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Powell River Community Foundation Vital Signs report coming out

Local organizations and individuals, qathet Regional District and City of Powell River depend on compilation of information
[From left] Powell River Community Foundation director Shirley Court presented a grant to qathet Art representatives Lorna Downie and Karen Kamon last month.

Powell River Community Foundation’s flagship project is returning.

Various community organizations as well as qathet Regional District and City of Powell River depend on information the Vital Signs report shows for trends, demographics and other important signposts of the health of the community.

“It’s a lot of work, and even individuals use the information,” says Alston Miller, foundation president, “Some of my neighbours reviewed it before moving here to see what type of community this is.”

Powell River received its foundation status 22 years ago, led by Graeme Cooper, its main proponent, who devoted many years to making it happen.

Prior to the formation of PRCF, money donated by Andy and Clarabelle Anderson, who ran a logging show in Mowat Bay on Powell Lake, was held by Vancouver Foundation and returned once the local foundation was set up to help with senior needs. Over the intervening two-plus decades, its investments have grown to $1.2 million.

“It’s the interest on that amount that is disbursed every year through our granting process,” explains Miller. “The principal is never touched.”

The foundation has an annual granting cycle for applications from July through September. Charitable organizations in the qathet region in need of funds can submit a grant application for assessment by the granting committee.

‚ÄčEligible applicants must be registered charities under the Income Tax Act. The foundation considers applications in the fields of arts and culture, children and youth, community health, education and literacy, environment, seniors, social justice and social and economic disparities.

Last month the granting recipients announced at the organization’s AGM included eight charities, one church and two scholarships which shared $32,000, an amount that continues to grow.

“Even small amounts of money when pooled help to grow the total investments that are then used to help worthy organizations,” says Miller.

Donors can provide funds in various ways: as unrestricted funds; a field of interest that targets a specific area; designated funds to a specific charity; a donor-advised fund with ongoing involvement; or a fund named for themselves, their family, an organization or someone they wish to honour.

“Most people aren’t aware of all the other things we do,” explains Miller, “including being involved with the local COVID relief fund along with [Powell River and District] United Way, First Credit Union, City of Powell River and qathet Regional District.”

Miller says infrastructure is being kept going in case there is another community emergency.

The foundation is run by a board of 12 members with a four-member executive which meets monthly.

“It’s been an honour to have been on the board of the Powell River Community Foundation for many years,” says Kathy Tait, currently the longest serving member of the board. “During this time, I’ve enjoyed working with different board members and also working with generous donors and supporters from all areas of our community to build a lasting legacy.”

She says she is proud of all the different organizations that have received grant money throughout Powell River.

“These organizations have committed to improving and enriching our community,” she adds. “They’ve been inspirational to me.” 

Miller joined the board in 2017 after learning about what it does at a foundation gala.

“My job was beginning to slow down a bit and my kids were growing up,” says Miller, “so I was looking for a way to give back.”

He became a Friend of the Board, then a board member who sat on the grant committee, and became president three years later.

“This organization captivates me for many different reasons,” says Miller. “It does so much good in the community for so many groups and through those groups to many individuals.”

The foundation is always looking for board members or friends, who help with events and activities. Friends can attend meetings but do not have a vote.

More information can be found at