Bruce Whittington making a founding gift to the Ladysmith Community Foundation Fund, presented to then Nanaimo Foundation Board Chair, Ted Carson. (Submitted photo)

Bruce Whittington making a founding gift to the Ladysmith Community Foundation Fund, presented to then Nanaimo Foundation Board Chair, Ted Carson. (Submitted photo)

New Ladysmith Community Fund set up to support local charities

The fund will be managed by the Nanaimo Foundation and all funds will remain in Ladysmith

A small group of volunteers has formed the Ladysmith Community Fund Society — dedicated to establishing a permanent endowment fund to support Ladysmith charities.

Ladysmith’s Bruce Whittington has worked for years to get the fund off the ground. Other members of the Ladysmith Community Fund Society include Ladysmith and District Credit Union CEO John de Leeuw, retired notary Joan Phillips, and former RCMP Staff Sergeant Charlie Schaal.

Whittington hopes that the Ladysmith Community Fund will help get future community projects off the ground by providing financial support.

“When you have a great project idea, the most difficult funding to get is the first funding. If you have a local community organization that knew what you were trying to do and was willing to support it, then it gives you something to build on,” he said.

The fund will be held and managed by the Nanaimo Foundation, which has worked with Ladysmith charities for 39 years. The new funding stream will be exclusive to Ladysmith charities but does not preclude Ladysmith charities from accessing a greater pool of funds through the Nanaimo Foundation.

“For people who really love and support the community that have given them so much, they now have a direct and specific avenue to leave a legacy to their community and plant that tree that will provide the shade for future generations,” Nanaimo Foundation Executive Director Laurie Bienert said. “Every community should have a community foundation and now Ladysmith, in effect, has two. That’s pretty special.”

Community foundations are distinct from charities. Community foundations collect and invest endowments, then disperse the dividends as grants to local charities and non-profit organizations. Any donation given to a community foundation is held as part of the endowment to ensure that charities can be supported in perpetuity. Donations can only be administered to qualified recipients, which are primarily charitable organizations.

RELATED: September is Community Foundations Month in B.C.

The Ladysmith Resource Centre and Ladysmith Family and Friends have both received funding from the Nanaimo Foundation as recently as last year.

Under the management of the Nanaimo Foundation, the Ladysmith Community Fund will amass more interest as part of the Foundation’s larger pool of funds.

When the Ladysmith Community Fund reaches $10,000 interest income will become available for local charities on an annual basis. There is currently $1,200 in the Ladysmith Community Fund.

“We always encourage people to continue to donate wherever they do,” Whittington said. “This is intended to build a fund that will grow over time and be available in perpetuity.”

Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the Ladysmith Community Fund can do so by donating to the Nanaimo Foundation with “Ladysmith Community Fund” in the subject line. For more information on the fund or joining the Ladysmith Community Fund Society, contact Bruce Whittington at 250-245-5325 or by email at brucewhittington@shaw.ca.

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