BOW VALLEY – A more sustainable future for both environment and economy are on the docket for Banff Canmore Community Foundation's (BCCF) new fundraising initiative.
Atop Sulphur Mountain in the Northern Lights Café on Monday (Sept. 23), prominent business owners and community members gathered for a presentation marking the official kick off of BCCF’s new endowment campaign, which aims to raise $2 million in 18 months.
“We said ‘lets do something big,’ so we created the idea of two new funds. One an individual fund supporting high individual donors, that we would raise a million dollars with,” said Hans Helder, a director for the BCCF board.
“We also asked ‘well, how does that engage the business community?’ And we said, well the business community could contribute more than individuals … We think the business community can support a million dollar fund as well and this endowment should be billed by 100 businesses contributing $10,000 each.”
The first fund is called Future Proof the Bow Valley – 1,000 Voices for a Sustainable and Resilient Future. The foundation said it would accept one-time donations of $1,000 from individuals, or monthly donations of $84 for one year. The second fund targeted at businesses is called Funding the Future of the Bow Valley.
Karen Antrobus, BCCF chair, said the two fundraising initiatives have come after the foundation's Vital Signs report released earlier this year indicated three areas of need within the valley.
“We need to right our relations with our Indigenous neighbours, we need to foster an environmentally stable economy, and we need to tend to the environment … what we found in our grants is that we don’t actually get many grant requests in that area,” she said.
“If we get back to those gaps that we identified – the economy, the environment, and Indigenous relationships. What if we worked with the community to envision what it would look like, say, 20 years from now when those gaps are closed and we’ve spun off specific projects to get us to closing those gaps?”
A minimum of $850,000 from each fund will be permanently endowed to ensure the donations are invested. As well, an annual distribution of at least $30,000 will be available to charities in the valley for future projects. The foundation will also use $150,000 from each fund immediately to tackle issues Bow Valley residents have deemed to be a high priority.
“We think this is big, it's bold, it’s also audacious – no one’s ever done it this way before that we know of,” said Helder.
“We’ve seen how the Bow Valley steps up to the challenges that are put forward by the rest of the community and we are very confident that we’ll be able to fill up these endowments in the time that we have available to the campaign.”
Helder added that the first 1,000 contributors would be attached to the endowment forever.
“We’re really focusing on ensuring that people see the value in the kind of work that is planned for these funds,” he added.
BCCF has helped fund many community initiatives including scholarship programs and grants, as well as helping to fund institutions such as the Banff Centre and local school programs.
In fact, the BCCF helped to fund the breakfast program at Canmore Collegiate High School (CCHS).
“We went to the BCCF and we explained what we were trying to do. We said ‘look this is the need that we think needs to be fulfilled, do you want to support us?’ They jumped right in, and we were able to get started,” said CCHS principal Chris Rogers.
For Antrobus, being behind the scenes as a supporter of so many initiatives and charities in the Bow Valley was always fine, but now, BCCF needs more community support.
“I find that people are aware of the charities and organizations we support, and they might know some of the initiatives they support, but they don’t necessarily know where that funding is coming from,” said Antrobus.
“We’re happy with that normally, we’re very happy that the organizations do the work that they do, but now it’s time to say ‘we’re some of the money behind that.’ If we want to go further, we need more community help to do that.”
Visit www.banffcanmorecf.org for more information on BCCF.