Things just keep getting better for the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation (WBF) — and by extension, the community groups it supports.
"Every year we just raise more and more funds, so we're really fortunate," said Mei McCurdy, executive director of the WBF.
This December the foundation was able to grant more than $200,000 to Sea to Sky non-profits.
The largest of the crop was a $35,000 grant donated to the Squamish BMX club to help buy a starting gate for the club's new park.
The donation comes after similar donations to the Whistler and Pemberton BMX clubs, McCurdy said.
"BMX has been such a growing sport in the corridor... it just affects so many kids and so many youth in the corridor that that was a good one for us," she said.
Also of note was the $25,000 granted to the Whistler Search and Rescue Society. The money will go towards enhancing the volunteer organization's communication system. The WBF also donated to the project in 2014.
"What they're doing is huge, and these are obviously smaller grants, but we'll support them until their project is completed for sure," McCurdy said.
Other grants include $21,500 for a new foam pit at the Oros Whistler Gymnastics Centre, $20,000 for a new van for Whistler Community Services to assist with its various programs and $10,000 to the Whistler Museum and Archives Society to build some exterior "image/interpretation" panels that will be strategically placed in the community and will display aspects of Whistler's history.
The WBF also gave grants to Families Fighting Cancer (see Pique, Dec. 17), the Whistler Film Festival Society, the Whistler Sea Wolves Swim Club, the Sea to Sky Community Services Society, Zero Ceiling and many more.
On Dec. 21, the WBF announced it is serving as the founding sponsor of the National Training Centre for moguls to be built on Blackcomb Mountain, giving $300,000 sourced from Founders Pass funds (see related story on Page 82).
There's clearly a lot of need in the corridor, and doling out grants is no easy task, McCurdy said.
"It's always really difficult. It's a long process," McCurdy said, noting that grants are accepted twice annually, in April and October, and she essentially vets every one of them herself.
"It probably takes me a good month, month and a half just to read all the applications and go through them," she said.
The final decisions are made in conjunction with the WBF board of directors.
The WBF funds organizations from Lions Bay to Mount Currie and Lillooet, McCurdy said.
One of her key goals is to ensure those groups are aware the WBF might be able to help them.
"So just for people to understand that there is a group that will help them is key for us," she said.
Groups interested in applying for grants can find more info at www.whistlerblackcombfoundation.com. The next deadline for applications is April 1.
While much of the WBF's funding comes through corporate sponsorships, the impact of its fundraisers like the Telus Winter and Golf Classics can't be denied.
"We've just been really fortunate that everyone wants to keep coming back to our events year after year," McCurdy said. "They're just such fun events I guess, and people just want to be a part of it."
The WBF's 23rd annual Telus Winter Classic takes place January 22 and 23.
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