Community Foundation awards $35,500 in community grants

Laura Ruloff (Cates Hill Chapel), Jack Resels (BIRCH), Robyn Fenton (BIRCH), Jacqueline Massey (BIAC), David McCullum (BIRCH), Sam Nosek (Disc golf course), Julie and Jack Headley (Tir-na-nOg), Nerys Poole (B.I. Conservancy) and Holly Graff (Community Foundation). Photo by MARIO SILVA


The 2019 Bowen Island Community Foundation’s annual general meeting on April 26 was a celebration for the entire community. The foundation awarded $35,500 to various Bowen charitable organizations and the Knick Knack Nook awarded an additional $40,000 for community initiatives.

The foundation also announced new funds: the Kipp Thompson Memorial Bursary and the Bowen Youth at Risk Fund and a new Neighbourhood Small Grants program.

Kipp Thompson grew up on Bowen Island. He was a talented musician who also experienced difficulties with drug dependence. He died last year at the age of 24. The Kipp Thompson Memorial Bursary celebrates the many strengths of Kipp’s life. As many of his friends and family have noted, he was happiest on stage, performing. This annual bursary will provide funds for a Bowen Islander to pursue the performing arts in Kipp’s memory. In concert with the Bowen Arts Council, the first award will be made later this year.

The Bowen Youth at Risk Fund is, at least in part, related to the tragedy of Kipp Thompson’s early death. There is a need for more support of young people on Bowen Island, whose lives and opportunities are frequently compromised as a result of drug use. This fund will provide substance use education for the community and treatment and counseling for young islanders.

Contributions to these two funds can be made at any time on the foundation’s website

In addition to these two new endowment funds, the foundation announced that it is partnering with the Vancouver Foundation to provide the Neighbourhood Small Grants program. The Neighbourhood Small Grants program will provide grants of up to $500 to people who want to make a difference in their neighbourhoods on Bowen. A grassroots community committee will consider requests. More information will come later this year.

The $35,500 in grants announced Friday came from the foundation’s Community Impact Fund. Project-based grants are selected on their potential for measurable and sustainable impact. Here are the 2019 grant recipients:

Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing Society (BIRCH) received $15,000 for affordable housing. BIRCH’s purpose is to develop and manage diverse, permanently affordable housing on Bowen Island. With 87 per cent of Bowen’s housing stock being single family homes, there is a severe lack of diverse and affordable housing options. This grant will go toward the phase one feasibility stage of BIRCH’s first project to build approximately 20 units of rental housing on Lot 3 of the Community Lands.

Cates Hill Chapel received $2,500 for kitchen renovations. Cates Hill Chapel is widely used by the entire Bowen community. Rent is kept low to make the available spaces affordable. With few larger facilities available for public use, the chapel has been more widely used than anticipated and often at maximum capacity. Over time it has become evident that a more functional kitchen would greatly benefit all who use the space. This $2,500 grant will help with the renovation of the existing kitchen so that food can be prepared and heated, large quantities of dishes can be quickly cleaned, and tableware can be stored efficiently.

Bowen Disc Golf Club and Island Pacific School received $7,500 for the construction of a disc golf course. Partnering with Island Pacific School, the Bowen Disc Golf Club has secured 2.3 hectares of land in Veterans Park from the municipality to build an 18-hole disc golf course. The course has many benefits including being a year-round outdoor recreation area, preserving the land as park space and attracting visitors. This grant will help prepare the land for the course.

Bowen Island Conservancy received $5,000 for a Marine Conservation Atlas. The Bowen Marine Conservation Atlas will inspire awareness of and engagement in local marine conservation issues and celebrate the recovery of our marine neighbourhood. The atlas will have layers, from scientific to local knowledge from citizen scientists, divers, and fishers to traditional knowledge from Coast Salish members. The grant is for the general design of the atlas, layout and maps.

Bowen Island Arts Council and Bowen Island Public Library received $3,000 for a truth and reconciliation workshop. For the past three years, under the banner of Knowing Our Place, the Bowen Island Public Library and the Bowen Island Arts Council have organized events and activities to help develop our community’s relationship with and stronger ties to local First Nations. This grant will go toward a workshop for community leaders and representatives of nonprofits on how to develop meaningful relationships and work with local First Nations.

Tir-na-nOg Theatre School Society received $2,500 for a sound system. Tir-na-nOg provides year-round courses in theatre arts education for young people. In addition to providing educational and a performance space for the students of Tir-na-nOg, the auditorium is frequently available for concerts and performances of other groups. For many of these events, a sound system is an essential ingredient and this grant will go toward such a system.

The Bowen Island Community Foundation helps build a resilient community and strengthens Bowen Islanders’ sense of belonging by engaging citizens, organizations and local government to work together and contribute their money, time, ideas, expertise and energy to serve the community. Additional information on the foundation can be found on its website


Sheree Johnson, Director
Bowen Island Community Foundation

published May 2, 2019
Bowen Island Undercurrent


From the editor:

Also announced at the AGM was $40,000 in Knick Knack Nook grants. These include $1,500 to BIAC for a Syrian art exhibit, $4,100 to Bowen Children’s Centre to support children with special needs to attend day camp and financial assistance for families in need, $9,800 to the library for Cove Commons furniture, $3,000 for the disc golf course, $3,800 for Seniors Keeping Young, $6,300 to BICS for accessible playground elements, $1,000 to the conservancy for outdoor events, $5,000 for B.I. Food Sovereignty’s future of food program and $5,500 to Bowen Heritage for programs and events.