News » Whistler

Largest grant yet from Kathy Barnett fund

Board position still up for grabs on Community Foundation of Whistler



She's not just feeling honoured and grateful to be awarded the $5,000 Kathy Barnett Leadership Grant; Christine Buttkus is also experiencing a raft of memories about the woman for whom the grant is named.

"It was actually a bit emotional to think back to the time that I worked with Kathy and her quiet leadership style and how much I learned from her," said Buttkus.

"The way she quietly went around and got things done. She was always supporting other people. She didn't make a big show of it but she was a really positive role model."

Kathy Barnett, the founding publisher of

Pique Newsmagazine, was also a founding director the board of the Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW). Buttkus served for a time as its executive director.

Now, however, she is the outreach coordinator for the North Shore Schizophrenia Society (NSSS), a charitable organization that provides support and education services for families and friends caring for persons with mental illness.

Buttkus will use the grant to pursue a Leadership Residency at Royal Roads University, where she is working on her masters in Interdisciplinary Studies.

"I'm really grateful for the support and I think it's really going to help deepen my skills for the work that we're doing in the Sea to Sky," said Buttkus.

The Kathy Barnett Memorial Endowment Fund was created in 2008. It is designed to provide grants to women in the Sea to Sky corridor who are looking to improve their leadership skills in ways that will enhance their work with local community organizations.

Over the past two years the Kathy Barnett Leadership Luncheon has raised more than $40,000, which has allowed the endowment fund to grow. The growth in the fund means a larger grant is provided each year. This year marks the largest single grant since the fund was created.

The Kathy Barnett Memorial Endowment Fund is part of the CFOW, which oversees almost $4 million in donor funds and distributes the income to registered charities for community projects. Its annual general meeting was held on June 19.

New to the CFOW board are Jeff Devlin and Nicole Shannon, replacing retiring board members Rebecca Ford, Tim Lischkoff and Brad Kasselman.

One vacant position still exists on the board of directors. Community members are invited to contact the foundation. For more information go to