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Carol Coffey steps down as Community Foundation of Whistler director

Coffey held role with CFOW for more than seven years



a fixture of the Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW) is moving on after over seven years as the executive director of the local non-profit organization.

Carol Coffey took the position in 2011, after leading Whistler's animal shelter, Whistler Animals Galore (WAG).

"Non-profit organizations really struggle for support," said Coffey, adding that there were times when WAG struggled to cover her salary.

Under Coffey's leadership, the CFOW—which operates as a community long-term savings account by taking donations, growing them, and then granting them back to local charities—altered its funding strategy to help address this issue. "We adjusted our granting so we could support people and support the capacity building of non-profit organizations," said Coffey. "A lot of organizations have rules around what they will fund and what they won't fund—and many funders won't fund operations."

The approach has allowed the CFOW to support organizations like the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) in critical ways, said Coffey, adding that the CFOW has given it almost $400,000 over the years.

She also oversaw the rollout of the CFOW's Vital Signs reports, which collect statistics on key community health indicators and present them in an accessible format.

The reports have been used to facilitate important conversations about the direction of the community and foster an understanding that there is a wide array of experiences that people are having, said Coffey.

When it comes to finances, the CFOW has added a number of new funds to its investment portfolio, including the Emerald Foundation Fund and the Chili Thom Scholarship Fund, since Coffey's start.

The foundation's portfolio has also grown under her leadership, from about $3.5 million in 2011 to almost $7 million.

"It's a combination of people making donations to various funds or creating their own fund as well as growth in ... (the CFOW's) investment portfolio," said Coffey.

She will be moving to a full-time role at Squamish Helping Hands Society, where she has been working part-time for the two-and-a-half years. Helping Hands is currently working on the Under One Roof facility, which will provide low-barrier housing and supported living to vulnerable populations.

Claire Mozes, a long-time Whistlerite who has worked with the Whistler Community Services Society and most recently the Whistler Children's Centre Society, will replace her.

"When I saw this opportunity, it really spoke to me because I want to get back to making an impact in the community," Mozes said.

"I think I have some big shoes to fill ... I know (Carol Coffey) from my work in the past ... And I know she's done such an amazing job with the foundation, I'm ready to carry on her good work."

Summing up her time with the CFOW, Coffey said that she was delighted to meet so many dedicated people and foster collaboration between Whistler's non-profits.

"I have learned so much," she said. "It's given me the opportunity for so much personal and professional development. I'm very grateful for that."

Coffey's contributions to the foundation will be celebrated at the CFOW's upcoming annual general meeting, which will be held on June 11 at 5 p.m., at the Pan Pacific Whistler.

Guests are asked to RSVP here: