THE SPARK – A HISTORY OF THE FUND
Community foundations have a long and successful track record across North America — most major population centres have a Community Foundation that collects donations and invests them in perpetuity, granting the interest to worthy charitable projects. In Canada, the largest community foundation is the Vancouver Foundation, with assets of $750 million.
Civic-minded folk in the Slocan Valley of British Columbia had long identified a need for a community foundation here. In 2009 a spark provided by the Kootenay Savings Credit Union ignited that long-simmering interest.
That year, community foundations across the Kootenays were allocated a total of $1 million from the Kootenay Savings Community Foundation, with the amount given to each foundation being based on number of members at each KSCU branch. This wonderful boost to community foundations resulted in the need to form a Slocan Valley entity to accept the New Denver and South Slocan branch’s allocations that totaled some $134,000.
With seed funding from KSCU in place, the Osprey Community Foundation based in Nelson B.C. stepped forward in offering organizational support to the formation of a Slocan Valley Legacy Fund, and the Columbia Basin Trust committed an additional $50,000 in matching funds.
Starting The Legacy
The next step was to determine the best structure and composition for a Slocan Valley community fund. The Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission sponsored a series of community meetings and provided administrative support, with Columbia Basin Trust and Regional District of Central Kootenay representatives providing encouragement at every step. With commendable guidance from Norm Caruthers who was then Chair of the Osprey Community Foundation (which holds $6 million in endowments), various models were examined for the development of a permanent Slocan Valley fund, that would create a lasting legacy to support the valley.
It was decided that the most efficient way to proceed would be for our Slocan Valley Legacy Fund to be an affiliate within the Osprey Community Foundation. As a Charitable Foundation registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, Osprey has the capacity to issue tax receipts, handle bookkeeping, and provide the scrupulous fiduciary oversight required of Foundations by the federal government.
To promote giving to the Slocan Valley Legacy Fund and advise on grants to community groups, a provincially registered Society was incorporated in 2011: the Slocan Valley Community Legacy Society. A set of first directors stepped forward — Deb Corbett (Winlaw), Heather Burns (Slocan), Craig Stowell (Winlaw), Wendy Harlock (Silverton) and Lorna Visser (Hills) — to set out the purposes, bylaws and terms of reference for the Society.
Heritage Credit Union in Slocan Park stepped in with funds for Society operations and the directors began the work of outreach and community engagement by hosting community presentations.
In April of 2012 the first Annual General Meeting of the Society was held and nine directors were elected. They have been working diligently on fundraising and outreach, establishing committees, and setting up terms of reference for awarding grants starting in 2013.
We are well on the way to building a Slocan Valley Legacy Fund that is by the community and for the community. We hope you will give it your generous support.