It was a packed house at Cates Hill Chapel for the Annual General Meeting of the Bowen Island Community Foundation. Arriving guests were greeted by members of the Board and encouraged to enjoy drinks and appetizers, before the festivities began.
There was a lot to celebrate. The Foundation received about $180,000 in community donations in 2016 through its “For Bowen For Ever” campaign, and is now providing a comparable amount of funding for a range of community driven initiatives this year: the Cove Commons, an art gallery annex for the Bowen library, currently under construction at that site; a significant donation to the new toddler’s wing of Bowen’s Children’s Centre; the West Side Children’s Park, a nature-based playground for young children on the west side of the island; a long requested high quality screen and projector for the Bowen Island Community School gymnasium; seed funding for the design of a Bowen Bike park, next to the school; and a contribution permitting the installation of new community playground equipment at BICS.
The community’s generosity, which enabled the Foundation’s success in fundraising in 2016, also allowed for the creation of two new scholarships of $2,500 each for Bowen youth – one focused on education in the trades and another focused on academic study in colleges and universities.
Board Chair Soren Hammerberg introduced members of the Board and highlighted two new resident Directors bringing their skills to the Foundation this year: Holly Graff, a tireless advocate for the Bowen Island community, and a key principal of last year’s Garden Gateway project in Snug Cove; and Larry Lunn, the recently retired founder of Connor, Clark and Lunn Investment Management, one of Canada’s largest and most successful investment managers.
Another feature of this year’s AGM was the active involvement of the Knick Knack Nook Society in the celebration. The Foundation has been working closely with the Society this spring during the granting process, to avoid duplication. The KKN presented their awards for environmental and social sustainability during the evening: a solar array for the Cove Commons, community gardens for Bowen Court, a seed grant for the Bike Park, a flash freezer for the Better Meals program, subsidies for the Scouts Group and the Bowen Children’s Centre, and project funds for the Bowen Island Literacy Task Group and the Bowen Island Arts Council.
It was a celebration of a year of achievement, but more is planned for 2017: a new giving campaign, a strategic planning session for the Board to be held in late June, regular newsletters on our website (bowenfoundation.com), and a Vital Conversations 2017 event, planned for early September – an opportunity for the Foundation to canvass the emerging needs of our community: respectful dialogue in a non-political setting.
It has been a very good year. But we at the Foundation look forward to improving on our collective accomplishments in 2017. We owe our success to you, our fellow Islanders. Many thanks to all those who have contributed their time and their resources. With your generous charitable donations, the Foundation helps to build a caring community on Bowen.
The Board of Directors of the Bowen Island Community Foundation