By Laura Stovel
The Revelstoke Community Foundation handed out $21,212 in grants to community groups, celebrated several youth initiatives and increased donations, and launched a new environmental initiative to encourage local businesses and residents to reduce plastic bag consumption at its Annual Community Celebration on Friday.
“The wheels of philanthropy are turning. It really says something about our community,” said Foundation chair, Steven Hui. The Foundation received $102,000 last year and director Kevin Lavelle added that “the first three months of this year have far exceeded the same last year,” he said.
Foundation chair, Steven Hui, announced the beginning of a “Bagging Out” campaign to reduce plastic bag use. Organizers are encouraging local businesses to participate and are setting the ambitious target of reducing plastic bag consumption by 25% in the next three months. “We are asking participating business to donate a fixed amount (so many cents per bag/cup when a customer declines a bag or brings in their cup/mug for a beverage purchase),” an information sheet states. The campaign will start by working with store owners to reduce bags and “maybe down the road we will work with restaurants” to reduce disposable cups, Hui said. The money will be donated to the Foundation’s Environmental Fund, which will be used to support local environmental projects. Those who would like to participate are encouraged to contact Steven Hui at 250-837-1096 or David Rooney at 250-814-9849.
The environmental project also plans to engage youth in this effort. Grade five student Emma Otsig, designed a logo for this campaign. Hui said the Foundation plans to engage local high school students, wearing a t-shirt with this logo, who will approach customers in store parking lots and politely ask them if they have remembered their reusable bag or if they have left it in their car. They also plan to involve youth “to do a clean-up of several public spaces,” according to the information sheet. Hui noted the “great energy of young people” who are passionate about reducing waste, as he witnessed at the North Columbia Environmental Society’s Clean Bin event the previous evening.
The evening also featured some excellent presentations by young people. Joe Harper presented a slide show about the Glacier Adventure Stewardship program, initiated by CP Rail and supported by Parks Canada, the Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier and the Revelstoke Community Foundation, among others, which provides young people with education and adventures in the National Parks.
Another important initiative is Young Philanthropists Linking all Youth (YPLAY) in which the Foundation works with elementary schools
on youth-directed philanthropy projects. Mountain View students Meegan Wong, Simon Blackie and Gavin Mason described how they were able to support KIVA (an organization that provides small loans to people in developing countries). The students were able to support 15 groups in countries including Kenya, Mexico and Haiti through this program. They also created a “Book of Awesome,” which will be a memory book about Mountain View School in its final year of operation.
Finally the Foundation distributed grants worth more than $21,000 to several local non-profit groups. The recipients received the following:
- Community Connections received $2,500 each for the Food Bank, the Farmer’s Market Coupon Program, the Children’s Summer Day Camp, and the Youth Work Experience Program;
- The Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society received $1,000 for its Community Response Network;
- The Revelstoke Hospice Society received $2,500 for the PALS Program;
- The Revelstoke Child Care Society received $1,500 for the Williamson’s Lake Playground;
- The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy received $1,200 for a Community Literacy Coordinator;
- The Revelstoke Theatre Company received $500 for the Kootenay Zone Drama Festival;
- Revelstoke Bear Aware received $1,700 for the Gleaning Project;
- The Revelstoke Humane Society received $1,000 for its Spay and Neuter Program; and
- The Revelstoke Multicultural Society received $1,812 for the Carousel of Nations.