Gatfield Family Foundation

Uncle’s love of history, roots at Belle Vue led to $100,000 donation

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The contracts have been officially signed and the cheque has been officially turned over.

The $100,000 cheque presentation from the Gatfield Family Foundation to the Belle Vue Conservancy took place on the front porch of Belle Vue last Friday morning. The donation was made by brothers John and Joe Gatfield, nephews of the late Father Ted Gatfield, and trustee with the BMO trust Lisa Mazurek with a main floor dining room to be named for the foundation.

It was originally announced last week.

“This is something that meant a lot to our uncle,” said John.

John added that one of the missions of the foundation is to preserve Amherstburg’s history, adding there is also a family connection to Belle Vue through Father Ted’s great-great grandfather.

The Gatfield Family Foundation made its $100,000  donation official last Friday morning. From left: CAO John Miceli, trustee with BMO Lisa Mazurek, John Gatfield, Belle Vue Conservancy director of  corporate outreach Linda Jackson and Joe Gatfield.

The Gatfield Family Foundation made its $100,000
donation official last Friday morning. From left: CAO John Miceli, trustee with BMO Lisa Mazurek, John Gatfield, Belle Vue Conservancy director of
corporate outreach Linda Jackson and Joe Gatfield.

“The Gatfield family has been in Amherstburg forever, so it seems,” he said. “We, as a family, are very pleased to help out.”
Noting that Father Ted would tell stories of playing as a child at Belle Vue, John said “we think he’d be very pleased that we are doing this.”

Members of the Belle Vue Conservancy and town administration were smiling before, during and after the presentation and John said their uncle would be pleased with that.

“He’d be happy to see the smiles on everyone’s faces here,” said John. “He’s smiling as well.”

John said they heard about Belle Vue and the goal of restoring it and the foundation discussed helping out. That led to a meeting with conservancy president Shirley Curson-Prue, treasurer Michael Prue and corporate outreach chair Linda Jackson. That meeting led to the Gatfield Family Foundation wanting “to do our part” to help save the 200-year-old town-owned Dalhousie St. mansion.

John Miceli, Amherstburg’s chief administrative officer (CAO), said that town council adopted a community strategic plan in the summer of 2016 which provided strategic direction for the town based on a community shared vision.

“Belle Vue was a key consideration identified by our residents in developing that shared vision,” said Miceli. “The historical and cultural significance of this tremendous property was recognized by our community and identified as a pillar of investment going forward.

The CAO stated that Belle Vue is “part of our past, our present and our future” and expressed thanks to the Gatfield family for the $100,000 donation.

John Gatfield, Joe Gatfield and trustee Lisa Mazurek sign the contracts which officially transferred $100,000 from the Gatfield Family Foundation to the Belle Vue Conservancy. The conservancy raises funds on behalf of the town of Amherstburg to restore Belle Vue, the historic home at 525 Dalhousie St.

John Gatfield, Joe Gatfield and trustee Lisa Mazurek sign the contracts which officially transferred $100,000 from the Gatfield Family Foundation to the Belle Vue Conservancy. The conservancy raises funds on behalf of the town of Amherstburg to restore Belle Vue, the historic home at 525 Dalhousie St.

“We are writing a new chapter in the story of Amherstburg and Belle Vue will play an important part in this novel to come,” said Miceli. “This partnership between the Gatfield Family Foundation, the Belle Vue Conservancy and the town of Amherstburg is just the beginning. This partnership emphasizes that. I am extremely excited as together, we continue to write the story of how this once endangered significantly historical property in Amherstburg was saved by a community that was unwilling to let it go and how we came together with the help of groups such as the Gatfield Family Foundation to restore this national treasure for the benefit of generations to come.”

The hope is that the $100,000 donation will lead to more donations with Michael Prue stating the town is doing well in the “This Place Matters” competition. Donations are also being accepted at www.amherstburg.ca/donate. Prue added they continue to seek donations from organizations and businesses.

A gala is also being planned as a major fundraiser Sept. 24.

The Belle Vue Conservancy, which is raising money on the town’s behalf for Belle Vue, is awaiting word whether the federal government will give them a grant for up to $1 million, a figure that would have to be matched.

“All of us together can do it!” Prue stated.

Gatfield Family Foundation to donate $100,000 to Belle Vue

Special to the RTT

The Amherstburg Belle Vue House National Historic Site will be receiving a major boost towards restoration efforts thanks to a $100,000 donation from The Gatfield Family Foundation.

Belle Vue was recently listed as one of the top 10 endangered properties in Canada by Heritage Canada National Trust.

The Gatfield Family Foundation will be presented with the naming rights to the main floor “dining room” in recognition of their generous donation. The dining room is one of five major rooms on the main floor to be named as part of the $1 million Phase 1 fundraising goal for the Town of Amherstburg and the Belle Vue Conservancy, the latter being a not for profit, volunteer committee.

“The Gatfield Family Foundation is pleased to support such an important Amherstburg heritage project such as the Belle Vue NHS restoration,” said John Gatfield a trustee of The Gatfield Family Foundation.

The Belle Vue Conservancy is thrilled to receive the donation.

belle-vue5

“We are absolutely thrilled to have The Gatfield Family Foundation partner with us,” exclaimed Michael Prue, treasurer of the Belle Vue Conservancy. “It is hoped that this major contribution will persuade others to support our efforts and those of the Town of Amherstburg in opening the doors of Belle Vue.“

The cheque presentation by The Gatfield Family Foundation to the Belle Vue Conservancy will be next Friday at 11 a.m. at Belle Vue, 525 Dalhousie St.

For more information on donating and obtaining a tax receipt, please visit www.bellevueconservancy.com or www.amherstburg.ca/donate.

Belle Vue is also in the “This Place Matters” contest where the top prize is $60,000. People can donate through that site as well with each dollar pledged equaling a vote. People can also vote without making a donation. Registering an e-mail is free and people can use as many e-mails as they have. Visit www.thisplacematters.ca/project/open-belle-vues-doors to vote.

The “This Place Matters” online competition runs through July 17.