Community Connections – November 2015

Welcome! We invite you to read these stories to get up to date with the latest news from the Community Foundation. Join us as we celebrate community, and the many generous donors and contributors who give back to Bowen. If you have questions, comments, or ideas for our next newsletter, we invite you to get in touch with us! 

(Bowen Island from St. Mark’s summit – photo credit Robert J. Ballantyne)

Chair’s Message 

Since the formal launch of our “For Bowen, For Ever” Campaign on October 20th, we have been grateful to receive donations to our various funds. The Board is both humbled and delighted. Thank you so very much for such a successful launch, and for investing in your community. Our donor appeal letter, as appended, has been delivered to each mailbox on Bowen Island. The letter may not have reached our donors who receive mail off-Island; hence it is included in this newsletter.

Dear Neighbour,
Your Community Foundation is pleased to announce our 2015 fundraising initiative: For Bowen, For Ever.  The name of this year’s campaign says it all: proceeds raised will be invested on Bowen to support our community – today and into the future.

Why the Bowen Island Community Foundation?
There are many worthy charities and we strive to earn your support as part of your charitable giving.  We are the community’s charity, dedicated to giving back to Bowen by supporting local causes.  Our goal this year is to exceed the $150,000 raised last year, and to broaden our current donor base of 300 by engaging additional supporters. The Foundation is administered by a volunteer Board and is committed to transparency, accountability and integrity. Your participation as a donor enables us to support a variety of grants and initiatives, such as those noted at left. We invite you to visit our website to review the full extent of our charitable history.

Your Donation Works Your Way
The choice is yours. We have funds that put your donation to work right away, including our Community Impact Fund, which allows the Board discretion in determining the benefactor and provides the opportunity to support the community as priorities emerge.  Our Helping Hand Fund confidentially helps Island families in need, and our new initiative, the Youth Fund, supports youth activities.

When you donate to one of the Foundation’s special purpose funds (click here to access the online Giving Campaign form), your gift is invested with the Vancouver Foundation and the income generated annually is re-invested on Island for that specific cause.

We welcome and appreciate your gift and, even more importantly, your participation in helping to grow and sustain the work of your Community Foundation.  Tax receipts are provided for amounts in excess of $20.

On behalf of the Board, thank you for your consideration, and thank you to those of you who have already made a contribution this year.  We accept the responsibility of managing your gift as a steward in helping to build a caring community.


Soren signature

Soren Hammerberg – Chair

Sally Fitz-Gibbon, Andrea Verwey (Bowen Island Community Foundation) and Tina Nielsen (Bowen Island Public Library)

Bowen’s Community Foundation:
For Bowen, For Ever 

Sally Fitz-Gibbon had a great idea. She wanted Bowen Islanders with disabilities to be able to enjoy Bowen’s trails. Her solution – her great idea – came in the form of an all terrain Mountain Trike, a trail-friendly wheelchair, powered by the energy of able-bodied friends and family.

That’s where the Bowen Island Community Foundation stepped in. Sally knew of the Foundation’s annual provision of community impact grants, a total of $27,500 in funds this year, to be used to support a range of endeavours within our community – and she applied.

The Foundation’s “For Bowen, For Ever” October 20th event at Cates Hill Chapel was the launch of its 2015 fundraising campaign, but it was also an opportunity to celebrate the present – to announce this year’s community impact grant recipients. Sally Fitz-Gibbon, with the Bowen Island Library, was among the successful applicants, receiving $5,850 to permit the purchase of this trail-friendly wheelchair for community use. A portion of this grant will be made available from the Maggie Cumming Fund, an individual legacy that promotes access to Bowen’s trails. The storage and free rental of the push trike will be managed by the Bowen library, as part of the “Med Shed” program.

Other recipients of community grants included Clean Energy Canada, a non-profit organization based on Bowen Island, and prepared to leverage a grant of $12,500 to install solar panels at the Bowen Island Community School, an initiative that will feature both savings in energy and a strong educational component. The Foundation also awarded $6,160 to Jack and Julie Headley’s heralded Tir-na–Nog Theatre School Society to help replace aging lighting equipment.  And a final grant of $2,990 went to the Bowen Island Football Club to help develop the Open Men’s Football program (a grant of a similar amount will be made each year to one of Bowen’s sports organizations).

It was an evening of celebration, with wine and cheese, and more than 100 islanders in attendance. Board Chair Soren Hammerberg opened the night’s festivities and introduced the Foundation’s community ambassadors for 2015. These are all islanders well-known for their spirit of giving, committed to our community, and representative of a range of ages and backgrounds, willing to encourage donors to contribute, and to spread the word about the work that the Foundation is doing: Paulo Arreaga, Brian Biddlecombe, Darryl Deegan, Katherine Gish, Piers Hayes, Mary Letson, Shelagh MacKinnon, Louise McIntosh, Kevin Manning, Noah Pryce-Jones, Donna Scorer, Erwen Smith, and Ted Spear.

