As a way of sustaining the community and connecting people to their values, Norm Carruthers knows the way the Comox Valley Community Foundation enriches the greater community.
Calling it “a very powerful collective,” the president of the foundation credits Governor General David Johnston for highlighting the roles of community foundations across Canada, noting they make for healthier, more vibrant communities.
“He works at supporting the concept that foundations are part of the community and they do play a vital role. (Community foundations) are a way of connecting people’s desires, beliefs and values to causes that matter,” explained Carruthers. “They serve the broad community from health, arts and sports and strengthen and leave a lasting legacy for all.”
Funds donated to the foundation are held in perpetuity, and Carruthers noted as the first community foundation began 100 years ago in Winnipeg, those original donations have been paid out to the community three or four times.
“The original donation is still there and still giving,” he added.
The Comox Valley Community Foundation currently has $5 million in assets, and Carruthers said funds that were given when the organization began in 1996 have been paid out to the community, and now are cycling through their second or third time.
“That’s sustainable because it keeps on giving.”
The foundation attracts, develops and manages permanent endowment funds through responsible stewardship. They assess and respond to existing, emerging and changing community needs through grants to eligible organizations.
Additionally, they provide a means for individuals and organizations with varied interests and levels of giving to contribute financially to their community.
He explained the simple yet powerful message of ‘Community makes you. You make your community,’ adopted by the Community Foundations of Canada is exemplified in the goals of the organization.
“We want to be a conduit to community support, be effective in outreach and engage the community, and build on the Comox Valley Social Planning Society.”
Carruthers noted the organization will be looking at working with the society to create a ‘vital signs’ report, which takes a look at the quality of life in the Comox Valley and asks the community about its priorities.
He hopes to have a report in place for 2016, and to follow up with it annually.
“It’s an ongoing picture of the health of our community and allows us to set our priorities.”
Carruthers said the connection to the community runs deep, as each year the foundation asks local charities and organizations to submit applications for their needs, and then the foundation takes what they know along with donors’ wishes to allocate funds out to the community.
“It’s the way we ensure the maximum impact of the monies donors entrust to us,” he added.
He explained as president, it’s humbling to be part of such a huge process.
“You get to see how you’re a part of something so wonderful; it’s really empowering.”
To learn more about the Comox Valley Community Foundation, visit cvcfoundation.org.