Hugh Grist characterizes the central difference between the Alberni Valley Community Foundation and a traditional non-profit agency in household banking terms.
While most charities receive donations that are then dispersed to their initiatives – like a chequing account – the community foundation works more like your savings account.
“The money received by the Foundation is not given directly to local charities, but invested,” Grist explains. “The returns on those investments are then distributed within the Valley, while the capital remains in perpetuity.”
Guided by the Foundation’s Vital Signs report, which explores areas of greatest need and concern among Valley residents, grants reach all corners of the community, including education, heritage, arts, senior citizens, social services, children and youth.
To ensure a cross-section of the community is represented, the Foundation Board is appointed by committee that includes the mayor, the director of North Island College, a member of Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council, a local judge or chair of the Bar Association and the president of the Labour Council.
Alberni Valley Community Foundation By the Numbers:
- $1 million – Thanks to generous donors, today the Foundation’s assets are approaching $1 million.
- $300,000 – More than $300,000 has been distributed to local charities over the last 17 years, ranging from Alberni Valley Hospice Society and Bread of Life to the Family Health Centre and the Community Arts Council.
- $500 to $5,000 – Grants typically range from $500 to $5,000. Registered non-profits can submit expressions of interest by Feb. 28, with requests considered for program-related projects, such as a specific, time-limited activity or a series of activities designed to meet certain goals, and capital projects, including construction, renovation and equipment purchases.
Donate today for tomorrow’s community
As the Foundation embarks on its annual awareness campaign, Grist encourages those in the community who are able, to consider donating.
Donations can be made in various ways, and all qualify for a tax receipt.
- Cash or stock donations
- Bequests and wills
- Life insurance
Donors can also choose to create a legacy fund in their name, or that of someone they wish to remember. For example, a recent bequest by former Port Alberni resident will now create an annual scholarship for a graduating high school student, Grist notes.
Donors can also direct income from their fund to a favourite cause or let the board distribute it as part of a grant to local charitable projects.
“We currently receive more requests for funds than we can generate, and so have to turn down some very worthwhile projects,” Grist says. “By building up the asset base, the significant interest generated will help fulfill the needs of our community for years to come.”
Learn more at albernifoundation.ca.