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The Jill Ackhurst Social Action Fund makes its first grant

Play inspired by Reena Virk story will be performed for students

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The Whistler Arts Council has been awarded the first grant from the Jill Ackhurst Social Action Fund.

"We are very happy," said the council’s executive director Doti Niedermayer.

The $1,000 will be used to bring Green Thumb Theatre to Whistler Secondary to perform The Shape of a Girl for the School Planning 10 class. The play was inspired by the Reena Virk story: the real life tragedy of a teenaged girl killed by a group of teens.

"We would not have been able to bring the production to the high school without that money because we had no budget for it and neither did the school," said Niedermayer.

"Both the Arts Council and the school felt it was a very important subject to bring to Whistler, especially in the form of a theatrical production which is so much more accessible to students than say a lecture."

While the production is not open to the public all the students’ parents are invited to watch it with their kids when it is performed in February.

"What I am really hoping for is that a lot of the parents who are invited will be able to come," said Niedermayer.

"It is not just a school thing it is something you can talk about at home."

Friends and family of Ackhurst, a leading member of Whistler’s community who was dedicated to community development, created the fund in early 2004. She died on Dec. 27, 2003 from cancer at the age of 57.

The objective of the fund is to promote an awareness of issues affecting the health of all communities in the Sea to Sky corridor and to seek their solution through effective action. The Whistler Rotary Club has committed to making flow-through funds available to ensure that grants can be made in the first five years until the endowment fund is large enough to make grants.

The fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Whistler, which currently manages 19 funds totalling over $1.9 million. The investment earnings on funds donated by local residents, businesses and other charities are directed to projects that help improve the quality of community life.

For more information or to make a donation, contact the Community Foundation of Whistler at 604-935-8080.

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