Past Messages from the Executive Director


June, 2021

Hello everyone,


Summertime is nearly here and with it, the promise of participating in some of our favourite summer activities, visits to local beaches, outdoor dining and a closer return to 'normal'. We hope you and your family have stayed well throughout the lockdown.


Due to the great success of our first 2 on-line fundraising raffles, the CFM is offering our summer 2021 raffle beginning this week. Covid continues to play a significant role in charitable organization's abilities to adequately fundraise for the needs in the community. So we once again turn to you, our supportive friends and partners, to help us through this time period in order that we continue to be fully able to take care of the kids that need us most in Muskoka.


Please click on the links to see a full explanation of our 5 wonderful prizes donated to us by our much-valued partners at SWS Boatworks, Wilderness Tours Raft and Kayak, Canadian Tire Gravenhurst, Muskoka Surf and Turf, Muskoka Discovery Centre, and local artist, Nancy Watt.


Thank you in advance for your continued support of the CFM! Good luck in the raffle and thanks for being there for us and for the kids of Muskoka!


All the best for a great summer,

Dave Lyons.

March, 2021

Hello everyone,


Across the road from me, preparations are underway in the sugar bush for the upcoming maple syrup season. Looks like the end of winter is in sight! With it will come muddy boots, wet dogs, warm sunshine, and all the great spring and summer outdoor activities that keep us healthy and happy.


The winter has been a busy season for the Children’s Foundation as we’ve continued to work hard to meet the needs of kids in Muskoka during the pandemic. We were able to:


  • Provide beds and bedding to numerous kids across the region.

  • Support kids in registering for wonderful activities such as dance, taekwondo, and skiing.

  • Make a significant contribution to Trillium Lakelands District School Board to support their Feed All Four Fund (an initiative that supports children’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being) through the generous donations that came to us in honour of Muskoka resident and former teacher Deborah Niemi


We’re currently working with Camp Muskoka to run an on-going fundraiser through their All Star Coffee Charity. Did you know that 86% of your friends buy coffee - so why not buy this great coffee?! $7 from every bag sold goes directly to the CFM. Please go to the virtual store at https://allstarcoffee.com/teams/ac4ytki381/ and order yours today! A superb morning coffee while supporting Muskoka kids who need it most? What a way to start your day!!


Finally, our Toni Lynn Rizzuto Campership Fund is up and running. We’ve already approved a great number of applications for children to attend both day and residential camps this summer in Muskoka. Our camps are working extremely hard to prepare a safe and happy environment during these extraordinary times, so here’s hoping circumstances will permit kids to enjoy these much needed experiences.


On behalf of all of us here at the Children’s Foundation, we hope you and your family are well and thriving. Take care and … bring on summer!


Dave Lyons.

December, 2020

Hi everyone,


We hope this finds you well and happy and enjoying the lead up to the holiday season. While things may look and feel a little different for all of us this year, we certainly hope that you find many ways to support your well-being and joy over the holidays.


We at the Children’s Foundation of Muskoka feel enormous gratitude as we wrap up our last fundraiser and activities for 2020. Our modest hope was to clear $5,000 in our Fall Raffle (and $5,000 in the Summer Raffle). Our totals for these 2 events alone was over $29,000!! Add to this the hugely successful Rizzuto Golf Tournament, a Hard Gala’s Night, and other generous donations, and the Children’s Foundation is in a healthy place to fund applications and meet the needs of kids in Muskoka in 2021.


It is clear we couldn’t do any of this without incredibly kind and generous partners and supporters like you. There is no question that in Muskoka, we live the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. And what a great ‘village’ we live in!


So from all of us at the Children’s Foundation to you and yours this holiday season, we wish you health, happiness, and joy for the holidays and for 2021. We hope to see you all at a CFM function before long!


Take care and stay well,

Dave Lyons.

Oct 16, 2020

October 16, 2020.

Hi CFM Supporters,

While we are saddened to have to reschedule our annual Gala, we are excited to tell you that we have already begun to plan next years event scheduled for Saturday November 13th, 2021 at Hidden Valley Resort.

For this year, in our annual gala's place, we are hosting, 'A Hard Gala's Night' - a virtual fundraising event. Read on for more information!

A Hard Gala’s Night:

For the next 3 weeks, we will be selling tickets to 'A Hard Gala's Night'. This virtual fundraiser provides an opportunity for supporters of the Foundation to be there when it’s needed most! A ticket for this event is $75, you will receive a tax receipt for your donation and the following benefits:


  • You will automatically be entered into a draw for a 2021 CFM Gala VIP package (which includes a complimentary room and buffet breakfast at next year’s gala as well as much much more!!)

