There are three major foundations in the Comox Valley; the Comox Valley Community Foundation, the North Island College Foundation, and the Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation.
As fundraising conduits for their respective target areas – the community, the college, and the hospital – all three rely upon the generosity of the community in order to meet their financial needs.
All three also recognize that the proverbial fundraising dollar is split many ways – not only among the foundations, but among every other non-profit organization in the Comox Valley.
“Each foundation, and any of the non-profits – for instance YANA (You Are Not Alone), or the (Comox Valley) Child Development Association – all of them are parts of the community that are important to lift up, and when we lift our community up, we all benefit from it,” said Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation communications and fund development manager, Katie Maximick.
Each of the three local foundations has specific purposes, directions and missions.
The NIC Foundation’s primary objective is to raise funds to support scholarships and bursaries, as well as to fundraise for needed equipment and educational resources.
The Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation is in place to enhance and ensure quality healthcare in the Comox Valley – at St. Joseph’s General Hospital, and, in the future, at the new Comox Valley Hospital.
“I often hear ‘why should we donate when the government pays for it?’“ said Maximick. “But as they are learning how much each province gets for healthcare, we still come up short, and then where does that money come from? That’s what we are here for – to fill the gaps. To bridge that gap and make sure Comox Valley residents have the best healthcare they can get.”
The Comox Valley Community Foundation’s objective is broader-based. It’s mission statement is “to provide for the enrichment of the quality of life in the community by providing a vehicle and service for donors with varied interests and levels of giving.”
CVCF president Norm Carruthers said making sure the donated funds are properly distributed is an ongoing challenge.
“There is always more granting requests than we could hope to satisfy,” he said.
He said the foundation’s newest tool, the Vital Signs report, released last month, will help grant seekers tap into outside resources to realize their requests.
“Alberni Community Foundation did their first Vital Signs last year, and within six months, the charities in their community had arranged a million dollars in outside funding to benefit the community… We expect that to be happening here, with our groups. Because of the Vital Signs, they will all be able to more effectively apply for grants.”
While each of the three has its own focus, there is a collaborative cohesiveness among all three foundations.
“For instance, whereas a college foundation could actually provide scholarships to attend the university, it’s the community foundation that can provide funds for the students other costs – childcare, medical,,, that collaborative approach to holding up our community members to achieve community vitality, is really the end goal of the collective organizations,” said CVCF executive director Jody MacDonald. “We can come at it from different angles, but the long-term goal is the same.”
“Everybody, in the community, is connected,” said Maximick. “So our three foundations, if there are more opportunities for us to work together to make things better, we need to seek out those partnerships where we can do that, and work together.”