The Bowen Community Foundation has become Bowen’s charity, giving back to the community since 2004, with funds that enhance social, cultural, environmental and artistic endeavours.

For those who are considering future bequests to the community from their estates, now may be the time to embark upon such an initiative. A generous donor will provide an immediate grant of $10,000 to the Bowen Community Foundation for a cumulative total of $100,000 in estate bequests made this year. As Board Chair, Soren Hammerberg noted, “One such bequest, or a number of bequests totaling $100,000, would be wonderful, but it is the community’s participation in its own charity that is most important. We are grateful to our generous donors who have made it possible to fund creative ideas like Sally’s. As Bowen’s charity, our goal is to continue to develop awareness of the Foundation as a steward of local philanthropy, and to encourage more supporters to take part, which will serve to strengthen our ties to each other and to the community”.

2015 Fall Grant Recipients:
Celebrating Community Giving

The Foundation’s Grants Committee recently awarded $27,500 from the Community Impact Fund to support a variety of Island organizations and initiatives. This investment is made possible by generous donations received from Bowen Island Community Foundation supporters. Grants awarded include:

  • $12,500 to Clean Energy Canada to help fund the installation of solar panels at the Bowen Island Community School (BICS);
  • $5,850 to the Bowen Island Public Library Foundation (partner to applicant Sally Fitz-Gibbon and gift recipient Bowen Island Public Library) to fund part of the purchase of a Push Mountain Trike trail-friendly wheelchair for community use;
  • $6,160 to the Tir-na-nOg Theatre School Society to help replace lighting equipment; and,
  • $2,990 to Bowen Island Municipality (partner to the Bowen Island Football Club) to help develop the Open Men’s Football Program.

BICS Solar Panels – Natasha LaRoche, Clean Energy Canada 

(Cheque presented by Andrea Verwey)
Clean Energy Canada (CEC) has developed a partnership with BICS and the West Vancouver School District for this project. The solar panels will be gifted to BICs, and the project will include blending the learning from the solar panels into curriculum in myriad ways, with Clean Energy Canada’s support. The total cost of the project is $50,000, with  $25,000 being offered by a private donor to CEC’s Solar Now! Project, provided that Bowen Island can match that amount. The Foundation’s grant of $12,500 will be a base from which CEC will raise a further $12,500. Once the project funds are in place, the solar panels will be installed in early spring 2016 – perhaps during spring break in March.

Mountain Trike Push – Sally Fitz-Gibbon & Bowen Island Public Library 

As highlighted in the previous story, the application by Sally Fitz-Gibbon tells a great story about how a small, good idea put forward by a Bowen Island resident can blossom into a well-considered, well-supported, community initiative. The grant will allow the Bowen Island Library Foundation to buy a Mountain Trike Push and gift it to the Library, and will enable Bowen Island residents with mobility issues to experience our beautiful trails. The Library will make the wheelchair trike available to Bowen Island residents to borrow for the day in the same way they borrow items for the Med Shed (however, in this case, with a credit card deposit).  The Library will also assume responsibility for maintaining and storing the bike, and will insure it as part of their insurance policy through the Municipality.

Tir-na-nOg Theatre School Lighting – Jack Headley and Julie Tetzner 

The lighting equipment that Jack and Julie Headley are using at Tir-na-nOg is fast reaching the end of its life – it is a system that was donated and installed by a patron 25 years ago, and it is already starting to fail. The funding request for a new lighting control console and two 6-channel dimmer strips is expected to last and meet growing needs for 20 years, with new features that will expand the school’s capacity to teach lighting techniques to Tir-na-nOg students.

Open Men’s Football Program – Rick Gruneau

The competitive men’s football club has been awarded a one-time grant to bridge the gap between 2015-16 team costs and their projected income (including player fees). The monies will give the relatively new team a chance to build its player base without concern for player means; build corporate sponsorships; replace uniforms and equipment; reduce travel costs for players by chartering Peter King’s bus on occasion; and, offer high-level guest coaching. In their application, the team’s Head Coach, Rick Gruneau, demonstrated vision and leadership particularly in relation to the intergenerational connections being made by the men on the team, and the team’s work in training future coaches for Bowen Island’s youth teams.

Introducing the Bowen Island Community Foundation’s Ambassadors 

Ambassadors pictured from left to right: Shelagh MacKinnon, Noah Pryce-Jones , Piers Hayes, Louise McIntosh, Brian Biddlecombe, Darryl Deegan, Mary Letson, Katherine Gish, Paulo Arreaga, and Ted Spear. Missing from photo: Kevin Manning, Donna Scorer, and Erwen Smith.

