For 36 years the Salt Spring Island Foundation has been supporting the charities that make our island a caring community. Thanks to many generous donors, over 550 grants have been awarded to over 85 local charitable organizations, totalling over $3.3 million.
Foundation grants have supported many areas of need and many types of projects and programs, from capital improvements to services and events that engage and assist community members. Other grants have funded projects that aim to strengthen the organizations themselves and help them to better fulfill their mission.
This year the Foundation will be putting even more emphasis on strengthening our charities, committing $25,000 to projects that aim to build the capacity of qualified local non-profits. Of that amount, $15,000 will be awarded during the spring grants cycle. Examples of capacity-building activities could include strategic planning, technology upgrades, operational improvements, board development, improving volunteer recruitment, and even conducting an organizational self-assessment as a way to learn which core capacity areas may require more attention.
The Foundation’s Grants Advisory Committee Chair, Gordon Chutter, says, “The Foundation has always recognized the need to assist non-profits in reaching the next level of operational or organization maturity. By dedicating funds specifically to those activities that build capacity, we hope to give this process an even bigger boost.”
The impacts of previous capacity-building grants are being felt by local organizations. Greenwoods Eldercare Society recently received a $10,000 grant toward an IT infrastructure upgrade project to enhance the use of electronic information for resident care planning and record-keeping, communication with families, and core business systems such as shared calendars and HR scheduling. The upgrade will also enable accreditation and telehealth capability.
Aletha Humphreys, Greenwoods Executive Director, says, “Greenwoods greatly appreciates the support of the Salt Spring Island Foundation. Upgrading our IT infrastructure will significantly modernize our operations, enable our team to access greater education opportunities and contribute to several quality improvement initiatives. I think we're most looking forward to providing computer and Skype access to our residents to stay in touch with family and friends and engage with new experiences.”
Another 2019 grant supported our community’s capacity to handle emergencies. A $6,000 grant to the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program funded an on-island, two-day Justice Institute of BC–certified course on the subject of Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Essentials. The course was attended by 20 top emergency program community volunteers and first responders.
Brian Bogdanovich is the SSI Electoral Area Emergency Coordinator and Emergency Support Services Director. He says, “The EOC essentials course takes our personnel to another level of preparation, offering a management system to help coordinate all levels of the community, the importance of which cannot be overemphasized. This emergency management system has been adapted throughout North America for all levels of disaster. It emphasizes coordination, teamwork and good communication and is essential to our response in major emergencies. The Salt Spring Island Emergency Program and the community is much better prepared due to the generous donation from the Salt Spring Island Foundation.”
The deadline for the spring 2020 grants cycle is March 31. For complete information about the Foundation, including how to apply for grants, please go to ssifoundation.ca
Photo: Salt Spring Island Emergency Program personnel at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Essentials course, which was held in late November 2019 and funded by the Salt Spring Island Foundation. Photo credit: Alan Bibby.