CANMORE – A hefty donation to Canmore Collegiate High School’s (CCHS) athletics program will go a long way to keep costs down for families.
The CCHS athletics program received a $30,000 grant from the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation during its athletic awards ceremony on June 7, marking the first donation to the Canmore high school from the Banff-based private foundation in what will be an ongoing commitment.
“(The Pauw Foundation) was clear that they realize funding is always difficult for schools … and they want to continue to support us, so that was really exciting for us,” said Darren Anderson, CCHS athletic director.
Cathy Geisler, fund director with the Pauw Foundation, said the donation to CCHS is important to the foundation’s values as it expands throughout the Bow Valley.
“Kids in sports is a big value for us since we started disbursing (funds) six years ago and the natural extension was to move down the valley a little bit and offset the cost of athletics,” Geisler said. “It’s our privilege to help offset the cost to families so more kids can practice and play in sports.”
As “fees creep up every year,” a chunk of the donation will go towards athletes travelling to compete, which can cost up to $50,000 per year just for the buses.
“Our biggest expense for our teams is transportation and hotels,” said Anderson. “That (donation) significantly digs into that and that is a big reduction fee … our main goal is we want to keep fees lower for families and that’s what they want as a foundation – to support families and make it affordable.
“So it was a good fit that we apply the money they’re donating to us to some of those bigger ticket items in terms of our expenses and reduce our fees for families.”
For example, team fees in volleyball and basketball range from approximately $200-$800. With the Pauw Foundation donation, families will have a 25-30 per cent reduction in those fees next season.
Anderson added that every student has been able to play sports with already established grant funding such as through JumpStart Charity and KidSport.
“In the past three or four years, there have been more families accessing help from us through those grants to support their kids playing sports. We’ve never had to turn a kid away from sport for lack of funds,” he said.
Established in 2013, the Pauw Foundation is a private foundation funded by Banff Caribou Properties and Banff Lodging Company and is dedicated to support local schools, clubs and high-level athletes.
To date, the foundation has donated $359,000 to recipients, including Banff Community High School, Banff Elementary School and KidSport Bow Valley, among others. This year, another $213,000 will be disbursed, which includes the CCHS funds.