The Bowen Island Community Foundation has been a part of Bowen’s culture since 2001, and now has almost $1 million in funds from community donations, with an annual granting programme, and the goal of using these funds to support arts, culture, education, recreation and the social well-being of Bowen Island residents.
Who are the Community Foundation’s board members? Like Bowen’s population, the directors come from diverse backgrounds – we have three directors with extensive experience in business, three lawyers, two communications specialists, an environmental expert, an educator, and a health professional.
But even though one might want to classify members of the Board by their backgrounds, they can’t easily be grouped into occupational silos. Jennifer Pardee, one of our two most recently appointed board members, was the principal of Bowen Island Community School from 2010 until her retirement in 2015. She’s also committed to the environment, with kayaking and cycling on Bowen as longstanding pursuits. Our other most recent appointee, Joanne Gassman, a recently retired senior Vice-President with the Bank of Montreal, also serves as a member of the board of the Streetohome Foundation, a Vancouver–based organization dedicated to ending homelessness in the city.
Kathy Bellringer has an MBA from the Ivey School of Business, and has also been actively involved with both regional and urban art galleries.
Our treasurer, Kristen Watson, is the Manager of Finance for the Bowen Island Municipality and a Certified General Accountant. She brings significant charitable sector accounting experience with her past work with Endswell Foundation and Tides Canada. She’s also an active volunteer with several Bowen Island organizations, and currently serves on the board of the Bowen Island Gymnastics Club.
Jennifer Hall has extensive experience in communications and project management in Japan and Thailand, and is an avid outdoor enthusiast, with hiking and kayaking as an important part of her life on Bowen. She is also one of the founding members of Bowen Island Gives! (BIG!) – an Island group that organizes an annual charity climb up Mt. Gardner.
Kim Stephens is a professional engineer and the Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, a non-profit society that is the hub for a “design with nature” approach to land development. Again, Kim’s skills extend beyond those of a professional engineer, into a portfolio of communications – linking local government initiatives with the provincial government, through his carefully constructed and collaborative processes of facilitation.
Julia McCaig has a wealth of experience in publishing, media and marketing, and we rely on Julia for her knowledge of web technology. She also volunteers for Bowen’s Caring Circle Health Resource Centre.
And then there is Colleen O’Neil, who has worked as a nurse in a wide range of settings, from emergency to palliative care. Colleen is also actively involved in Bowen’s Caring Circle and in the community, whether working diligently to establish better health care for Bowen Islanders, or participating in a wide range of golf tournaments.
Andrea Verwey, one of three lawyers on the Board, practised labour and employment law in Canada and Australia for a decade before moving into a management role with a Baker & McKenzie, a global law firm. She is now a consultant to lawyers and other professionals in the areas of communications, mentoring, productivity, and career effectiveness. On Island, Andrea recently co-facilitated the Municipal Council’s strategic planning process with Joyce Ganong.
Neil Boyd is a 35-year resident of Bowen, who trained as a lawyer but works in the education field as a university professor – yet another crossover.
And, finally, there is our indefatigable Board Chair, Soren Hammerberg. He is a lawyer, a teacher and mentor, having not only started his own litigation firm, but also having taught for both UBC Law School and Continuing Legal Education.
It’s quite a cast of characters, and although we all have diverse backgrounds, what we share in common is a love of Bowen Island. We represent all Islanders, and it is our honour and our pleasure to serve you. We invite you to learn more about us, and about what we, in partnership with the community and our donors, are trying to do to help make Bowen a stronger and more caring community.