The pandemic has not cooled enthusiasm among Bowen Island community organizations. Many of them turned to the Bowen Island Community Foundation (BICF) for project support in the coming year. Community Impact Grants are for projects that “have a measurable and sustainable impact on our community.” Community groups with a broad range of objectives came forward with ideas and we thank them all for their proposals.
For the 2021 grant cycle, BICF has granted a total of $41,000 across six projects that address challenges identified in the broad-based community consultations that the BICF held in 2017, called “Vital Conversations.” These priorities include: diversity and inclusion, environment and parks, sport & recreation, and environmental stewardship.
Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing (BIRCH) has been tremendously successful in securing support from the Bowen community and all levels of government in their efforts to provide safe, secure, and affordable housing on Bowen. The BICF is pleased to complement this support with a grant of $15,000. To provide funding to bridge the gap between today and the successful funding of the new building’s construction, maintain momentum and ensure that this vital community project is built as immediately as possible.
Bowen Island Children’s Centre Society is the recipient of a $3,000 award that will go towards diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging (DIEB) training for staff at the Children’s Centre. The grant will be used for a pilot program with the BCC’s After School Club. The After School Club is an essential service which, in addition to providing licensed childcare for families of school aged children, offers a social environment where children have an opportunity to share and appreciate people outside of their normal social circle. The DIEB program will foster a genuine sense of belonging and promote deep learning on the issues that impact “belonging.” The intention is to expand the program over time from ASC to all BCC students to other educational organizations on island. Scaling this program up for the entire island is critical.
Bowen Island Heritage Preservation Association is the recipient of a $3,000 grant to support the acquisition and planting of a pollinator chestnut tree (a companion for the existing chestnut tree) as well as their pandemic-adapted “Applefest online” event. Bowen Island has an untapped capacity for nut growing as a food source. The 150 year-old chestnut tree in Davies Orchard is extremely fruitful, but lacks a pollinator mate and the nuts are never fully formed. BIPA will use this grant for the acquisition, planting, and community celebration of a chestnut pollinator tree.
Bowen Island will have a new drinking fountain and water bottle filling station near the ferry dock, thanks to a project supported by Bowen Island Rotary Club. BICF is adding to that support with a grant of $2,500. This simple project will give access to water to many thousands of people waiting for the ferry in Snug Cove while not adding to the ever-increasing concern over water sold in disposable plastic bottles. The funds will go towards the purchase of the water fountain and electricians and plumbers from the community will donate their time.
The riding ring on Bowen Island is getting a much-needed upgrade thanks to a project initiated by the Bowen Island Horse Owners and Riders Association (BIHORA). BICF is pleased to participate in this project with a $15,000 grant. BIHORA has 71 members plus holds many public events to engage the public, including events with the B.I. Dog Ranch, the B.I. Trail Society, and the Bowen Trail Riders Association. The current footing in the ring in Crippen Park was installed in 2000. The footing has been in need of work for some time and needs to be replaced to ensure the safety of riders and horses during events, shows and pleasure riding, and for all the islanders and visitors who come to the shows and events and use the facility to play Frisbee, have outdoor gym class activities, etc. Additional funds for the project are anticipated to come from the Horse Council BC Core Funding grant, community fundraising, Pacific Parklands Foundation, BIM Community Grant, and Canada Healthy Communities Initiative grant. Many BIHORA members provide hundreds of volunteer hours for the maintenance and upkeep of the ring.
Finally, BCIF is pleased to be able to support the Bowen Island Football Club with a Bursary program. There is a genuine need in our community for financial assistance, as COVID-19 has had an inequitable effect on financial situations for families. BIFC is revitalizing their bursary program so it is possible to provide programming to all players, regardless of economic background or impacts of COVID-19. BICF is pleased to join the football club to ensure that soccer skills training reaches as many Bowen Island participants as possible. Once the BIFC recovers from the COVID impacts on the organization, the intention is to self-fund the bursary program going forward.