We are proud to introduce the Community Foundation’s Ambassadors, a mix of outstanding community citizens. The role of the Ambassador is to help build awareness and understanding of the work of the Foundation, and to encourage other members of the community to consider getting involved and supporting the Foundation. If you see an Ambassador out in the Cove, please thank them on behalf of the community!

Meet the Bowen Island Community Foundation Ambassadors

Corporal Paulo Arreaga

Corporal Paulo Arreaga is originally from Costa Rica and immigrated to Canada in 1985. His family of 10 was fortunate enough to settle into beautiful North Vancouver when they came to Canada. A proud member of the RCMP for 15 years, Paulo thinks living and working on Bowen Island is another dream come true that he is lucky to share with his wife Lucia, daughter Maya, and little baby due in December.

Brian Biddlecombe

Brian has been coming to his family cottage on Bowen since early 50’s and moved here full time in 1977, with his wife Leanne. His children and grandkids were raised on Island, and still live here. Brian has been a member of Bowen Fire & Rescue since 1978, was Fire Chief from 2003 to 2014, and has been owner of Cormorant Marine for 37 years.

Darryl Deegan

Originally from Montréal, Darryl studied theatre at Dawson College in Montreal and at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He moved to Vancouver in the late 80s to pursue his dream of acting. To help pay the bills, Darryl started art directing music videos for the likes of Sarah McLachlan and the Grapes of Wrath. His success led to a career in film production in both Vancouver and Toronto that lasted almost 14 years. He was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Art Direction in Podeswa’s “The Five Senses.” Darryl moved back to the coast and fell in love with Bowen and has been here for 7 years. He lives a much simpler life away from the glamour and red carpets and, as he says, “I am is just fine with that.”

Katherine Gish

Katherine has lived on Bowen Island since 1995 and loves this amazing place we all call home! She has sat on the board of the CSA for 10 years, the PAC for 4 years and the board of the TBCA for 3 years, as well as helping out at various other community events.  Community engagement is very important to her and she sees the work of the BICF as vital to the well being of all Bowen Islanders and looks forward to helping in any way possible.

Piers Hayes

Originally from the UK and with a background in marketing and IT, Piers was transferred to South Africa where he met his wife Joan in Cape Town. There they started a family and became interested in sailing. With their 3 children, they embarked on a 4 year sabbatical on a 42 ft yacht to New Zealand. They crossed the Southern Atlantic OK, but somehow, Piers’ South African Navy celestial navigation got a bit ‘iffy’ and they washed up on Bowen. After which, they got to realize a long held desire to start a coffee shop, Bowen’s beloved Snug Café. “BEWARE, what you wish for”, says Piers, “we’ve never worked so bloody hard in all our lives!” Piers is the charter President of The Rotary Club of Bowen Island founded 5 years ago.

Mary Letson

Mary is passionate about her community, and loves a grass-roots approach to fundraising efforts. As a small, established business owner, she has adored focusing her energy and resources over the years to pull all these threads together to create events such as Tri for CHAC, the Reindeer Run and Aaron’s Run. Mary says that supporting our island in a “sweaty, loving way” is the Positively Fit philosophy!

Shelagh MacKinnon

Shelagh has worked on Bowen Island since 1998, at The Little Red Church. She also serves as the Spiritual Director at The Orchard Recovery Centre, The Padre at The Royal Canadian Legion, and President of The Rotary Club of Bowen Island. Shelagh loves this island and its people and is glad to serve, with others, on the Helping Hands Fund, which is a conduit for community caring for people experiencing financial difficulties associated with ill-health or other financial circumstances or crises.

Louise Mclntosh

Louise moved to Bowen Island 29 years ago with her husband Dave. Although armed with a background in banking, she chose to raise their two children on Bowen. Loving the challenges of a small community, Louise was honoured to be a founding member of Bowen Island Family Place and board member of The Bowen Island Preschool. Dave and Louise founded Bowen Waste Services in ’94 and also manage the Bowen Island Recycling Depot. Their company is proud to administer the very popular fundraising opportunity at the Bowen Island Recycling Depot where over a dozen local charities share in an annual income of over $35,000. Louise says, “Bowen Island is a special place that I will be forever grateful to be a part of as it is of me.”

Kevin Manning

Kevin grew up on the North Shore and completed his post secondary studies at SFU and Concordia. For the better part of a decade he travelled the world with his wife before settling down to raise a family together on Bowen in 2005. He is the branch manager of First Credit Union’s Bowen Island branch.

