Scratch a Revelstokian and you’ll discover a deeply held inner belief in the power of community. It’s a characteristic that distinguishes us from our urban cousins in the big cities of the Lower Mainland and Alberta. Look at our history and you’ll learn how it was born and how it thrived during the decades of relative isolation.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that we have a Community Foundation. Born a decade ago, the Foundation puts to work more than $1.3 million donated or bequeathed to it by generous individuals, families and local businesses and institutions. Yet, as impressive as all of that sounds it remains something of an unknown quantity for many people. That low profile is pretty typical; Revelstoke people are for the most part pretty modest folks, despite their pride in the success of their city.
And they are grateful, too, for living in place where community values like helping others help themselves dominate our collective character. But don’t take my word for it.
“Something I have been greatly impressed by is the support our community provides to
people,” says Eleanor Huettmeyer, a Revelstoke girl who is in her third year of medical school at UBC in Prince George.
The RSS graduate has been the recipient of two bursaries from the Knights of Khorassan, a two-year scholarship from the Selkirk Medical Group and the Mary Daem Bursary. The funds for these scholarships are administered by the Foundation. Huettmeyer, a thoughtful and articulate young woman, is grateful.
“There are a lot of people in Revelstoke who believe in giving,” she said. “All of the donors who contribute to the Foundation deserve my thanks — all of our thanks.”
“I think it’s unique. And the Community Foundation plays a leadership role in that. I don’t know many communities that can say the same.”
Huettmeyer is just one of the many people and organizations that have benefitted from the Foundation’s work. And if you want to experience the remarkable power of the Foundation to help people help themselves or their community try talking to the students in our elementary schools. For the past three weeks Foundation President Steven Hui and Directors Linda Dickson, Meghann Hutton and I have been meeting with student councils and talking with them about ways the Foundation can help them accomplish projects. The Foundation is making $500 available to every elementary school as seed money for philanthropic projects the students propose, plan and execute.
You have to remember that these are children ranging in age from six to 13. They have always done what adults told them to do and have so far gone through life being treated like, well, kids. Suddenly, along come some adults who want to give them money to do something they want to do that can help other kids and families. It’s like watching lights switched on as they understand that they actually have the power to change lives.
The Foundation’s work doesn’t end there. It has over the years provided funding to many different programs including the Community Connections Youth Program, Crime Stoppers, the city’s museums and Visual Arts Centre, Screen Smart, the Ski Club, Aquaducks, the Acrobats, various playground upgrades, youth work experience projects,child care programs, the Family Literacy Program and many, many more groups and organizations. It does all that with the interest it earns on its endowments.
“You can’t go through life taking — you have to give back to the community in different ways,” says Foundation President Steven Hui. “We all have a spark of compassion. Let’s put it to work.”
Since this November is Foundation Month in Canada, it’s appropriate for us to spare a moment and think of ways we can all help the Foundation make Revelstoke a better place to live. You can make an outright gift to the Foundation, a bequest through your will and other mechanisms. You can find out more by going to the Foundation’s website at http://revelstokecf.com/communityfoundation/index.html. And on that note, I think I’ll let Ms. Huettmeyer have the last word: “It makes me proud to come from Revelstoke.”