The first regular city council meeting of the New Year was breezed through in under 40 minutes on Monday, January 6.
New seating arrangements for councillors were noticed, with Gord Turner moving over to the Mayor’s right, flanked by Deb McIntosh on his left and Sue Heaton Sherstobitoff on his right. On the Mayor’s left, Florio Vassilakakis is in the centre with Kevin Chernoff on his right and Dan Rye on his left.
The group was well situated to hear an update on the recently-instituted Community Foundation of Castlegar and District, which was first on the light agenda.
Foundation president Bob Jackson and director Nicole Beetstra comprised a delegation that briefed council on the group’s progress since incorporating in April of 2012 for the purpose of serving Castlegar along with RDCK Electoral Areas I and J. Also present on behalf of the foundation was secretary Roberta Hamilton.
With similar groups operating in Nelson, Trail and Grand Forks, the fledgling foundation has models to work from and ideas on how to be successful.
“We will make grants to organizations defined as qualified donees under the income tax act,” said Jackson to open his presentation. These qualified donees, in basic terms, are registered charities.
“There are ways that individuals or groups that are not registered charities may get money from us, but not directly.”
“In general, our plan is to contribute to a healthy community, which, given its broadest interpretation, means not just physical and mental health, but includes environmental, cultural, recreational, educational health sciences, etc. that make this a better place to live.”
The idea, and ideal behind this sort of foundation is a perpetual one. A carefully-managed pool of money is to be invested with earned interest being the source of funds to be disbursed over time.
“We expect our endowment fund to be built mainly from donations from the community,” explained Jackson, “we’ll look for productive but safe investments. Donations may come from individuals (and they are eligible for income tax credits because we are a registered charity as of July 1 last year), corporations, government bodies, other foundations and the like.”
The foundation’s message to council was an optimistic and confident one, which included an invitation for the municipal government to consider supporting it, financially and otherwise.
Current assets, as Jackson divulged, are “approximately $170,000, with a major contribution being a start-up grant from Kootenay Savings Credit Union Foundation.”
A significant milestone for the foundation was its first Annual General Meeting, as well as having achieved the capability to issue tax receipts for donations. “That was a big hurdle,” said Jackson, “but it’s been done now and we’re relieved to do that.”
The number of directors has also grown from five to nine, and, as of January 6, the local entity had been accepted as a member of the Community Foundations of Canada.
“They’ve been helpful to us all along,” said Jackson, “and we appreciate that. They gave us access to the members’ area on their website.”
Serious fundraising lies ahead for the foundation in the New Year, but Jackson assured that it is not their intent to compete with other established and worthy community groups. “By that I mean educating people as to how they can contribute to the foundation,” he clarified.
In its short-term sights is a $50,000 matching grant from the Columbia Basin Trust.
“If we raise $50,000 within the community we can get a grant which will, obviously, do us a lot of good.”
A high profile community launch of the foundation is in the planning stages and will likely be held this coming April.
More information on the new benevolent outfit is available online at www.communityfoundationofcastlegar.org