Local scholarship founder hits first of two fundraising targets



By Ron Giofu


A local scholarship founder has hit her first fundraising target and is now aiming to finish the job.

Cessidia De Biasio, founder of the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship (ADL), announced that they have reached the first fundraising milestone of $25,000.  She stated the ADL Scholarship needs the community’s help in reaching their ultimate fundraising goal of $40,000 and has put out a “call to action” to raise the remaining $15,000.

By reaching, their first fundraising target of $25,000, De Biasio said the first of two scholarships will be able to be awarded to either a graduating University of Windsor student or a student in second year or above. The first presentation will be in January.

The remaining $15,000 needed will allow for a second scholarship to eventually be awarded.

According to De Biasio, “to sustain the values inherited from our ancestors and to teach future generations about overcoming adversities, this endowment needs to raise $40,000 so that each year, two first-or second-generation Canadian University of Windsor student leaders can each be given a $1,000 scholarship. Everyone receives a tax receipt for their donation. Every donation counts! The ADL Scholarship appreciates donations from everyone and also welcomes organizations, businesses, and community groups who hold fundraising events to benefit The ADL Scholarship.”

Cessidia De Biasio holds one of the brochures promoting the Addolorata De Luca Leadership (ADL) Scholarship. She founded the scholarship and recently hit the first of two fundraising targets.

De Biasio, 24, graduated from the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work in 2015 and just recently graduated with a business degree.

“We are excited to be announcing our first milestone. It has been 2.5 years in the making, and I cannot wait until we reach $40,000,” she said. “I fundraised all by myself. It was a lot of hard work.”

The scholarship is named for her grandmother and “to commemorate Addolorata De Luca’s perseverance and strength as an immigrant to Canada,” De Biasio founded The Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship in November 2015. De Biasio stated that her grandmother “taught her children about the importance of hard work, perseverance, and determination.”

Addolorata De Luca grew up in a poor family, obtained a Grade 3 education and raised five children after being widowed. She came to Canada and provided for her family, doing whatever it took, including washing dishes, planting vegetables for local farmers and working long hours picking tomatoes.

DeBiasio said the values taught to her by the grandmother inspired her “to ‘pay-it-forward’ to help other students.” She stated “this charity acknowledges the selflessness and determination of all immigrants while giving back to the next generation of leaders. The students who will receive this scholarship must be first-or second-generation Canadians and demonstrate leadership in his/her community and at the University of Windsor.”

The ADL Scholarship values the importance of collaboration and partnership. The charity works closely with various community members, businesses, and organizations.

“I’m grateful for all the Windsor-Essex support thus far. So many companies and leaders have come forward and contributed and we are so grateful” said De Biasio, a lifelong Amherstburg resident and graduate of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School.

For more information or to donate, visit the charity’s website at or e-mail

De Biasio also states the public can keep up on the ADL Scholarship on Facebook @theadlscholarship and Instagram @theadlscholarship.

Mayor gives update into Belle Vue fundraising issue



By Ron Giofu


Mayor Aldo DiCarlo is trying to provide more information as to issues regarding Belle Vue fundraising, starting with where money for a study came from.

Town council discussed Belle Vue as part of a two-hour in-camera meeting after the regular meeting of council had ended Monday night, with Belle Vue fundraising being one of the in-camera agenda items. DiCarlo said “there will likely be more coming forward” as it relates to Belle Vue, but did emphasize the $12,000 earmarked for the Crown Park Corporation is not coming from the taxpayers.

“I think the taxpayers have to know this is not taxpayer money,” said DiCarlo.

The $12,000 comes through the Amherstburg Community Foundation, which DiCarlo said is donor money. The Amherstburg Community Foundation (ACF) has been around since 2009, he added, noting that another recent project it was involved with was the resurfacing of the Miracle League field.

“The ACF has been an open body,” he said.

Work is continuing on the new roof at Belle Vue. (Photo by Paul Hertel)

DiCarlo said he was unaware that there were those that were unfamiliar with the organization and said that there was no intent to keep things quiet.

“The ACF is not a secret society at this point,” he stated.

According to DiCarlo, the Crown Park Corporation was brought in to perform one duty, with that duty being identified two weeks ago as being a study.

“The Crown Park Corporation was contracted out for a very specific task,” the mayor stated. “That task has been completed. Where we go from here is up to the Amherstburg Community Foundation.”

The Belle Vue Conservancy has been raising funds to refurbish the 200-year-old Dalhousie St. mansion and whether they remain the primary fundraisers is up to the conservancy, the mayor stated. He added the town remains open to grants and other sources of funding as they try to get the property and building restored.

“I guess we’ll see how it unfolds,” he said.

More information on the Belle Vue Conservancy can be found at while donations to the Amherstburg Community Foundation, the town’s fundraising arm, can be made at The conservancy’s funds that have been raised during the last two years have been subsequently turned over to the town and its foundation.

Questions and tempers raised as fundraising expenditure discussed



By Ron Giofu


A question over an accounts payable to the Crown Park Corporation that was labelled for Belle Vue fundraising sparked a contentious debate Monday night.

Town council allowed Michael Prue, treasurer of the Belle Vue Conservancy, to speak and Prue questioned a few Belle Vue related expenses, with most of them being connected to the ongoing roof construction. When he got to the line about the Crown Park Corporation, he expressed curiosity and told council “we don’t pay for any fundraising.”

CAO John Miceli, after conferring with treasurer Justin Rousseau, said it was not actually for the Belle Vue fundraising but rather a planning study for the Amherstburg Community Foundation for fundraising efforts for all town initiatives.

