Dara Howell is an Olympic Freestyle skier from Huntsville, Ontario who won a gold medal in slope-style skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. She is the first freestyle skier to win a gold medal in this event.

Inspired by the support of her community, Dara and her family approached the Muskoka Community Foundation midway through 2013 about creating an endowment fund to give back to those who had supported them on her journey to the Olympic podium.

In April 2014, the Howell family created the Dara’s  Fund at the Muskoka Community Foundation. The fund will build a legacy and provide resources and opportunities for Muskoka’s female athletes who excel in any sport to pursue their dreams, regardless of whether or not they are attending a post-secondary educational institution.


To be eligible for a grant from this unique endowment fund you must be:

  • Female
  • A permanent residents of the District Municipality of Muskoka
  • Participating in any type of individual or team sport beyond the local club level regionally, provincially, nationally or internationally
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the True Sport values and principles to “Go For It, Play Fair, Respect Others, Stay Healthy, Have Fun, Include Others, Give Back”

Funding includes, but is not limited to those competing at post-secondary educational institutions as well as those at the regional, provincial, national or international level who are not pursuing a post-secondary education.

While the fund strives to grant to athletes competing in a variety of sports, both summer and winter, preference will be given to those competing in individual and non-traditional sports, such as freestyle skiing, surfing or tennis.

Funding can be used for:

  • Coaching fees
  • Team fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Equipment

Application Process

Applications accepted:
September 20 – October 29, 2021

To apply for funding from the Dara’s Fund download and complete this application and send to  Click here to download an application.

We will acknowledge that we’ve received your application, and we will contact you if we need additional information.

By signing this application the applicant expressly acknowledges and consents to release of information as required by MCF regarding applications received, decisions made and other matters relating to the granting process and in accordance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

All successful applicants will be asked to publicly acknowledge MCF’s support of their initiative and partner with MCF in sharing the good news about their grant and initiative with the community of Muskoka.

Approval of a grant does not commit MCF to future funding.

All decisions by the Muskoka Community Foundation board are final and not subject to review.