Fretz Special Projects Fund

J. Winfield Fretz Special Projects Fund in Ontario Mennonite Studies

Sponsored by the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario

Dr. J. Winfield Fretz was the first president of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario (MHSO). This fund is named in his honour.

MHSO is a non-profit corporation with a volunteer board of directors, whose mandate encourages and supports a variety of projects that interpret Mennonite heritage through periodicals, workshops, seminars, public meetings, historical sites and publications. Supporting research and education into the history of Mennonites in Ontario is its primary focus.

The fund is available to any individual or charitable, church or community-based organization that requires financial support to assist in the research, publication, or presentation of the Mennonite story in Ontario.  Special Projects, publications or presentations could involve a variety of media or style such as, but not limited to, books, films, on line presence, artistic expression, or public event.  All projects should illuminate the experience of Mennonites in Ontario. Priority will be placed on projects that have specific plans to be disseminated in some form in Mennonite communities and available to the broader public.

Normally, $500 to $2,000 is available per project. MHSO reserves the right to allocate additional funding to specific publications or projects. In return for funding, MHSO requests that a copy, or documentation of the project in some format, be donated to the Society, and that the Society's contribution be recognized in some way as part of the project.  This could be within the publication, on line, or at a public event or presentation.

Applicants must submit a proposal that includes a description of the project, a timeline for its completion and a budget. Proposals should demonstrate how the project contributes to an understanding of Mennonite history in Ontario, how the quality of research is being ensured, and plans for successfully achieving publication, or otherwise evaluating the success of the project.

Proposals are assessed by the Fretz Special Projects Fund committee, a sub-committee appointed by the MHSO, in consultation with the executive committee of MHSO. Applications are accepted twice yearly. Deadlines for submission are the first of May and the first of October. Inquiries and applications should be submitted to:

Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
Waterloo, On   N2L 3G6

J. Winfield Fretz Publication Fund Recipients


To the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, $2,000 towards the publication of Over Mountains and Valleys : Letters Received by Bishop Christian Reesor of Markham from Members of Mennonite Communities in Indiana , Manitoba, Michigan, Ohio, Ontario and Pennsylvania During the Period 1859 to 1915 as organized and translated by his great grandson George Reesor. Written by George Reesor.


To Pandora Press, $1,400 towards the publication of The Mennonites of St. Jacobs and Elmira : understanding the variety  by Barb Draper.


To the Waterloo Chapter of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, $2000 towards the publication of Lorna (Shantz) Bergey : her literary legacy edited by Vernon & Leone Sherk, Sherwood Hagey, Dean Martin, Judy Rivers, Marilyn Sararus, Ralph & Dorothy Shantz.


To Theatre of the Beat, $600 towards the publication of Gadfly : Sam Steiner Dodges the Draft  by Rebecca Steiner and Johnny Wideman.


To Krik Barons, $400 towards the publication of Low German Mennonites of Aylmer, Ontario 1950-90.

To Theatre of the Beat, $2,000 towards the production of Yellow Bellies, a stage play on Mennonite conscientious objectors.


To Marion Roes, $2,000 towards the publication of Mennonite Funeral and Burial Traditions: Interviews and Personal Stories from Waterloo Region, Oxford, Perth and Wellington Counties.

To Clarence Cachagee and Seth Ratzlaff, $1,000 towards the publication of North Wind Man, Clarence’s story of being raised by a Mennonite foster family and his healing journey to discover his Indigenous identity.


To Brubacher House Museum, $1,500 for the Life Upstairs Digital History Project, an oral history of the live-in hosts of Brubacher House Museum.


To Marlene Epp, $2,000 towards the publication of Eating Like a Mennonite: Food and Community Across Borders.