  • Priority ticket purchasing for the 2021 20th Annual Gala (which has limited seating and is sure to sell out early!)

  • An Early Bird 10% discount on tickets for the 2021 Gala


Tickets are on sale now! Join us on Saturday November 7th, along with our special guests when we will draw our VIP package winner. We hope you can join us then!

Take good care and stay well,

Dave Lyons.

September, 2020

Happy Autumn everyone!


We hope this finds you well and settled into a new school year and seasonal routines - as best as that can be accomplished in these slightly uncertain times.

The Children’s Foundation has seen a significant uptick in the number of applications we have received of late. It certainly indicates that our community is continuing to work hard to provide as many opportunities for kids as possible. It has certainly taken a significant amount of work and time on their part to put in place the necessary practises and protocols to ensure that activities can take place in a safe environment. We tip our hat and offer a sincere thanks to all the clubs, organizations, and services that have gone this extra mile - our kids certainly need these outlets to be wholly happy and healthy, especially during these times.

The CFM supported 120 applications through the spring and summer. About a third of the applications were for summer day camp, about a third for sports and recreation opportunities, and the last third included applications for beds, bikes, trampolines, and music and the arts.

We continue to be amazed and so grateful for the on-going support of the Rizzuto Family for the Toni Lynn Rizzuto Campership Fund. 37 children were so fortunate to be able to attend Back of Beyond Equine Centre, Great Moose Adventures, the Muskoka Discovery Centre, and the Town of Bracebridge Day Camps. All reports point to wonderfully positive, fun, and personal growth experiences - thanks so much to these camp partners in helping us make this happen.

Speaking of more good news, our summer fundraising drive was a huge success as we surpassed our goal of $5000 for our raffle by $7100!!! That’s a lot of dance, hockey, swimming and music lessons! Thanks again to our sponsors - Sandhill Nursery, Canadian Tire Huntsville, TruLOCAL Meats, and SWS Muskoka. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Finally, we sadly had to cancel our 20th Annual Gala this fall. But here’s some good news - it is officially re-scheduled for Saturday November 13th, 2021 at Hidden Valley Resort! We also have some exciting news with regards to fall fundraisers - stay tuned for upcoming details on our ‘A Hard Gala’s Night’ in October and our Fall Fundraising Extravaganza in November! Plans are in the works for a draw for a VIP experience for next year’s Gala - keep your eye on Twitter and Facebook (@CFM4kids and Children’s Foundation of Muskoka).

As I wrap up this edition of ‘A Message from the E.D.’, I’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Jill Golden, who served as our Board President for 10 years. She has recently stepped down from this role, but fortunately for us, will remain on the board as Past-President. Her compassion, wisdom, and tireless energy were inspirational for us all. A big thanks to longtime Board member Cheryl Cooper, for stepping into her role on an interim basis.

Take good care and stay well,

Dave Lyons.

July, 2020

July 2020

It looks and feels like summer is full on now with much needed visits to the local beach, dock, or splash pad a vital part of getting through a sweltering day! We hope you’re managing to find ways to stay cool and healthy as a hot summer unfolds.

The Children’s Foundation continues to work hard with our local community partners to ensure that we connect children to the things and supports they need to stay healthy and happy. Thanks to the generous support of the Rizzuto Family and the Toni Lynn Rizzuto Campership Fund, we have children attending or preparing to attend day camps at Great Moose Adventures, Back of Beyond Equine Centre, the Muskoka Discovery Centre, and the Town of Bracebridge Day Camps. Thanks also to Jen Nicholson and the Muskoka Mental Health Network for all they do and the partnerships they create.

Grant applications quadrupled in June for everything from beds to bikes to music lessons to upcoming and resumed sports and recreation opportunities. Needless to say, Covid-19 has made donating to charities a real challenge for residents, cottagers and businesses alike. In order to allow us to continue to support the physical and mental well-being of some of the neediest kids in Muskoka, the Children’s Foundation will be running a couple of much-needed fundraisers this summer including an on-line raffle (with some incredible prizes - thanks to Canadian Tire Huntsville, Sandhill Nursery, TruLOCAL, and SWS Boatworks!) in the month of July as well as co-hosting Muskoka’s Incredible Race in August (crazy Muskoka fun for all ages!). Visit us at childrenofmuskoka.com for raffle tickets and more information and muskokasincrediblerace.ca to register.

