Foundation’s AGM is May 20

The Parksville Qualicum Foundation donated more than $10,000 last year to local charities and organizations

Representatives of the 11 local groups who received a total of $10

Representatives of the 11 local groups who received a total of $10

The Parksville Qualicum Foundation distributes more than $20,000 a year to local charitable ventures and students, but they don’t get a lot of attention.

“We’re not fundraisers, in terms of planning the big events that many fine charitable organizations do,” said Wendy Carmichael, president of the foundation’s board. “We focus on fund gathering where people donate and set up legacy funds with us.”

She said the PQF was founded in 1999 several years after then-Qualicum Beach mayor Art Skipsey met the head of the Vancouver Foundation. With more than $900 million in assets, the Vancouver Foundation is the largest in the country and was instrumental in mentoring the local foundation, including managing their funds.

Most of the PQF funds have been donated from businesses or individuals, often including estate or legacy donations that are held as endowments in perpetuity with a portion of the annual income distributed in the community.

The PQF puts a call out for grant applications every spring and in recent years has distributed funds to groups like the Oceanside Volunteer Association, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Foundation, Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society, 893 Beaufort cadets, school parent advisory councils, wildlife groups and projects like the Ballenas student-led revitalization of Nichols Park in Parksville.

They work across the Parksville Qualicum Beach region, roughly encompassing the area of School District 69, “that’s a big footprint we deal with,” Carmichael said.

While they accept funds for anything, it “just so happens that the vast majority of our funds are donor directed,” she said.

They currently have 28 focused funds, including nine for education, five for family and institutions, four enviro funds, three for social services, four child and youth and one cultural fund.

They distribute $10-15,000 a year to organizations and projects and have given out $43,000 in scholarships over the last five years.

Carmichael points out that unlike some foundations that have paid staff, they are completely run by their hard-working volunteer board, sometimes with help from other community members.

They are always looking for extra support and invite the public to their AGM on May 20.

Black Press, including The NEWS, is sponsoring a province-wide campaign to help promote community foundations.

For more on the local foundation, visit

www.parksvillequalicumfoundation.com.

To discuss donation options, e-mail:

pqcf@shaw.ca or call treasurer Brent Johnson at 250-752-5661.