Mississippi Mills, ON) – The Upper Canada District School Board’s Champions 4 Kids (C4K)Foundationis honoured to collaborate with the Al Potvin Family Foundation to bring further supports to our students.

Al Potvin, a Mississippi Mills resident, is selling his 17-acre property and plans to donate $1 million from the sale for Mississippi Mills-based youth initiatives.

After spending years offering up his property for the community to use, Potvin – who is now in his 80s – can no longer maintain the property. He told CTV News that the community has been so good to his familyand he wanted to give back in a special way. Launching the Al Potvin Family Foundation, Potvin is set to partner with the Champions 4 Kids Foundation to distribute the grants.

Champions 4 Kids provides support to underprivileged students who have been identified by school principals in the UCDSB. Grants from the Al Potvin Family Foundation will be made available through the Champions 4 Kids Foundation to those identified youth attending UCDSB schools in the Municipality of Mississippi Mills.

The grant dollars will be used to help youth access academic tutoring, counselling, and life opportunities such as sports, music lessons, and travelling.

"As we move through this pandemic, I think it makes a lot of sense that students are itching to get out there, get busy, and get back to those activities that are fun," says Casey Nelson, president of Champions 4 Kids. "Since 2008, Champions 4 Kids has been able to disperse $2 million, so anytime we can get a million dollars to disperse is obviously well received and will go to great use."

Below is the open letter from Al Potvin to the community of Mississippi Mills:

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

I have lived in Almonte for 60 years. The people, landscape and culture of Mississippi Mills have helped to shape my life. My first wife Barb and I raised our 4 children in the Friendly Town. I consider myself very blessed to call this wonderful community home.

Barb and I founded Hilan Play Structures in Mississippi Mills to build outdoor play structures for kids. All four of our children worked for Hilan at one point or another. I fondly remember the many, many people in our community that worked for our company. Hilan would not have succeeded without them. Together we built over 1000 play structures for communities across North America. ‘Our Work is Child’s Play’ was our motto, and I am grateful for the success that Barb and I had.

In the 1980s, Barb and I were fortunate to purchase a farm property on the edge of Almonte. The 20+ acres ran north along the Mississippi River from Carss Street. Much of my energy in retirement was dedicated to maintaining and beautifying this property. I very much enjoyed sharing the land with the wider community; having a community compost pile, hosting a winter solstice bonfire gathering, having a sunflower walkway and allowing the wider community to walk the property with their four-legged friends.

I am now in my mid-80s. Memories of my life, work and community involvement in Mississippi Mills are very special to me. I want my estate to give back to this community, which has given my family and me so much. As a result, I have arranged to sell the bulk of my property at 38 Carss Street to a local developer.

The proceeds of this sale will be used to create a foundation in my family’s name that will provide funds for youth in Mississippi Mills to access tutoring, therapy and important life opportunities.

My hope is that the Al Potvin Family Foundation will help to empower the kids and youth of Mississippi Mills to reach their potential. I invite you to consider donating to the Foundation by visiting Our youth are our future, and I do hope that you will join me in supporting them in this way. The land will be developed in a way that respects my wishes, including public access to the river front, community green space and gardens, a children’s play structure, creative built form and a mix of unit types that fosters inter-generational living. At the suggestion of the purchaser, the development will be called Hilan Village. My hope is that this development will provide a new and inspiring model for land development in the Ottawa Valley.

I would like to thank my wife Shirley Deugo for supporting me in creating the Al Potvin Family Foundation. I would also like to thank my three children Chris, Janice and Paul for being the directors of the Foundation.

Finally, I would like to thank Tom Affleck, whose leadership and faithfulness helped to bring my legacy vision to life. I am grateful to be able to serve the community of Mississippi Mills in this way.

With appreciation,
Al Potvin
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