On Sept. 7, L’Arche Saint John hosted a dinner gala with special guest, the Honourable Frank McKenna. It was fantastic to gather with members from our L’Arche community and the greater Saint John business community, many of whom were not familiar with L’Arche prior to the event.

Frank shared a story that evening that particularly struck a chord with me. Have you heard of Miscou Island? It’s a beautiful little island on the north shore of New Brunswick. It was once accessible only by a ferry that ran when there was no ice in the Miscou channel. When there was ice, residents had to take a risk and drive across – sometimes ending in tragedy.

At the time that Frank was serving as Premier of New Brunswick, he knew he had to do something to help make this journey safer. Though Frank knew this was the right thing to do, the province didn’t have the money. Nevertheless, they scraped and fought and found a way to build a bridge and provide safety and security for people year-round.

The story reminds me in some ways of L’Arche Saint John. While the province funds about 50% of our annual expenses, our staff and board need to work very hard to find the remaining 50% every year.

When so much energy is placed on finding cash to run McKim House and Creative Connections, it distracts from pursuing new opportunities to build community by adding an additional home or offering another day program.

Yet, year after year we persist because it’s the right thing to do. The need in Saint John for better housing and supports for adults with intellectual disabilities is significant. And so, we continue to look for ways to make our funding more stable and predictable.

At the event, we announced key growth updates, including a bridge we are trying to build to provide safety and security for our own community members year-round. With contributions from supporters and partners like you, our new Brighter Futures Fund, an endowment fund we created in partnership with the Greater Saint John Community Foundation, will provide important financial stability in perpetuity.

The event with Frank McKenna was an important step towards sustainability and growth for L’Arche in Saint John and New Brunswick. We have heard from many in attendance that they were touched by our message. We built significant awareness and support for our mission.

I invite you to keep in contact with us as we develop our Brighter Futures Fund and plan for exciting growth opportunities with partners.

Thank you for your continued support.

Jim Kokocki
President, L’Arche Saint John

Leave a comment