Noah Pryce-Jones

Noah is a born and bred Bowen Islander. He is an integral part of a large and colourful Island Family that has deep roots in this community. Having spent his whole life here, he is extremely committed to his home and has sought to make this community a better place for himself, his wife Rachel and their small son Dillon and all of the young families on the Island. Noah continues to grow his family Landscape Company, Home Farm Gardens Ltd., with his Mother, Rosie Montgomery and his Sister, Corrina Headley, in order to provide employment for himself and others here on Bowen Island and to be part of a worldwide network of farmers who are striving to be self sustaining and to provide locally grown food from the family farm for their communities

Donna Scorer

Donna Scorer’s passion for the development of young children has been expressed through her years of classroom teaching, curriculum writing, and initiating of performing arts opportunities for families. Her concern for family life is now especially evident in her accompanying of refugees newly arrived in Canada. On Bowen Island she is board chair at Knick Knack Nook, the island’s thriving thrift store, and is a member of the committee that allocates municipal funds to local organizations. Her grand-mothering keeps her moving between Bowen Island (Emmett and Tobin) and Edmonton (Cole, Charlotte, and Clark)!

Erwen Smith

Erwen spent most of his life in the Automobile business. In the 50’s he sold British cars, including Hillmans, Humbers, and Sunbeams.  In the 60’s: American Nash Ramblers, & Jeeps.  Toyota arrived late in 1964 and in 1970 he became a Toyota dealer, at the Downtown Toyota Centre on Burrard. Erwen and his wife Patty are long time Bowen residents and dedicated supporters of the Foundation. Erwen may be found riding his scooter the length of Bowen to find a tennis game.

Ted Spear

Ted has taught for over 20 years in public and independent schools in Manitoba and British Columbia. In addition to being the founding Head of Island Pacific School, he has served as the Middle School Principal at Mulgrave School in West Vancouver and was the founding Principal of Dwight International School on Vancouver Island. He likes to play Ultimate when the students let him.

Two young golfers given BIGA scholarships

Kim Stephens, Lucas Puri, Jack Welsh and Bruce Russell

Submitted by R.B. (Bruce) Russell, BIGC Vice President, Special Projects

On behalf of the club, I was delighted to be joined by Kim Stephens, Bowen Island Community Foundation director, for the presentation of the Bowen Island Golf Club’s two $750 Junior Scholarships on September 5.

The scholarship awards, to Jack Welsh and Lucas Puri, are in keeping with the club’s belief that “golf + education = a good combination.”

Jack was awarded the BIGC – Penny Moul scholarship while Lucas received the BIGC – Herb Paterson scholarship. Both Jack and Lucas have been active junior members of the club, worked summers at the course, had excellent scholastic marks and are good members in the community. They are two fine young men.

Jack is entering his second year at the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at the Okanagan UBC campus, in pursuit of a major in history. In accepting the award he thanked the club for its generous support, his years as a junior and his summer employment.

Lucas is entering his first year at Simon Fraser University at the Beedie School of Business in pursuit of a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He too thanked the club for the financial support, his enjoyable years as a junior member and his summer employment at the course.

The Bowen Island Community Foundation has administered this unique scholarship program from the outset; unique because there are very few clubs which have such a segregated program. Our scholarship program is a great source of pride. The fund balance is currently $36,000+ from which only the interest can be used for annual scholarships.

Donations to the Bowen Island Community Foundation, earmarked for the BIGC Junior Scholarship Fund, qualify for income tax receipts.

Youth Council Update

The Bowen Island Community Foundation is pleased to introduce the new Bowen Island Youth Council.  They held their inaugural meeting at the Youth Centre on Thursday, November 12th.  The Youth Council is composed of 11 members representing youth from ages 13 – 24.  As representatives of youth on Bowen Island, they will be working together to determine what community projects might best serve the needs of Bowen youth.  It’s a new and unique opportunity in partnership between the Bowen Island Community Foundation and the Bowen Youth Centre with an ultimate goal of enhancing the quality of life for youth on Bowen.  This initiative has been made possible thanks to the support and generosity of one of our donors.  Stay tuned for updates!

Upcoming Events – Wine Tastings for the Helping Hand Fund

Join Paul Rickett of the Bowen Island Beer and Wine Cellar for some upcoming wine tastings supporting the Community Foundation’s Helping Hand Fund, an emergency response fund for Bowen Islanders in crisis, delivered confidentially via local community organizations. The Wine Cellar will donate .50¢ from each bottle of the wine being featured that is sold. 

  • Friday, November 20, 3-7pm. Winery: Spierhead, a Kelowna winery with a strong connection to Bowen – the winemaker lived on Bowen from 1988-2002. Spierhead will donate an additional .50¢, so $1 from each Spierhead bottle sold will benefit the Helping Hand fund. 
  • Friday, November 27, 3-7pm. Winery: Bench 1775

Thank you Paul!

Supporting the Work of the Foundation
If you would like to learn more about the work of the BICF, and how donor contributions are making a difference in our community, please visit our website

To find out about making a donation to the Foundation, please visit the donor section of our site. With your continued financial support, the Foundation works to make Bowen a better, more caring community. Tax receipts are issued for all donations over $20.

We welcome your questions, suggestions and contributions and hope to hear from you!
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