By Kerry Chalmers
Glacial ice, green roofs, snowboarding inner-city youth, forest
history studies and expanding community capacity through dialogue are examples
of the dividends being invested in Whistler through grants from the Community
Foundation of Whistler.
The Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW) will never deplete
its donations as it is committed to sharing the fruits of its investments with
other community-based organizations, making it arguably one of the most
sustainable organizations in our resort community. The CFOW is a registered
Canadian charity founded in 1999. Our vision is to improve the quality of life
in Whistler by enabling, demonstrating and encouraging philanthropy in Whistler
Community foundations are different from other non-profits
because they exist to support communities as a whole. The operating structure
of community foundations is such that we never deplete our resources. Instead,
we use them to grow the capacity of other community-based organizations, hence
contributing to the overall sustainability of a community.
A community foundation is different from other charities in
that we do not spend our donations. The donations go into endowment funds,
which are like savings accounts where the capital is never touched. The capital
is invested in the financial markets, and the income is returned to the
community in the form of grants. The donations continue to grow in perpetuity.
Thus, a community foundation is essentially a community’s most sustainable form
of support. The CFOW uses this structure to ensure that funding will be
available for the community each and every year — forever.
The CFOW is proud to have a portion of our endowments invested
in a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) portfolio. This is an investment
account that deals only with companies certified as socially and/or
environmentally responsible. These are companies whose business and financial
practices are screened.
Corporations such as tobacco companies or companies that have poor
environmental practices would not be deemed as “socially responsible” and hence
are not qualified for investment.
SRI, or mission based investing, is a way for community
foundations to use their financial assets to further their mission.
In the past, SR investing was not very popular because it was
believed that SRI portfolios earned lower returns. However, research is now
showing that this is simply not true. Many companies today strive to be
certified by the
Sustainable Responsible Investment
socially responsible because this certification builds market confidence in
their product and increases the pool of potential investment opportunities.