New foundation to bring more community funding

A new funding source for community projects in Vanderhoof is in the works by Vanderhoof’s district council.

A new funding source for community projects in Vanderhoof is in the works by Vanderhoof’s district council.

Temporarily-named Vanderhoof Community Foundation, the new organization will serve as a permanent collection of endowed funds for the long-term, allowing interested parties to donate to the community, said Chief Administrative Officer Tom Clement.

“If they have an estate, there’s not really something to leave it to,” Clement said.

For the future funds, Mayor Gerry Thiessen hopes to build criteria that will focus on youth in the community, as well as use the initial amount as a leverage point for more funding.

“Once you have that vehicle, you can build from them,” Thiessen said.  “It shows maturity for the town of Vanderhoof.”

Upon establishment, the district council will be able to apply for matching funding through the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Community Foundation Matching Grant Program, up to $50,000, in the spring.

Though the foundation will be established with the Prince George Community Foundation to offset administrative costs, pool human and financial resources, as well as take advantage of existing partnerships with other community foundations in the area, the new entity would have its own board of directors that make independent decisions on funding, Clement said.

For Kathie LaForge, one of the starting directors as appointed by the district council, the foundation will allow residents’ donations to come back to the community.

“Things like the community foundation can really add to the vibrancy and success of our community,” LaForge said.

The initial board will recommend terms of reference which will outline the focus for the funds and would be up to the district council to approve, she explained.

LaForge said that having learned of the projects that similar foundations in Prince George and Fort St. James had enabled, she was keen to get the foundation going when working as Vanderhoof’s economic development officer from 2007 to 2012.

“The district was so busy with other projects,” she said. “Now the time is right.”