Nanaimo Foundation wants to raise it’s Ladysmith profile

Nov. 30 ‘community engagement’ meeting open to all

The Nanaimo Foundation, which has been raising funds for community organizations in the geographic area encompassed by School District 68, wants to raise its profile in Ladysmith.

So you are invited to a ‘community engagement’ meeting Nov. 30 at the Eagles Hall, 921 First Ave from 7 to 8 p.m.

Laurie Bienert, development officer for the Nanaimo Foundation, said the ‘top objectives for our presentation and discussion on building vibrancy, health and resiliency in Ladysmith’ will be:

• Providing clarity on what a community foundation is and how we operate.

• Providing greater support to Ladysmith charities. “We are not increasing our presence in the Ladysmith community to take away from any fundraising efforts by local organizations,” Bienert said. “Our goal is to add to their initiatives.”

• Listening to Ladysmith residents and gaining a stronger understanding of where the needs are greatest in the community.

• Bringing everyone to the table to stimulate new ideas, and share our ideas on how to build participation and strengthen community philanthropy in Ladysmith.

Bienert knows perceptions about an organization begin with its name, though, and she admits the prominence of ‘Nanaimo’ in the foundation’s letterhead raises concern for Ladysmith residents.

“I would agree with that statement,” she said in an interview with The Chronicle. “It would be top-of-mind for me, if I was a resident of Ladysmith.”

But she disagrees with the sentiment. The idea is to enlarge the basket, not raid it. “We don’t want to see funds leaving Ladysmith,” Bienert said. “We want to increase the funds raised in Ladysmith.”

The Nanaimo Foundation has expertise and resources that can help the community of Ladysmith do that, and Bienert pointed out that it’s not just money that needs to be raised, it’s awareness about community needs, and how they can be met.

“We recognize that raising funds to tackle an issue is only part of any solution,” she said. “We also engage citizens, organizations, and governments, and invite them to work together and contribute their time, ideas, expertise, and energy to address community needs.

“We believe this is the most meaningful and effective way to make lasting improvements. A gift of time is as valuable as a monetary gift.”

When it comes to funding, though, she said organizations in Ladysmith may not know that they can apply to the Nanaimo Foundation, and contribute to it knowing their contributions will make a difference here.

“I suspect most Ladysmith non-profits do not apply to us for funding or hold endowment funds with us as they don’t know we exist,” Bienert said.

“We want to change that.  And when generous donors provide gifts of perpetuity to us—their community foundation –  we want them to have a guarantee that Ladysmith funds will stay in Ladysmith.”

Grants have been provided to organizations in Ladysmith, including: The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association, The Ladysmith Boys & Girls Club and The Ladysmtih Kinsmen.