As Bowen Islanders entered the doors of Cates Chapel for the Annual General Meeting of the Community Foundation, they were offered a glass of wine and a selection of cheese and other appetizers. The chapel was close to full during the evening of April 21st: it was a celebration of the past year’s accomplishments, highlighted by the Chair’s report, presentations to our 2016 grant recipients, and the announcement of some changes to the Board – incoming board members Henry Campbell, Michael Cornelissen and David Podmore, and presentations to outgoing members Kathy Bellringer, Colleen O’Neil, Andrea Verwey and Kristen Watson.
The above photos tell the story of the evening, capped off by a presentation to Board Chair Soren Hammerberg from outgoing Board member Colleen O’Neil. “Soren is exceptional, even in unexpected ways”, Colleen noted, “happily accompanying Julia and I while we bought shoes at the Calgary meeting – and offering informed opinions on our choices”.
It was a wonderful evening, with tasty wines from Paul Rickett of the Bowen Beer and Wine Cellar, a fine selection of appetizers, and most important of all, convivial conversations about the importance of living in a caring community.
You can enjoy the full meeting courtesy Kim Stephens, our board photographer/videographer, below.
2015 was a remarkably successful year. The Foundation continued in its efforts to match donors with community needs, taking a number of significant steps towards our ultimate goal of building a more caring community.
The year brought considerable growth in our financial assets and, as a result, in our capacity to grant. The current total of funds under administration has now reached $1.2 million and our capacity to provide grants to Bowen Island’s many non-profit organizations now sits at about $50,000 per year. We continue to rely upon the resources and expertise of the Vancouver Foundation to assist in the management and investment of our Funds. Their access to sophisticated tax and giving strategies, and their world class financial managers, continue to provide us with very sound returns on our investments.
We are pleased to report that total donations to the Community Foundation were 50% greater in 2015 than in 2014. We are most appreciative of this support from the community and we acknowledge our responsibility in managing these proceeds. As Bowen Islanders we should be very proud that we care so compassionately about our neighbours and community. We are developing long term endowment funding that keeps giving back to Bowen. Accordingly, our annual fundraiser is now appropriately referred to as “For Bowen, For Ever”.
This year, we implemented a Strategic Plan that identified three main pillars, the Foundation’s role as leader in community philanthropy, in donor relations, and in building a stronger Foundation. We have followed through on this plan in a variety of ways:
All of our work is administered through a volunteer Board of Directors who care passionately about our community. On behalf of the Board, I wish to express appreciation to the Foundation’s donors for your confidence and support.
This year, we invited a group of Ambassadors to represent our values and help communicate our message. We want to express our appreciation to these community partners, listed in the ‘Top 10’ article in our June 2016 newsletter here.
In addition, the Board is delighted with the work of our Helping Hand Committee, Shelagh McKinnon, Bob Andrew, Amanda Ockeloen, Gary Ander and Spencer Grundy. Kudos also to our Youth Committee volunteers, John Stiver and Sarah Haxby. Many Island organizations have also helped with fundraisers on our behalf and we wish to acknowledge Paul Rickett at the Bowen Island Beer and Wine Store, Mary Letson of Positively Fit and Barry Thomas of MacDonald Realty.
Our grants over the past twelve months have been extensive and wide-ranging. We are delighted to have awarded eight grants over the past six months, totaling more than $50,000:
The Board continues to evolve with the appointments of Henry Campbell, Michael Cornelissen and David Podmore as Directors (full biographies can be viewed here.)
Kathy Bellringer, Colleen O’Neil, Andrea Verwey and Kristen Watson all retired after serving extensive terms, and making significant contributions to the work of the Foundation.
The Artist in Residence program has seen the involvement this year of artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and his majestic sculpture ‘SEI’ (see article here). The Board also wants to express its appreciation for the past use of Andrew Plewes’ iconic image of Bowen Island ‘View of Bowen from Black Mountain’. Our intent is to continue to highlight the work of a Bowen artist on a revolving basis.
Finally, in 2016, the Board has identified academic scholarships and an intent to endow the Helping Hand Fund as priorities for this year. With the support of the community, we are confident that we can make both a reality.
In closing, I want to say that is a privilege to serve as Chair of the Foundation. With your help, we hope to continue to make Bowen Island a more caring and compassionate community.