Invested in Community: Gord Gallaugher
The founding director, president and chair of the Dufferin Community Foundation is well known in Mulmur for his longtime passion for local politics, community service and charity work.
These days, Gord Gallaugher is best-known as a founding director, president and chair of the Dufferin Community Foundation, but he credits his long – and very active – participation in local politics and community service with setting the stage for this initiative: “I would never have done the foundation without my experience in public life.”
Gord’s involvement in the community should come as no surprise. For more than 150 years, six generations of the Gallaugher family have called Mulmur home – and a history of the township abounds with the names of family members who engaged in civic works.
Gord himself spent 12 years on Mulmur Township council, including six years as mayor, and on Dufferin County council, where he served as warden. These positions also required him to sit on many committees and boards, dealing with fire, library, police, hospital and other health care concerns. This service “educated me on what the social needs of the community are,” he says, and his knowledge of these needs sparked him to envision the Dufferin Community Foundation.
The community foundation concept works like this: a pool of money is donated, creating an endowment fund; this fund is then invested and the return on the investment is granted to charities and other qualifying organizations year after year, while the capital is preserved forever.
The DCF was launched in 2018 after three years of planning. Already, about $1.5 million has been donated and invested. In 2023, the foundation expects to disburse about $50,000 among Dufferin charities. Though Gord has contributed to many important community issues over the years, he sees his work with the foundation as the part of his legacy that will have the greatest long-term impact.
In 2014, the University of Guelph agriculture grad retired from a career in agribusiness and as a part-time beef cattle farmer. He also worked part-time in his wife Sandra’s travel businesses in Shelburne and Orangeville. Since retiring, Gord estimates that his involvement with the community foundation takes up about 50 per cent of his working time. But his strong commitment to community service doesn’t stop there. He is active in Headwaters Communities in Action, and he also does some work at the Shelburne Public Library and at Trinity United Church. “I don’t have a lot of hobbies,” he says. “It gives me a reason to get up in the morning.”
Gord may have retired from farming – “My farming these days is limited to a supersize garden, though I sell a few raspberries and Christmas trees,” he says – but the next generation of the Gallaugher family carries on in Mulmur. One of Gord’s two sons works at Honda but lives on family land; the other farms full time on both the farm where Gord lives and the original family farm next door.
Of his years of public service, Gord says, “You get the best education one can ever get in a democratic country. You learn how systems work, and you learn what to do to implement change.”