We hope you’ll join us in working to support the kids that need us most in Muskoka - especially this summer when so many opportunities to be involved in the things they need to truly make summer feel like summer are not available.

Stay well and take care,

Dave Lyons.

July 5, 2020

It looks and feels like summer is full on now with much needed visits to the local beach, dock, or splash pad a vital part of getting through a sweltering day! Hope you’re managing to find ways to stay cool and healthy as a hot summer unfolds.

The Children’s Foundation continues to work hard with our local community partners to ensure that we connect children to the things and supports they need to stay healthy and happy. Thanks to the generous support of the Rizzuto Family and the Toni Lynn Rizzuto Campership Fund, we have children attending or preparing to attend day camps at Great Moose Adventures, Back of Beyond Equine Centre, the Muskoka Discovery Centre, and the Town of Bracebridge Day Camps. Thanks also to Jen Nicholson and the Muskoka Mental Health Network for all they do and the partnerships they create.

Grant applications quadrupled in June for everything from beds to bikes to music lessons to upcoming and resumed sports and recreation opportunities. Needless to say, Covid-19 has made donating to charities a real challenge for residents, cottagers and businesses alike. In order to allow us to continue to support the physical and mental well-being of some of the neediest kids in Muskoka, the Children’s Foundation will be running a couple of much-needed fundraisers this summer including an on-line raffle (with some incredible prizes - thanks to Canadian Tire Huntsville, Sandhill Nursery, TruLOCAL, and SWS Boatworks!) in the month of July as well as co-hosting Muskoka’s Incredible Race in August (crazy Muskoka fun for all ages!). Visit us at childrenofmuskoka.com for raffle tickets and more information and muskokasincrediblerace.ca to register.

We hope you’ll join us in working to support the kids that need us most in Muskoka - especially this summer when so many opportunities to be involved in the things they need to truly make summer feel like summer are not available.

Stay well and take care,

Dave Lyons.



June 3, 2020

Hello everyone!


The blackflies and mosquitoes have arrived and so too have some hot days to bring the hope of another summer in Muskoka. We hope you and your family are well and finding some outlets to stay busy, positive and healthy.

We at the Children’s Foundation continue to work hard during this health crisis to ensure that the needs of some of our highest risk kids are met. It has looked a little different for us these past 3 months. While we haven’t been able to fill grants for soccer, baseball, dance, music or other activities or lessons, we have been able to support applications for things that support healthy active living at home such as bikes, trampolines and climbing sets as well as more critical needs such as beds and food and donations to our local food banks.

While overnight camps have been prohibited from operating during the summer of 2020, we anxiously await word from the government regarding day camps and summer recreational programs. We have been in touch with our local town recreation departments and day camp providers and are ready to support applications on short notice if and when they are approved to operate. Please continue to check our social media feeds and our website for updates.

At this point, the Children’s Foundation, as with many other charitable organizations across Muskoka, face a serious funding shortfall. We certainly see a time in the not too distant future when sports and recreation organizations will be gearing up for new seasons and we want to be there to ensure children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate due to financial barriers are able to do so. If you, your organization or business is able to support the Children’s Foundation during 2020, it would make a tremendous difference in the lives of the children of Muskoka. Please visit us at childrenofmuskoka.com or canadahelps.org to help us in this work.

On behalf of the Board of the Foundation, we wish you a healthy, happy June. Stay tuned for further updates in the coming days and weeks.

Take good care,

Dave Lyons.


April 14, 2020

Hello and happy spring! We hope this finds you and your family well and settled into a healthy home routine during this challenging time.

On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors of the CFM, we wanted to let you know that we are continuing to work hard with our community partners to support the kids in our community who need us most. We understand that the needs of our children haven’t changed and may in fact be greater and we’re here for you.

We’ll continue to accept and fund applications where applicable, however, for those activities or supports currently on hold, we’ll defer your application until such time, in the not so distant future, when things are back up and running.

With regard to our Toni Lynn Rizzuto Campership Fund, we are in regular contact with our camp partners and the Ontario Camps Association to determine if we can proceed with our camp applications. You are welcome to make an application for summer camp (see the link on our website). We will contact you when we have clearer direction with regard to registration.

In the meantime, remember that the road to well-being lies in ‘feeding all four’ - our mind, our body, our spirit, and our emotions. We wish you and your family all the best for good health, happiness, and resilience as you feed all four every day. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of any support or if you would like to join us in helping build happy, healthy kids in Muskoka.

Take good care,

Dave Lyons.