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American non-profit donates to Whistler organizations



Three Whistler organizations will receive $60,000 in donations from the newly formed, non-profit, American Friends of Whistler.

"These donations mark the beginning of the American Friends of Whistler focus on helping Whistler non-profits achieve their goals and represent our initial focus on health care and community," said organization president Jeff Harbers.

Maurice Young Millennium Place will receive the largest donation of $34,000, the Whistler Health Care Foundation will receive $19,000 and Whistler Community Services Society will receive $7,000.

The donation to MY Place will go toward the Building Capital Fund.

"This proves that people will donate to a cause to which they are committed regardless of the economic climate," said Millennium Place general manager Rob Schwartz.

"AFOW recognizes the value of Maurice Young Millennium Place as well as our determination to fortify and enrich Whistler’s arts and cultural community for both locals and visitors."

American Friends of Whistler was started in July 2002. It is a U.S. registered non-profit and is incorporated in Washington State.

This allows Americans who donate to receive a charitable tax deduction which makes donating to Whistler as easy as donating to their local community.

Many Americans who have second homes in Whistler want to be more involved in the community, said Harbers, who has been travelling from Washington State since the 1980s to ski here and has owned a Whistler home since 1995 and spends a significant amount of time in the resort.

Just about everyone approached has wanted to sign up for American Friends since most are interested in the resort and the challenges it faces and love the time they spend here and want it to continue to be successful.

"I think we have had such a huge response because people would like to become part of the community and connect with the people who live here," said Harbers.

"They feel they are part of the community and not just outsiders who come to visit."

AFOW’s donation to the Whistler Health Care Foundation will purchase an automatic pneumatic tourniquet for use in the emergency room of the Whistler Health Care Centre.

The instrument is used to provide local anesthesia of limbs and is essential for the reduction of fractures, especially of the wrists and ankles. These are the two most common fractures treated in Whistler.

"This generous donation will help the WHCC physicians and nurses provide the high quality of care they strive to deliver," said Marnie Simon, president of the Whistler Health Care Foundation.

"It is very encouraging to know that our American visitors and home owners are committed to participating in the support of the WHCC and health care in our community. We sincerely thank them for their help."

The donation to Whistler Community Services Society will be split into two sections,

The food bank, which saw a 61 per cent increase in use from September to December this year over last, will get $5,000.

Another $2,000 will go to the Counselling Assistance Fund to support subsidies for private counselling to offset recent government cut-backs and changes to the mental health system.

"I was delighted to hear that the American Friends of Whistler wanted to assist Whistler Community Services programs," said Janet McDonald, executive director of WCCS.

"It is wonderful to see this group of part-time residents wanting to be involved and contribute to Whistler as a community.

"Receiving funds in this manner enables WCSS to better serve those in need in our community."

Donors can’t pick and choose where their money goes. Rather the board of American Friends of Whistler will investigate applications for support and channel the money. But it will be clear to donors which projects are supported.

For further information on the American Friends of Whistler contact Diane Diamond at 604-935-8417 or e-mail friends@whistlermillenniumpl.com

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