On April 30th, a crowd of more than 100 people gathered at Rivendell for the Donor Appreciation Reception and Annual General Meeting of the Bowen Island Community Foundation (BICF). The standing room only event was a wonderful celebration of giving – and community engagement on Bowen.
Board Chair Soren Hammerberg explained that the Foundation’s mission is “to contribute to the quality of life on Bowen Island by building endowments, making strategic grants and inspiring community leadership.” He went on to highlight some examples of the Foundation’s work in these areas over the past year: the 2014 Giving Campaign raised $150,000 towards building BICF’s endowment funds – more than double the amount raised in 2013. Further, grants made by the Foundation to community causes totaled a record $58,000 in 2014. And community leadership was demonstrated through the Vital Conversations event and the development of a Youth Council, an initiative sparked by the vision of a donor who recognized the need for mentorship and assistance to youth on the island. “This work, and our ability to make a difference on Bowen, is made possible by the generosity of our donors,” said Hammerberg. One such donor, local realtor Barry Thomas, attended the AGM celebration to present the Foundation with a cheque for $1,500.
Three grant recipients shared their stories, illustrating the direct impact donations received by the Foundation are making in the community. Youth worker John Stiver, who received a grant to provide both gym time and nutrition and cooking classes for youth, expressed his appreciation. “The kids absolutely love the cooking classes, and now, because the gym is open, they have somewhere to go. This grant has made such a difference for youth on the island,” he said. Holly Graff expressed gratitude for the grant she received, in partnership with Bowen Heritage, to develop a “Garden Gateway” at the entrance to Snug Cove – a project that recently earned her a Community Service Award from the BC Society of Landscape Architects. Her initiative has captured the imagination of many islanders who have pledged to donate their time and expertise to assist with garden construction. And finally Shelagh MacKinnon of the Little Red Church explained how the Helping Hand Fund offers an emergency response to Bowen Islanders facing extraordinary circumstances, supporting many families and individuals on Bowen through times of crisis.
To round out the evening, guests enjoyed a glass of wine and a presentation by Bowen Island’s own Road Show host, Jeanette Langmann of Uno Langmann Gallery, on the fine art of antique valuation and appraisal.
Thank you to all who attended and made the evening such a success!
I am pleased to provide an overview of the Bowen Island Community Foundation’s work in 2014.
During 2014 the Board updated and formalized the Foundation’s governance and structure; we merged our donor lists, revised our website and took steps to communicate more effectively and regularly with you – our donors and supporters.
Three major themes emerged this year – community leadership, building our endowments, and providing strategic grants to the community.
Community leadership is critical to the Foundation. We heard from you, through the dialogue created by our Vital Conversations event; you recognize that governments have limited resources, and you told us that you want improvements in health care services, a community centre where Islanders can gather, and a more civil and engaged debate on community issues. You want our assistance in providing the many Island charities and foundations with help in their granting processes. And we are pleased and honoured to have taken on these tasks. Our youth council, just under way, is an example of our efforts; thanks to the vision of a donor who saw the need for assisting and mentoring the youth of the Island, we now have a vehicle for improving opportunities and engaging our youth.
Our 2014 Giving Campaign raised $150,000 – almost twice the amount of 2013, and a several-‐fold improvement over previous years. We have three major ways for Bowen Islanders to donate – to an already designated endowment fund (for specifically mandated scholarships or projects), to our Bowen Legacy Fund (a contribution to a particular project or capital campaign – essentially your vision as an interested donor) and to our Community Impact Fund, a source that allows the Board to take your donations and apply them to the emerging needs of the Bowen Island community. We are especially proud of our administrative costs in building our endowments; every dollar that you give will find its way to its intended beneficiary – all of our administrative costs and our overhead are donated.
We were able to grant a total of $58,000 to the community in 2014. Some examples – we donated $15,000 to the Garden Gateway Initiative, a volunteer enterprise that will transform the entry to our island into a wonderfully pleasing cornucopia of plantings and structures. We provided funding for expanded gym time for youth, and a regular cooking class, where young people learn not only how to cook, but to work co-‐operatively to create healthy meals for themselves and their peers. And we provided additional monies to the Helping Hand Fund, an initiative that provides for emergency funding to Islanders who are working their way through difficult and extraordinary crises.
We hope and expect that this is only the beginning of an expanded mandate for the Foundation. Our goal is to be transparent and open in representing your aspirations. We strive to be the ethical stewards of your charitable gifts – to help you in building a stronger, more sustainable, and more compassionate Bowen Island.