What is a community foundation?
Answer: A community foundation is a tax exempt, non-profit, publicly supported philanthropic organization with the long term goal of building permanent, named funds, for the broad-based public benefit of the residents in a given area.
The common mission of every community foundation is to enhance the quality of life in the local area. Community foundations carry out this very broad mission by building permanent endowment funds and using a portion of the annual income to support a variety of local nonprofit organizations through grants and special projects.
Most community foundation assets are held in separate funds established by local individuals, families, businesses, or charitable institutions. Each fund may have a special purpose, but the foundation board of directors, representing the community, oversees them all.
The CRA recognizes community foundations as public charities in part because they receive support from the general public and their boards broadly represent the areas served.
How does a community foundation work?
Answer: A community foundation is governed by a board of directors of community leaders. Operating expenses are paid from an annual fund fee and/or from gifts designated by donors to cover foundation operating and program costs.
How do community foundations differ from other nonprofit organizations?
Answer: Most nonprofit organizations have a specific mission. By contrast, a community foundation’s mission is very broad: to improve the quality of life in a given area. This breadth of mission reflects our ability to make grants in any field of interest with a charitable benefit to local communities. This flexibility allows us to serve a wider group of potential donors on the one hand and, on the other, a wider group of nonprofit organizations whom we consider our partners in improving local communities.
Area nonprofits benefit from having a local community foundation because the community foundation helps money stay in a community. Community foundations benefit local nonprofits in other ways, too: besides having local grant money available, some nonprofits ask the community foundation to manage an endowment on their own behalf.
As it grows, a community foundation gradually becomes a center for charitable giving in a community. We help make connections between the people who want to give and the people who need their support.
What is an endowment?
Answer: An endowment is a type of fund that is set up to produce income for charitable purposes. A typical endowment fund will distribute only the income generated from investments. Its principal will never be distributed. An endowment fund is likely (though not, of course, certain) to remain permanent as long as principal is never invaded, and as long as the distribution rate reflects the long-term growth patterns of investments.
What kind of things do you fund?
Answer: Bowen Island Community Foundation Grants support projects to help build a healthy, resilient community. Since it’s inception, the Foundation has made over $600,000 in grants, scholarships, bursaries and donor-directed funds to our Bowen community.
The five major areas that we support through grants from the Foundation’s endowment funds are:
- arts and culture
- environment and parks
- health and social well-being
- education and youth
For more information on specific grants, scholarships and bursaries, visit our Grants page.
What if I want to make a donation on behalf of someone else?
Answer: Due to the automated system and Canada Revenue Agency regulations, we cannot process donations on behalf of others online. This includes donations in a spouse’s name, or funds collected from individuals at a special event. Please contact us for offline donation options.
Other than cash, are there other ways I can give?
Answer: Gifts can be given in many forms, including through life insurance and stocks, as well as by leaving a bequest in your will. And, you can donate directly to many of our existing funds.