Although it just over two years old, the Community Foundation of Whistler has already started to pay dividends to local groups and initiatives $45,000 to date, according to Foundation chair Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
The Foundation was launched in October of 1999, and has since received endowment funds from the Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation, which were matched by the Vancouver Foundation, The Whistler Scholarship Society and the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
During the most recent round of grants, the Foundation awarded $5,000 through the Vancouver Foundations LEAD (Leadership, Development and Engagement) program, which was designed to fund local non-profit groups with innovative projects that use the talents and skills of residents to address local needs.
The Vancouver Foundation contributed $400,000 to LEAD in 2001, which was divided among the 30 community Foundations across B.C.
In Whistler, $2,000 went to the Whistler Naturalists to fund their speaker series, $2,500 went to the Whistler Museum and Archives Society and the Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group for compiling historical data on the local fishery, and $500 went the Whistler Community Arts Council for the annual Childrens Art Festival.
Earlier this year, the CFoW awarded $3,000 in scholarships to graduating Whistler Secondary Students. Patricia Epplett received $1,000, while Joren Titus, Morgan Titus, Rachel Walker and Douglas Widdess were each awarded $500 through the endowment by the Whistler Scholarship Society.
In April, the CFoW paid out $37,800 for the grants awarded in 2000 by the Environmental Legacy Fund. ELF was established by the municipality to support programs ad initiatives in the area of environmental rehabilitation, preservation and education.
Over the past three years, the municipality has contributed $300,000 annually to ELF from landfill tipping fees. The interest on that money will be disbursed every year.
The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, AWARE, received $14,000 for their community composting program, $11,000 for the community launch of the "Whistler. Its Our Nature" sustainability initiative, and $1,500 for their Valley Bottom Wetlands and Greenbelt projects.
The J.J. Whistler Bear Foundation received $7,800 for their Bear Smart Business sticker program.
Alta Lake School received $300 for their biodynamic gardening speakers series.
The application deadline for the 2002 ELF grants will be announced shortly.
The Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation endowed the CFoW with $25,000 for two years, which was matched by the Vancouver Foundation. The Vancouver Foundation oversees the disbursement of the funds.
The Foundations assets now total more than $1.3 million. Despite the downturn in the economy, the return on investments performed better than average.
The CFoW was created to consolidate funds for various local charities, and invest them to provide a greater return.