What began as a $25,000 nest egg raised by the Whistler Centre for Business and the Arts has grown into a $200,000-plus endowment fund, which will support the growth of arts and culture in Whistler for years to come.
"We are going to continue trying to grow the fund," said Ann Popma , founder and president of the Whistler Centre for Business and Arts as well as current chair of the Whistler Arts Council.
"We would like to have $1 million by 2010. We have a ways to go, but we are off to a great start."
Through funds generated by the Whistler Centre for Business and the Arts – an educational cultural organization that ran for 10 years in the 1990s – Popma was able set up an endowment fund, the Legacy Arts and Culture Fund.
Popma started with $25,000, held in trust by the Community Foundation of Whistler. However, thanks to support from Whistler-Blackcomb, the Festival of Lights and the American Friends of Whistler, Popma was able to raise an additional $48,500. Both the provincial and federal governments then matched those funds.
The Whistler Arts Council is the designated beneficiary. The arts advocates will receive yearly payments based on the interest accrued on the fund.
Whistler Arts Council members are currently organizing an advisory committee to determine how the funds will be allocated. The first monies will be received this fall.
"It’s a wonderful opportunity leading up to (2010)," Popma said. "We are looking to take advantage of that. We want to diversify (our) revenue base as much as possible."