The municipality will transfer its environmental legacy fund, which currently sits at $600,000 plus interest, to the new Community Foundation of Whistler.
The transfer protects the principle in perpetuity, while the foundation will disperse the $17,500 in interest to environmental projects consistent with the municipality’s goals for the fund.
The Community Foundation of Whistler is a registered charitable foundation established to collect and invest endowment funds and make grants from the earnings. The community foundation, which was established last year, is different from a charitable foundation like the Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation, which by law has to disperse most of its assets annually.
"It’s like Whistler’s savings account," community foundation chair Nancy Wilhelm-Morden told Whistler council Monday.
The initial contributions to the community foundation have been $50,000 over two years from the Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation, a matching grant from the Vancouver Foundation and $55,000 from the Whistler Scholarship Society. Dispersal of interest from those funds is discretionary.
The $300,000 the municipality generates each year for its environmental legacy fund may be transferred to the Community Foundation of Whistler on an annual basis, but that decision will be made each year.
A board will be established to review groups and projects applying for the environmental legacy funds. The municipality may even apply for the funds.
Wilhelm-Morden explained that transferring the environmental legacy funds to the community foundation will protect the principle.
"If it remains on the municipality’s books senior levels of government may see it as a reason not to cost share on projects," Wilhelm-Morden said.
The municipality established the environmental legacy fund in 1998 as part of the solid waste management budget. The fund is generated through a portion of the tipping fees collected at the landfill.