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Community Foundation of Whistler grants help out local groups

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Whistler Secondary’s first drama club got a helping hand recently when they were awarded a $1,500 grant by the Community Foundation of Whistler.

They money was a welcome surprise for the student production of Bye Bye Birdie, which is coming to life thanks to hard work, generous donations (more are needed), and parental financial support.

"We were doing it on a hope and a prayer that we would recover our costs," said Janet Hamer, the mother of director and Grade 12 student Lauren Collins.

"Now we have cash in hand so we can go out and buy the things that we need for the sets. We can go ahead and start putting down payments down on costumes too."

The show, a ’50s musical that spoofs an Elvis like character, will show at Millennium Place May 8 and 10. Tickets, available from cast members, are by donation and organizers are hoping most tickets will go for at least $10.

Several other community groups also received grants from the Community Foundation of Whistler.

The money, part of the Foundation’s Leadership, Engagement and Development program, is aimed at helping local groups with ideas for projects that build on existing strengths in the community.

The most recent recipients of the LEAD grants are:

• Sea to Sky Community Services — $2,500 to fund Strategic Planning for Services in Whistler;

• The Whistler Community Arts Council — $1,500 for a Web site Development Project;

• The Zero Ceiling Society — $1,159 to fund the local Peer Mentorship Program.

Over the past four years, the Community Foundation of Whistler has made grants to a variety of community causes including projects which focus on the environment, children, youth and families. It has also funded capacity development projects which help non-profits help themselves and the community.

"We were very impressed by the diversity of the applications we received this year," said Christine Buttkus, the foundation’s executive director.

This year’s LEAD grants were made possible by the Vancouver Foundation and income from the Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation Fund, which helps support projects for children, youth and families.

Founded in October 1999, the Community Foundation of Whistler is a charitable organization created to serve the community of Whistler. Unlike other registered foundations and charities, community foundations do not have to distribute most of the funds they raise in a year. Instead, community foundations build up their principal funds and provide money to organizations from the interest earned on the principal.

The Community Foundation of Whistler currently manages seven different funds donated by local residents, businesses and other charities. It directs investment earnings to projects that help improve the quality of community life.

"Because of the foundation’s focus on building permanent endowments, we are able to address long-term community challenges as well as immediate needs," said Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, CFOW president.

Donors who make a commitment or cumulative donation of at least $5,000 cash prior to Dec. 31, 2003 will receive recognition as Founders in perpetuity.

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