Miceli said the study looks at raising money for town endeavors without having to rely on going to the taxpayers. A $6,000 payment was listed under the accounts payable section but the CAO indicated it was a $12,000 report.

“There are two payments of $6,000 to tell us how to fundraise?” asked Councillor Jason Lavigne, who also wanted to know who is on the foundation, when they meet and whether council can see minutes of their meetings.

Rousseau indicated the Amherstburg Community Foundation is a “holding account” and that money is reimbursed by the foundation for any cheques the town cuts. He said taxpayer money wasn’t used on the study.

“Who supported the $12,000 is the question,” Lavigne pressed. “Who paid the $12,000 for the study? I think we all want to know.”

Miceli said there are efforts being made to “accelerate” fundraising and that now “we have a study that will help us.” He said that funds raised by the foundation may be used for Belle Vue but research has shown that not all donors want to donate to Belle Vue and those donors may want to give funds to other projects.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said both himself and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale sit on the foundation.

Councillor Diane Pouget wondered if Crown Park Corporation had been hired by the foundation and Miceli said the foundation hadn’t hired anyone. The study was done in order to raise more money for the foundation, with the CAO adding the Belle Vue Conservancy has done a “great job raising money” but other avenues wanted to be explored by the foundation.

Prue emphasized he spoke up because he didn’t understand the fundraising expenditure.

“We’re fundraising for nothing,” he said.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he recalled getting updates when the Libro Centre was being built on the fundraising process.

Pouget said she called earlier Monday and was told by Rousseau it was for Belle Vue, and was upset with the responses she was getting at the meeting.

“I expect the treasurer to tell us the truth,” she said. “I am asking on behalf of the constituents.”
Rousseau said he had yet to review the document, and gave Pouget the most accurate information he had when she called.

“I gave you the best information I had this morning,” he said during Monday’s meeting. “If that has fallen short, I apologize.”

Administration is expected to give council more details on the matter at an upcoming meeting.

University student aims to honour past, help other students’ futures


By Ron Giofu

Addolorata De Luca grew up in a poor family, obtained a Grade 3 education and was widowed, forcing her to bring up five children.

De Luca came to Canada and provided for her family, doing whatever it took to provide for her family including washing dishes, planting vegetables for local farmers and working long hours picking tomatoes.

Now, many years later, her granddaughter is remembering her struggles and wants to give back to the community in her name.

Cessidia DeBiasio created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship two years ago with the aim of not only giving back to University of Windsor students, but to honour her ancestors and the ancestors of others.

DeBiasio, who was born and raised in Amherstburg and is a graduate of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, said people in Windsor-Essex County have many stories of how the generations before them came to the area to make lives for themselves.

“Everyone has a story you can relate to,” said DeBiasio, “whether they have stories of where they came from or where their family came from.”

Cessidia DeBiasio, an Amherstburg native now attending the University of Windsor, has created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship. She holds a sponsorship card that is given to those who donate to her cause.

Cessidia DeBiasio, an Amherstburg native now attending the University of Windsor, has created the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship. She holds a sponsorship card that is given to those who donate to her cause.

DeBiasio is fundraising to help establish the scholarship, which she hopes will become an annual award. The endowment has to raise $40,000 in order that a deserving student can receive a $1,500 scholarship. She said the recipient will be selected by the University of Windsor’s student award and financial aid committee.

A graduate of the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work in 2015, she is still at the university pursuing a business degree and hopes to have a career involving corporate social responsibility.

While she has created the scholarship two years, she has been actively fundraising for the last 18 months in addition to her studies and other aspects of her life.

“It’s been a lot of work doing this,” said DeBiasio, with the 23-year-old believing she is one of the youngest people to pursue such an endeavor.

DeBiasio pointed out she has raised almost $20,000 thus far towards the scholarship. She has no timetable to raise the remainder of the $40,000, but would like to do so sooner rather than later.

“The sooner I can raise it, the better,” she said. “All donations are appreciated.”

For further information or to donate to the scholarship, visit, or e-mail People can also visit the scholarship’s Facebook page by searching “The Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship.”

Amherstburg resident joining area Rotarians for humanitarian trip to Ghana


By Ron Giofu


An Amherstburg man is joining a group of Essex Rotarians for an upcoming trip to Ghana.

Bert McLellan said he heard about the trip on television and decided he wanted to get involved. They leave Nov. 14 for just over two weeks on a humanitarian mission and McLellan is currently fundraising for the trip, with proceeds going towards the people of Ghana.

“This opportunity came up, they accepted me and I’m going,” he said. “I put my money where my mouth is. I’m looking forward to it. The nervous part is (fundraising). I’m not the type of guy who likes being noticed too much.”

Projects in Ghana will include renovating a dilapidated school in the village of Wurakase and purchasing new books, uniforms and desks for the students as well as distributing school supplies and toys. Three water wells will be drilled and the hope is to also build a sanitation facility featuring 12 flushing toilets, sinks and showers.

Amherstburg resident Bert McLellan is fundraising for his upcoming trip with Essex Rotarians to Ghana.

Amherstburg resident Bert McLellan is fundraising for his upcoming trip with Essex Rotarians to Ghana.

Medical professionals will treat people as McLellan points out they rarely get to see a doctor in Ghana. The team will bring 400 pounds of medicines to the African nation. Mosquito nets will also be put up and reading glasses distributed to those who need them.

“All the money I’m trying to raise goes to the projects,” he said.

McLellan has to pay his own way, meaning he has to shell out over $4,000. However, giving back is something he does regularly as he is a board member of the Park House Museum, an usher at St. John the Baptist Church and a retired Amherstburg firefighter.

For information or to donate, contact McLellan at 519-736-6707 or e-mail