With more than 100 years of history, and close connections to the City’s founding industries, the port is an engine of economic and community development in Hamilton.
HPA takes an active role as a community leader and investor. HPA operates a community investment program of leadership investments that will generate long-term, sustainable results. “To maximize impact, HPA has adopted a strategy of investing more, but with a smaller number of highly strategic charitable partners,” explains HPA’s Manager of Corporate Services, Sharon Clark. “Most recently, we announced a partnership with City Kidz, one of Hamilton’s best-recognized organizations. Through our new strategy, in-kind donations, fundraising golf tournaments, and corporate donations to City Kidz have totaled more than $250,000.”
Thousands of families throughout Hamilton have a connection with City Kidz, including the 2,300 children visited personally at their homes every week. While City Kidz programs for young children are well-established, the organization identified a need to provide programming to help guide youth aged 12 to 16.
With the support of the Hamilton Port Authority, City Kidz has developed a modern, multi-use space for programming and activities, complete with lounge areas, and a performance space. The Youth Studio is unique in Hamilton, and meets a need for a positive space designed with youth specifically in mind.
The new space has been made possible by a three-year, $60,000 commitment by the Hamilton Port Authority, which will support City Kidz programs and projects, including outfitting the Youth Studio with interior finishings, furniture, audio and video equipment.
“As I walk into the Youth Studio, I am thrilled that our youth finally have a place they can call their own, a place designed specifically for their program, their needs,” said Todd Bender, Founder and Executive Director of City Kidz. “I am most grateful for the continued support of the Hamilton Port Authority, enabling us to have an even greater impact on our community.”
HPA also works together with its 120 tenant companies, taking a team approach to community involvement. Port Partners like Richardson International, Lafarge, McAsphalt, Federal Marine Terminals and others have joined forces to support a Team Up to Clean Up day; an annual food and coat drive; and in 2014, the first annual Port of Hamilton Community Partner Fundraising Initiative. The objective of the fundraising initiative is to collaborate with our port partners, and take collective action to raise $50,000 to benefit one community project per year, multiplying the impact the port community can make.
HPA also identifies education and marine partnerships as areas for targeted investment, with initiatives that include an annual scholarship to a McMaster University student, participation in the Hamilton Children’s Water Festival, and the annual Doors Open event. On the marine side, HPA staff volunteer each spring to provide on-water safety support during the cold-water training season for local high-school rowing teams. Other initiatives include support for the Bay Area Easter Seals Regatta, Ontario Sailing’s ‘try sailing’ program, and the local Hamilton waterfront fishing derby.
Together, these community programs help to build a better understanding of the port’s active role on the waterfront, and provide a way for HPA to extend its positive contribution to the success of the City and its residents.
“In our business ventures, we prioritize return on investment, and the same is true for our community work,” said Bruce Wood. “We are fortunate to be working with some great local agencies who are making a huge positive impact in our city.”