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A new organization which should remove a little bit of the municipality’s ever-increasing financial burden will be formally announced Saturday. The Community Foundation of Whistler will, which was incorporated a few months ago and which received its charitable tax number last week, will be launched at a private reception. Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, chair of the foundation board, expects to announce some individuals and institutions which will be donating to the foundation. "A community foundation is quite different from private foundations, which are required by Revenue Canada to divest most of their assets each year," Wilhelm-Morden said this week. Because private foundations, such as the Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation, have to give away most of the money they raise on an annual basis, they are constantly fund-raising. A community foundation, by contrast, is not required to "spend" all its money each year. Rather, a community foundation invests its funds and acts like a savings account. Grants can be made to all manner of community groups, but not to individuals. There are substantial tax benefits to individuals who leave money to community foundations in their wills. "It’s a way for individuals to obtain a tax benefit and also do something in a concrete way for their community," Wilhelm-Morden said. The Vancouver Foundation, which is one of the most successful in the country with approximately $450 million in endowment funds, has indicated it would provide $50,000 in seed money for the new foundation if a matching $50,000 in "new" money can be raised in the first two years. The Vancouver Foundation has made grants to Whistler in the past, including one for the Dandelion Daycare. The Community Foundation of Whistler’s mission statement is "to make grants for the benefit of the community." "We expect over the years to take on some of the role of the municipality’s grants-in-aid program," Wilhelm-Morden said. "We’ll be asking for applications each year." Monica Patten, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada, a national umbrella organization, will be on hand at the reception to discuss the community foundation concept. Former Whistler resident Deborah O’Mara Matovich, who was hired last year as a consultant to help establish the Community Foundation of Whistler, will also be on hand for the reception. Phillips Hagar and North Investment Management Ltd. has been retained to oversee the new foundation’s investments.

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