Community Foundation awards $150,000 in local grants

Thirty-four local charities that provide essential community services and enhance life on the Sunshine Coast were awarded more than $150,000 by the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation this year. A total of $91,000 in grants were handed out at the annual grants ceremony hosted by the foundation at Gibsons Public Market on June 17.

Grants were awarded in three categories: 13 organizations successfully applied for grants that were awarded at the discretion of the foundation’s board of directors based on recommendations from the grants committee; four organizations received grants from endowments that were established by generous community members for their benefit; and one charity received a grant from an endowment that it had established itself. In addition to the grants handed out on June 17, the foundation made 15 direct grants to charities that have established their own endowments or are recommended by donor advisors. 

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Ceremony guests also heard about the importance of community belonging from Andrew Chunilall, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada. 

The foundation is unique among Coast charities in investing most of the donations it receives to generate earnings. Those revenues are the source of grants that are awarded to local community groups. 

“As the size of the permanent investment grows, we are able to provide more grants each year,” said foundation board chair Vicki Dobbyn. “We are currently stewarding more than $5 million in 63 permanent endowments and have distributed more than $1 million in grants since 2005,” she added. 

One successful applicant to the community grants program was the Festival of the Written Arts for a pilot project to provide real-time captioning services for the hearing impaired during this summer’s festival. “We are thrilled and grateful to receive this grant,” said festival producer Jane Davidson. “It’s the next step in our journey to make the festival as accessible as possible,” she added. 

The foundation also made a grant to the Sunshine Coast Community Services Society to extend its successful Parent and Tot Family Resource Program from Gibsons to Sechelt. “This program has been very well received in Gibsons and we look forward to providing this same service to parents with young children in Sechelt,” said Shirley French SCCSS Family Resource Coordinator. 

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station in Pender Harbour received a grant to ensure that new recruits have the skills they need to perform lifesaving activities in a marine emergency. “Getting our equipment out on the water for training is essential to being prepared when an accident occurs,” said station secretary Sarah Corsie. “This grant will help us make sure that our team is ready for whatever comes our way,” she added. 

The full list of grants awarded in 2019 is available at

– Submitted

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